A new Little League ruling passed down from organizational headquarters in Williamsport, Pa. will allow 6-year-olds to play in the "coach-pitch" AAA division if they have completed a full season of T-ball as a 5-year-old.
Payson Little League president Chuck Barton is unsure how the rule will affect local leagues.
"It might just mean we'll have more players in AAA," he said. "We have one more sign-up to go, we'll just have to wait and see."
That registration, the final in a series of four sign-ups, is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 29 in the Payson Bashas' store.
The registration fee is $60 per player. However, for the last registration date, a $5 discount will be offered.
Those players in need of financial assistance should call (928) 474-6042.
Tryouts for all 9- to 12-year-olds not returning to a major division team will be Feb. 19 at Rumsey I.
The schedule is:
- 9-year-olds at 9 a.m.
- 10-year-olds at 10 a.m.
- 11-year-olds at 11 a.m.
- 12-year-olds at noon.
The players in the AAA division -- 6, 7- and 8-year-olds --o not have to try out for teams.
"In AAA, they are simply assigned to a team," Barton said.
League play begins April 16 at Rumsey Park with the traditional opening ceremonies and first round of games. Action continues in the league weekdays until the regular season wraps up June. 11.
Last year in the regular season, Payson fielded six major league (11-12 years) teams, seven in the minors (9-11 years) and four AAA or farm league (7-8 years) squad. The senior division (13-16 years) had four teams.
This season, Barton is hoping Payson can field even more teams.
"We want as many kids as we can playing and taking advantage of the sport," he said.
At the conclusion of the year, coaches will select all-star players to represent Payson in postseason tournaments.
Payson will host the Area I 11- to 12-year-old all-star tournament beginning June 25. Eight Little League organizations from around northern Arizona will participate.
For more information, call Barton at (928) 468-1711.