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Originally published: 2014-03-16 22:49:28
Last modified: 2014-03-16 22:51:39

Watauga Parks and Rec signing up baseball players

by Staff Reports

The Watauga Parks and Recreation Department is holding registration for its youth baseball leagues this week.


The deadline for registration for t-ball, machine pitch and Major II leagues is March 21. The fees are $33 for the t-ball and machine pitch, and $55 for the Major II league

The t-ball is for youth aged 5-6 years. They allow pitching to the players midway through the season. They are placed by the school district.


The machine pitch is for youth aged 7-8 years old. The kids are placed by the school district.


The Major II league is for young aged 9-10 years old. The kids pitch and go through placement drills when teams are made.


The league is beginning the season with a new affiliation. The Tar Heels Leagues, INC. Watauga plays in District 2 that includes teams from Wilkes County, Ashe County, Michell County, Alleghany County, Newton, Hickory and Morganton. The District 1 teams in the Watauga area include Lenoir, Shelby, Caldwell County and Burke County.


"Tar Heel, at this time, provides a better option for our kids," Watauga Parks and Recreation director Stephen Poulos said. "This was presented to the Watauga County Recreation Commission and was approved unanimously.  This league offers increased local flexibility locally, as well as providing more teams in our region to compete against."


The deadline for the 11-12 Major I baseball league and for the 13-15 year old Junior League has already passed. Youth who still want to participate can call the Watauga Parks and Recreation office at 828-264-9511.


The Major I league has different base paths distances, and a different distance from the pitcher's mound to home plate. The base paths went from 60 feet to 70 feet, and the pitcher's mound is 50 feet away from home plate, instead of 46 feet.


There are also changes in the softball leagues. Watauga is offering a 13-14 year old fast pitch team. Registration for this team ends April 11.


The schedule will consist of approximately 12 games either by playing other recreation department teams, recreational tournaments and travel-style tournaments. A registration fee has not been determined, but more information can be found by calling 828-264-9511.


The deadline for softball teams for the 7-8 year old machine pitch, the 9-10 Major II league and the 11-12 fastpitch Major I leagues have already past, but if some youth still want to play, they can call 818-264-9511.


So far, there are three Junior League baseball teams, five Major I baseball teams and two Major II baseball teams. There are also eight to 10 machine pitch baseball teams and 10-12 t-ball teams.


In softball, there are also one Major I fast-pitch teams and three major II teams. There are also 3-4 machine pitch softball teams.


The leagues that the signup deadlines have already passed begin this week with placement drills and practices. The leagues that have signup deadlines coming up will start as soon as they signup.


The District 7 tournaments begin the week of July 7.


Poulos said potential players can turn to the Website for more information.