Brewton Babe Ruth to have Prep League for 13-year-olds
Published 2:28 pm Monday, March 19, 2012
Brewton Babe Ruth league president David Jennings has revived a league in conjunction with Brewton Babe Ruth that was once played in the past. The new league for Brewton Babe Ruth, called Prep13, will allow 13-year-olds extra playing time to get use to the new dimensions Babe Ruth has for the players coming up from the Little League and Cal Ripken leagues.
This year’s Prep13 league has 21 players split between two rosters, which means the two teams – the National and the American – will play each other in five-inning double-headers. While both teams practice together each night, they were split with the idea of each having at least five pitchers and five catchers. Both pitchers and catchers can only work two innings a night, so the development at those positions will strengthen the league in the long run. In addition, all players will play every defensive position in an effort to improve player development and knowledge of the game.
“Babe Ruth has a chartered league called a Prep League,” Jennings said. “It is generally for all 13-year-olds, whether or not they were placed on a Babe Ruth team, to develop within the league. It gives younger players a chance to play on a bigger field like a Babe Ruth or high school field after coming up from Little League or Cal Ripken.”
Jennings said the league is trying to get to play before Babe Ruth for players to have a chance to get used to the bigger distances they will face in the Babe Ruth season, when more experienced 14- and 15-year-old players join them.
“Also we want the players to be able to play more and play more positions,” Jennings said. “Some don’t play a lot in Babe Ruth and it handicaps them during the All-Star season. Also, it leads to no experience on the mound at times.”
The Prep13 league would like to play an 18-to-22 game season, in conjunction with the games they will play within and in addition to the Babe Ruth schedule. In all, most of these 13-year-olds will get in 30-36 games this season before all-stars begins. It’s a great opportunity to develop pitchers, catchers and some of those important aspects of the game to help all kids playing to improve and enjoy the game.
“Our biggest goal is develop every player in this league. No matter what their skill level is, we want to help them be the best baseball players they can be, and enjoy the experience along the way. If we do this right, this will be a great opportunity for us to help all these young men have a greater appreciation for a great game,” Jennings said. “Very few of the 13-year-olds get much playing time during the regular season and there is not a minimum amount of innings they have to play like in Little League. They can only get better by playing, and this Prep League provides that opportunity.”
Jennings said they have some games planned but there is no set schedule as of yet, although the league opened up with a double-header Monday night at T.R. Miller’s field.
“We want to play two five-inning games Monday night and then two Thursday,” he said. “We have to work around the T.R. Miller baseball team and its practices and games. We had this when I played 15-20 years ago so it is not something new. We are just bringing back something that went away.”