Teaching Teamwork, Sportsmanship, and Self-Esteem

The Scripps Ranch Little League baseball organization has attracted children ages 5 to 18 who live in the 92131 community for close to three decades. With the upcoming season expecting over 1,000 participants, the League is sure to be a present and popular hot topic for the community at large.

Players will begin practices in February and showcase their talents on the fields in 92131 between March and mid-June. The outpouring of dedicated volunteers, the enthusiasm and the athletic abilities of the players, and the support of the parents and the community make the League knock it out of the park each year.

We talk with league president Butch Reh about the upcoming season, past success, and what makes the organization run so smoothly.

What is the history behind Scripps Ranch Little League?
Scripps Ranch Little League (SRLL) was originally formed in late 1974 and conducted its first season during the spring of 1975.  The idea to start SRLL came about after a man named Pete Vogt, a Navy enlisted man, was told by Mira Mesa Little League that he was too late to sign his son up for the 1975 season.  Mr. Vogt, along with Scripps Ranch residents Bob Blatchley, Joe Gersztyn, and Arnold Gass quickly took the necessary steps to create SRLL, and the league was up and running within two months.  The first SRLL season’s games were played on an open lot on the site of the current Jerabek Elementary School.  The league had a total of 96 players participate that first year.  SRLL has experienced significant growth over the years as the Scripps Ranch population increased.  For the 2012 season, it is expected that nearly 1,000 players will participate in the SRLL program.

What is the makeup of the 2012 Scripps Ranch Little League?
For the Spring 2012 season SRLL expects to field the following teams and divisions:
•    Challenger Division (Players with special needs aged 5-18): 1 team
•    T-Ball Division (Players aged 5 & 6): 12-14 teams
•    Rookies Division (Machine Pitch for players aged 6 & 7): 10-12 teams
•    MAPS Division (Machine Pitch for players aged 7 & 8): 10-12 teams
•    Minors A Division (Players aged 8 & 9): 8 teams
•    Minors AA Division (Players aged 8, 9, & 10): 8 teams
•    Minors AAA Division (Players 9, 10, & 11): 6-8 teams
•    Majors Division (Players 10, 11, & 12): 8-10 teams
•    Juniors Division (Players 13 & 14): 3-5 teams
•    Seniors Division (Players 14, 15, & 16): 2-3 teams
•    Big League Division (Players 16, 17 & 18): 1-2 teams

What is the traditional Little League Season for Scripps Ranch Little League?
For all divisions, except Senior League and Big League, the regular season begins with practices in February followed by games running from March through mid-June. The Senior League and Big League seasons run from approximately June 1st until the middle of July. Following the regular season, there are district-sponsored post season tournaments for the league champions and for all-star teams of various divisions.  In addition, SRLL participates in an instructional Fall Ball program from September–November. This program is run by District 32 and is designed to expose players to new baseball concepts in order to develop their skills in preparation for the following spring season.

What is the goal of the Scripps Ranch Little League organization as a whole?
SRLL is dedicated to providing the youth of Scripps Ranch the opportunity to participate in a recreational baseball league while learning the ideals of teamwork, sportsmanship, and self-esteem.  We emphasize a code of conduct that includes detailed fair play rules which are designed to enhance the Little League experience for each and every player.  SRLL is very selective about the managers and coaches that we accept, and we challenge all of our volunteers to make sure that they give the same level of attention to every player regardless of that player’s playing ability.  With all of this in mind, SRLL still manages to produce highly competitive and successful tournament and all-star teams as evidenced by our outstanding record in the district tournaments annually.  It is this blend of fair play and competition which makes SRLL very successful.

Are there any changes this season that players need to be aware of?
Every year Little League Baseball issues a series of new rules designed to improve the quality of play and/or improve the safety of the players. For 2012, some highlights:  Majors will now have the option to run on a dropped third strike, this will be a tournament rule in All Stars, and can be adopted by individual leagues on a case-by-case basis, Challengers can now play in any boundary with special paperwork, Senior League now has a minimum play rule, and detailed 2012 bat information including penalties for the use of illegal bats. More information regarding the 2012 bat rules can be found on the SRLL website.

What do the League registration fees cover?
Our registration fees cover a portion of the expenses associated with running the league.  These expenses include field-use and maintenance fees, equipment, uniforms, trophies, insurance, District fees, umpires, and coaches’ clinics.  Each year SRLL provides players with a complete uniform (shirt, hat, and pants), team and individual pictures, trophies, league yearbook, and skills clinics.

How does a business or family sponsor a team?
Anyone interested in sponsorships can go to the Sponsorship section on the SRLL website (www.ScrippsRanchLL.org) or contact the SRLL Sponsorship Coordinator directly at sponsor@srll.com.  This year SRLL is offering a variety of sponsorship options including the opportunity to sponsor the entire league, specific divisions, or individual teams.  [quote]We emphasize a code of conduct that includes detailed fair play rules which are designed to enhance the Little League experience for each and every player.”
~Butch Reh
   President, Scripps Ranch Little League[/quote]

How does the Scripps Ranch Little League run such an organized program?
SRLL has an extremely dedicated group of volunteers that make up its Board of Directors as well as the general membership.  As long as I can remember, SRLL has run a great program and I believe part of the credit goes to the early organizers of the league and the many others who have followed.  Scripps Ranch is a very close knit community and there is a great sense of pride in doing things in a way that best represents “The Ranch”.  Running a league of close to 1,000 players and more than 2,000 parents takes a great deal of effort.  By taking a structured approach we’re able to keep things (most things!) organized and running smoothly.

Who are the current Scripps Ranch Little League sponsors?
Each year we’re honored to receive sponsorships from a large number of organizations and individuals alike.  We’re currently in the early stages of recruiting the 2012 sponsors, but have already secured such fine companies as Baseball ASAP (Hall of Fame Sponsor), Sports Authority (All Division Sponsor), Gupta Plastic Surgery (All Division Sponsor), and IBT Bridge Technologies, Inc.  In past years our sponsors have included Fitness Quest 10, Coles Fine Flooring, Neal Electric, Poor Boy Subs, Chili’s, Scripps Photo, Qualcomm, Stanley Steemer, B.H. Gold Insurance, Hershey Technologies, Sprouts Farmers Market, Sport Clips, Sharp Rees-Stealy, TV Magic, Mission Pools, Xceptional Networks, and Baskin Robbins among several others.

Does Scripps Ranch Little League hold any fundraisers?
SRLL does not ask our players or families to conduct any fundraising activities.  All of the funds needed to run the league come from a combination of registration fees, our generous sponsors, and proceeds from the two league-operated snack bars.

What is the biggest challenge the SR Little League faces?
I think all youth organizations face the same challenge of finding enough volunteers to handle the many demands associated with keeping the operation running smoothly.  For SRLL specifically, in addition to seeking more volunteers, we work hard to provide the players with quality playing fields, equipment and uniforms so they enjoy being a part of SRLL.  There are an increasing number of  recreational options available to kids these days so it’s important that they fully enjoy their little league baseball experience.

What is the most unique thing about SR Little League compared to other programs?
SRLL is one of the largest little leagues in all of San Diego fielding teams in eleven different divisions.  On any given Saturday SRLL can be playing simultaneous games on nine different fields at three separate parks from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.  The sheer number of players, teams, and games requires a great deal of coordination to keep things running smoothly.

Is there anything else you would like 92131 Magazine readers to know?
SRLL is actually made up of two separate leagues, Scripps Ranch American and Scripps Ranch National which operate as one Little League entity for regular season play.  Due to the large number of players, SRLL had to take this action according to National Little League guidelines several years ago.  Because we operate as two leagues, SRLL is required to field two separate all-star teams for all-star tournaments.  In spite of this, SRLL has experienced great success in the District 32 All-Star tournament over the past several years including the unprecedented circumstance of sweeping the 9-10, 10-11, and 11-12 year old District 32 tournaments in 2010. SRLL is proud to note that its teams are always among the most competitive year in and year out.