Thunderbird Softball

Bellevue Thunderbird Little League is one of 14 leagues that make up District 9 Little League in the State of Washington. Thunderbird softball teams in various divisions will often join with one or more of the other leagues in District 9 throughout the season for regular games, and sometimes tournaments. This also means that Thunderbird softball teams will play softball teams in other leagues around the area. We do our best to join with the closest leagues, such as Mercer Island, Bellevue West and Bellevue East; however, depending on the number of teams at a specific level, we may end up playing teams from leagues that are farther away.

Registration

Registration for the 2019 softball season opens on November 15, 2018. Winter clinics will begin in early January. If your daughter would like to play softball this year, please sign up by early January so we can begin planning our coaching and field needs at each level. The sooner we know how many teams we will have, the sooner we can start getting practices and game schedules pulled together.

Note: Your daughter's age for the 2019 season is her age as of January 1, 2019. For example, if your girl turns 10 on February 27, 2019, she is a league-age 9-year old (as she was still 9 on January 1), and should sign up for the AAA division. If your daughter turned 10 on November 8, 2018, then she is league-age 10, and would sign up for the Coast division. The website registration system will require sign up in an age-appropriate division.

For registration purposes, you may use the following age chart to determine the league-age for your softball player.

Pricing

For the 2019 season, registering early will cost $25 less for all divisions. Register before 1/15/2019 to receive the discounted price. Registration fees are as follows:

Division Discount Price Regular Price
T-ball Softball $50 $75
Level A Softball $200 $225
Level AA Softball $200 $225
Level AAA Softball $225 $250
Coast Softball $225 $250
Majors Softball $225 $250
Juniors Softball $300 $325
Seniors Softball $300 $325
 

Please note that registration for levels AAA through Juniors closes Saturday, 1/26/2019, the day before league evaluations (taking place on Sunday, 1/27/2019). Registration for other baseball and softball levels closes as of 2/15/2019. Registration for t-ball closes 3/31/2019. Please contact the league at registrar@bellevuethunderbird.com if you would like to register after the cutoff date.

Coaching

We can ALWAYS use good help! If you'd like to help coach a team, please fill in the information for coaches on the Registration link. You'll also need to fill out the Little League Volunteer Application form.

Clinics and Training

This year, we will offer a number of clinics to our registered softball players. The first clinics will begin in January at Stod's Batting Cages in Newport Hills. More information will follow about the exact dates as we get closer. These will be run by the league's Director of Softball Player Development, and a few of our more experienced softball coaches. The clinics will cover hitting, bunting (where age-appropriate) and fielding skills in a relaxed and instructive environment. Girls will be placed according to age level, and skill level if necessary. Please see our home page for age groups and times.

We are planning again this year to attempt to find a quality pitching instructor for girls who are interested in learning more about pitching. Parents will pay for this service separately. Clinics will be available to girls 8-11 years old, and will be held weekly. The schedule will be finalized in early January. The league strongly encourages all girls interested in pitching to seek this professional instruction.

If your daughter is unsure about playing, please have her attend one or more of the softball clinics being held at Stod's Batting Cages (as mentioned above). This is a great opportunity for her to try things out, and see if softball is something she might enjoy doing. The best part about Little League is that no experience is necessary. Every girl is welcome to join a team. We want our girls to come out and play, and love the joy of the game.

Evaluations

If your daughter is 9 or older, she will need to participate in our softball evaluations which will be held this year on Sunday, January 27, 2019. Every girl will make a team; we simply hold evaluations so that we can evenly divide the girls into competitive teams within the league. It also helps us evaluate whether or not a girl should "play up" to a higher age level based upon her skills.

Note: "Playing up" is when a girl plays in a division that is normally for girls who are older (for example, an 8-year old girl who would normally be in the AA division might play in the AAA division, which is regularly for 9-year olds). More experienced and/or highly-skilled girls do this on occasion. However, once the Coast division is reached, this becomes less frequent due to the age and physical development of the older girls (there are many 6th graders in this division) and the use of the regulation (leather) ball at this level. When you take your daughter to evaluations, please let the evaluators know that she is interested in playing up so they may evaluate her against girls at her age level, and at the age level of the next older division. You should also note that you wish your daughter to play up when you register her online, there is an indicator for that. However, you will still be required to sign her up for the age-appropriate division.

Teams

Once we receive all the softball registrations and evaluations are completed, we divide the girls up into teams. If your daughter has a best friend that she wants to play with, be sure to put this in your registration form. We cannot guarantee that your daughter will be placed with all of her friends, especially at the evaluated levels; however, we will do our best to make sure she is with at least one friend or another girl from her school. Coaches will contact parents once their teams have been assigned. You may anticipate hearing from your daughter's coach by early March. Some of the younger teams may not be fully formed until later in March.

Practices

Practices will be held three times per week for Coast level and above, while AAA and below will have two practices per week. Set practice days will not be determined until early March once the City of Bellevue has given us our field availabilies. Plan on one weekend practice and one or two weekday practices. Weekday practices typically begin at 5:30pm. We will do our best to make practice schedules as consistent as possible for each team to help with planning.

Games

Game schedules come out in late March for the higher levels and early April for the lower levels. Because we often join with neighboring leagues, softball game schedules are a bit more complicated so they come out later than the boys' baseball schedules. Girls will play one or two games per week once the season begins. If there are two games in a week, coaches may or may not hold practice that week. The regular softball season ends in early June, but there is opportunity immediately after that for All Star teams and post-season play through the end of July.

All Stars

Girls who are 9-years old and older are eligible to try out for All Stars. There are a number of requirements to be eligible; the primary requirements include living within the district boundary and playing in a minimum number of games during the season. Your daughter's coach will tell you about the All Star requirements later in the season.