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Sunnyvale Little League News

Baseball Equipment Guide

With the start of the season on horizon, many parents want to know what equipment their children should have in preparation for Little League baseball. This will vary depending on the division that your child is playing in, but we've tried to put together the following guide. Please be sure to ask our Player Agents or Equipment Director to get answers to specific questions.

Be sure to take advantage of the 20% discount being offered at Dick's Sporting Goods at the SVLL Shop Event on Februaury 11th through the 14th.

In no particular order, your Little Leaguer will need the following equipment for both practices and games:

Baseball Glove --

Probably the most important piece of equipment for a baseball player, the glove will help them catch the baseball, so it's important that you purchase the right glove. The type of glove you choose will vary, but it's important that the glove is the appropriate size for the player.

T-Ball players will want a glove that is flexible enough for the player to easily open and close the pocket or "webbing". Players in this division should not use a high-end glove which is too stiff to open or close. These younger players are learning the game and need to be able to control their glove. Purchase an inexpensive glove, because they will likely grow out of the glove in a season or two. We do advise steering clear from gloves that feel like they are made from a synthetic or plastic material, although this may be the only option available for entry level gloves.

For Pioneer and Farm, you'll want a 9.5" to 10.5" glove. Typically, players will graduate up to a leather glove. Again, the ability to control the glove is the most important factor.

As the player graduates up to Farm, Minors, Majors, etc., the player will want to upgrade to a better glove. Higher end gloves will typically require a "breaking in" period, where the leather needs to be worked in by kneading it, and pounding it with a wooden mallet or a baseball. This will loosen the glove up.

Dick's Sporting Goods offers a wide variety of gloves HERE

Baseball Bat --

Like the baseball glove, the baseball bat should be small enough for the player to control. The biggest mistake most parents and players make is purchasing a bat that is too large for the player. Remember your high school physics: Force = mass * acceleration. Everyone assumes that mass is the most important factor in choosing a bat, but that variable is useless if the player can't catch up to the ball because the bat is too heavy (and therefore the bat speed is too slow).

For our T-Ball, Pioneer, Farm, Minors and Majors Divisions, Little League Baseball mandates that any bat used in a game MUST have the USA Baseball stamp on the neck of the bat. If the bat does not have that seal, it will be removed from the game.

For our Intermediate and Juniors Divisions, Little League Baseball mandates that any bat used in a game must either have the USA Baseball stamp on the neck of the bat, or it must have a BBCOR stamp, or be manufactured using wood (no wood composite).

For T-Ball, there are explicit bats made for the T-Ball division. Again make sure your child can control the bat. We advise a bat no longer than 26 inches in length for this division.

You can use this sizing guide, but again, the right bat will vary by player. They should be able to control where they are swinging the bat head, and doing so quickly.

Pioneer: 24" to 26" / 12oz to 14oz
Farm: 26" to 28" / 16oz to 18oz
Minors: 28" to 30" / 18oz to 20oz
Majors: 28" to 32" / 18oz to 22oz

You will frequently see a "drop" number associated to a bat (e.g. -10, -11, -12, etc). A drop is simply the length of the bat, minus the weight. So a 26" bat that weighs 16oz is a drop 10 (or "-10). Typically the larger the drop, the more expensive the bat, because costlier materials are used to manufacture the bat.

Little League Baseball also provides guidance on bats: https://www.littleleague.org/playing-rules/bat-information/ (as a point of clarity, in this document, Little League Baseball makes mention of "Minors Divisions", which is what Sunnyvale Little League refers to as our Pioneer and Farm Divisions. LLBmakes makes mention of "Majors Divisions", which is what we refer to as our Minors and Majors Divisions...yes, this is confusing).

Batting Helmet --

The purpose of the batting helmet is to protect the players head, so must fit properly. A proper fitting helmet will not have the bill (i.e. the visor) tip up or down when the player nods her/his head. All helmets must have a NOCSAE seal, which is typically found on the back of the helmet.

While not a requirement, you may choose to affix a wire face "cage" on the helmet to add additional protection to the face. A "C-flap", which is a plastic face guard that extends off one side of the helmet, may be used, but it must be explicitly manufactured for the helmet. If a C-flap requires additional holes be drilled in the helmet, it will disqualify the helmet.

Cleats --

Traction on a dirt infield or outfield grass is improved if a player is wearing baseball "cleats". Players playing in T-Ball, Pioneer, Farm, Minors or Majors may only wear rubber cleats. Rubber cleats are not mandatory equipment, but it highly recommended that players where rubber cleats in Farm Divisions and above. The Pioneer division is a good place to start transitioning to rubber cleats. Rubber cleats are discouraged for T-Ball.

A question we often receive is if a player may wear the cleats they purchased for their soccer team? Yes, absolutely, so long as there is no metal protruding anywhere on the shoe.

Players playing in Intermediate or Juniors may wear rubber cleats or metal baseball spikes. Some fields with synthetic turf do not allow metal spikes, so players in these upper divisions should always bring a pair of rubber cleats to games.

Baseball Pants --

For T-ball and Pioneer Divisions, the league will provide one pair of baseball pants. These pants are colored (either white or grey) to match the official team uniform. We advise you purchase at least one additional pair for practices. It's best to match the color of the official uniform pant as you'll always have a clean pair available for games.

For Farm, Minors, Majors, Intermediate and Juniors, players are required to provide their own baseball pants. The team Manager will select the color of pant (either white or grey), so please wait to purchase your pants until you know what your official uniform pant color is.

Baseball Hat --

The league will provide all players with a team hat, which will have the team's logo. It's always good to have an additional hat for practices. Your child MUST wear their official team hat to all games. They may wear any hat to practices, but they must wear a hat. Like the batting helmet, the hat serves a safety purpose. A hat shields the sun from the player's eyes, which is extremely important when they are trying to catch a baseball. A hat is a mandatory piece of equipment.

Batting Gloves --

Batting are not mandatory at any level. We strongly recommend that players in T-Ball and Pioneer DO NOT wear batting gloves.

Bat Bag --

As a matter of convenience, most players choose to use a "bat bag" which is a bag that can be used to carry their equipment (glove, bat(s), batting helmet, etc). The most common style of bag is a backpack style, which includes a clip which allows the bag to be hung on dugout fencing. Bags are not mandatory, but they help keep equipment organized, and more importantly prevent equipment loss.





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