The Exeter Junior Baseball and Softball League is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization. We receive no public funding. All of our funds are raised through player registrations, sponsorships and fundraising efforts. The organization is governed by an elected Board of Directors (elected each October) and depends on the contributions of dedicated coaches and parents. EJBSL is affiliated with Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken Baseball, a national governing body for youth baseball & softball for children ages 4-18. While not as large as its better known peer - Little League - Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken affiliated leagues actually outnumber Little League affiliates by a 2-1 margin in New Hampshire (and growing).
EJBSL membership consists of players from the towns of Brentwood, East Kingston, Exeter, Kensington & Newfields. We play on fields in each of our member towns (see the Directions link for directions to all fields).
EJBSL is committed to teaching and promoting youth baseball and softball while using the experience to develop teamwork, strong character and good sportsmanship in all our participants.
EJBSL offers the following baseball and softball programs; each designed to be fun and provide an opportunity for all players, regardless of skill level, to develop their skills. The degree of competitiveness varies depending on the program.
Spring Leagues: Our primary programs. Depending on the weather and field conditions, games start in early to mid April. The season concludes by mid-June, usually the weekend before school gets out.
Rookie League: A "coach-pitch" league for 6-8 year olds which is designed to transition kids from tee-ball to hardball. It is an instructional, non-competitive league; no score or standings are kept. Goals of the Rookie League are to develop fundamental skills and a love for the game. Coaches pitch to minimize downtime and to allow maximum at-bats and plays in the field. The intent is to keep the game moving to provide maximum reps for everyone. All players are required to rotate equally to all positions. Commitment is two games and one practice per week. See Rookie FAQs below.
AA/A Leagues: Our program for 9-10 year-olds. While instruction is still a primary focus, this is also where competition is first introduced. Scores and standings are kept and each league has playoffs. We have paid umpires and the rules apply as in real baseball. Minimum, but not necessarily equal, playing time is required. Commitment is 3 games per week during the season. About 2-4 practices per week in late March and early April. Practices during the season are at the coach's discretion. There are opportunities for 8 year olds to play-up into A League, but this is *not* guaranteed and players must be evaluated appropriately.
Major/AAA Leagues: Same as the AA/A leagues but for 11-12 year-olds.
Evaluations: All 9 - 12 year olds must attend our player evaluation. EJBL hires professional baseball coaches to facilitate our evaluation process in order to evaluate the skill level of each player. Players are then placed in the appropriate league according to their age and skill level to allow for the best experience possible.
Babe Ruth 13-14 year-old League: Exeter Babe Ruth (EBR) fields teams of 13-14 year-olds that play against teams from Newmarket, Stratham, Sanborn, Epping, Hampton, and Northwood. This league is a transition league for players as they transition from the 60/70 foot diamonds to the full-sized 90 foot diamond.
Babe Ruth 15-16 year-old League: EBR fields teams in the Exeter Babe Ruth League for kids ages 15-16.
Senior Babe Ruth League: EBR fields teams in the Seacoast Babe Ruth League for kids ages 16-18. The Seacoast League is made up of teams from Portsmouth, Hampton, Stratham, Barrington, Farmington and others. The season starts around the second week of June and runs through July with playoffs.
Softball: EJBSL has a softball league in which we play games against teams from Hampton and Stratham. The program is for girls ages 5 -16. See the Softball link on the left for more information.
Post-Season Teams: One of the advantages of being affiliated with Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken is the opportunity to participate in post-season tournaments competing against other Cal Ripken leagues for district/state titles. The All-Star experience allows our more advanced players to compete against a higher level of competition. The emphasis swings from instruction toward competition in post-season tournaments.
Summer Sandlot Program: The goal of the Summer program is to get the kids together to have fun and keep playing. Unlike years ago, many kids put their gloves away after the spring season and rarely take them out again until next spring. All players play all positions nearly equally in the summer. No games on weekends or practices. The program runs on Monday and Wednesday nights at 6pm at Currier and Walsh fields. It generally runs from early July through mid-August.
Rookie League FAQs
Why don't kids pitch?
Kids pitching at this age slows the game down dramatically and no one benefits. Fewer plays in the field. Fewer batted balls. More walks. More standing around daydreaming. When people say "baseball is boring", this is why. At this age, kids need as many reps as possible to develop fundamental skills. With the coach pitching, the pace of the game speeds up. More kids are swinging the bat. More balls are hit. More plays in the field. More base running. Less standing around waiting for a pitcher to throw a strike. Fewer batters not swinging because they are afraid of getting hit. Less daydreaming. More baseball.
Doesn't that hurt the kids who can pitch?
They are 6, 7 & 8. There will plenty of time to pitch in the 9-12 year level. Plus those pitchers are batters and fielders too. Overall, they will benefit.
Why no walks?
The kids should learn to hit. We presume walking is a skill they learned between 1 and 2 years old.
Why so strict on strikeouts?
Kids are not dumb; they know the rules. Three strikes and you're out. To continue to throw pitches to one batter slows the game down for everyone else and diminishes the number of at bats and fielding plays for everyone else.
Why don't the teams switch sides after three outs? Why bat the entire order before changing sides?
It is all about maximum reps. Changing sides takes time. Herding 7/8s can be an adventure. Catchers need to change gear and players need to find their ways to new positions. Again, it is about maximizing the number of at bats and fielding plays every game. This is how they learn to play baseball.
How are players assigned?
To the extent can, we try to balance talent. We also ensure that players from smaller towns have other players from their town on the team.
Why do some coaches pitch down on one knee?
We prefer that coaches pitch on one knee to better simulate a realistic pitching plane. A six-foot coach pitching to a 4-foot player causes the ball to come to the plate at a steeper than normal angle than if a player's peer were pitching.