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Little League Baseball and Softball - Community Information



HISTORY
Little League baseball and softball have been a vitial part of the greater Snoqualmie Valley community since 1958. 

In 1990, based on changing demographics, the decision was made to break apart the original Snoqualmie Valley LL into three separate leagues:  Snoqualmie Valley LL (SVLL), Fall City LL (now known as Falls LL), and Snoqualmie Valley North LL (now known as Valley LL).

For approximately 30 years, all three leagues have operated independently but have joined together, interlocking, during regular seasons to ensure all divisions have enough different teams to play in a season. 

During the 2019 season, largely due to a growing connection of the common ethos of Falls and SVLL, both leagues unanimously approved the stoppage of interlocking (Baseball) with SVN based on community feedback of challenges with travel and differences of team formation.

For the 2020 season, and continuing today, both Falls and SVLL have been unified in remaining our two-league interlock (Baseball).  Softball programs have for the foreseeable future will be different due to the total number of teams/players and interlock with various D9 leagues depending on the division of play.  

The 2021 season saw both Falls LL and SVLL overall registration numbers return over 90% of our 2020 submissions from the lost COVID season, which was a positive step!  

As we have moved through the 2022 season, we have experienced new registrations to our joint baseball and softball community which is tremendous—but there remains a wide variety of unknowns of the future.

Falls LL registrations trendsSVLL registration trends
  • Total registrations have decreased 15% over the last three years
    (2021 to 2019).
  • Total registration decreased by greater than 25% over a five-span (2016-2021).
  • 2021 to 2022 season basically flat from 459 to 457 in all divisions.

  • After experiencing decreasing numbers from 2016 through 2018, total registration has been trending upward since 2019.
  • In 2021, total registrations closed with 498.
  • The 2022 season saw an increase of almost 30%, with 646 total registrations.


Greater Snoqualmie Valley Little League Boundary Map

CHANGING ENVIRONMENT
Little League Baseball and Softball in the greater Snoqualmie Valley area, including Falls Little League and Snoqualmie Valley Little League, are going through a transitional period. When combined with environmental variables, spring youth sports options, growing club/select options, and changing housing growth patterns, the leadership at both leagues are evaluating options to ensure Little League Baseball and Softball have a future in our community.

While both leagues enjoy a tremendous working partnership, interlocking with rules and games from League Age 8 years through 12 (Baseball) and across other D9 Leagues in Softball, there is a wide range of duplicative administration efforts, along 

LL WASHINGTON DISTRICT 9
Understanding how SVLL and Falls LL resides in the larger District Little League Operations
Falls and Snoqualmie Valley are two of the fourteen local Little League members that makeup the Little League Washington District 9. The District Administrators serve as the conduit for organizing not only the District All Star tournaments but validating all District Leagues align to various Little League International rules and regulations. From charter submissions to rules validations and other processes required for league play.  

D9 Membership
Bellevue East LL |  Bellevue Thunderbird LL |  Bellevue West LL |  Eastlake LL |  Falls LL |  Issaquah LL |  Kirkland American LL | 
Kirkland National LL |  Mercer Island LL |  Redmond North LL |  Redmond West LL |  Sammamish LL |  Snoqualmie Valley LL | 
Valley LL (formerly Sno-Valley North)

  • The shared data below showcases the relative size of all D9 Leagues, the number of teams based on a 3-year average (2018-2021), for both baseball and softball.
  • Data excludes the 2020 season due to COVID.
  • Each League operates a division of play slightly differently.
  • Total quantity of League Age 12 players, plus League Age 11 players' overall skill set are key drivers for the total quantity of Majors teams. 
  • Majors numbers are decreasing: In 2018, D9 Leagues chartered (78) total Majors teams. In 2021, that segment dropped to (50), a decrease of -36%.
  • AAA/Coast numbers are decreasing:  In 2018, D9 Leagues chartered (175) total teams. In 2021, that program segment dropped to (107), a decrease of -39%. 


WE NEED TO HEAR FROM THE COMMUNITY

The League's leadership teams are looking forward not just to 2023 but 10+ years down the road to ensure there remains a solid youth baseball and softball foundation in our community. One step in this evaluation period is hearing from our community members, both current and past.

Current community members have viewpoints and experiences, whether you've been involved for one year or many. There are many in the community whose players have "aged" out of Little League, and they also bring additional valuable perspectives.  

Please take a few minutes and submit your responses in our SVLL / FALLS LITTLE LEAGUE COMMUNITY SURVEY by May 27, 2022. 

All survey results and feedback will be tabulated and taken into consideration as both Boards evaluate how best to continue to serve the greater Fall City, Snoqualmie and North Bend baseball and softball community. Further communications will be shared in June to both Leagues. 




2022 FALLS LITTLE LEAUGE PRESIDENT VIEWPOINT

“As a volunteer with Falls LL for the last ten years, both as a Coach and Board member, I’m 100% in favor of a combined merge with Snoqualmie Valley LL to collectively unify and enhance our baseball and softball opportunities for the Valley youth.  

Yes, there are challenges and unknowns, but I firmly believe now is the time to change for the future. Unified, we can grow our participation, coordinate player growth opportunities to support skills development, and gain tremendous operational efficiencies. Both current Boards, Falls and SVLL have a tremendous core group of dedicated volunteers, and together I strongly believe the community benefits are far significant together than separate.  

A Falls LL + SVLL merge is an opportunity to define what Little League in the Valley looks like, not for the next 3 years but the next 20 years. Together we can orchestrate a unified future as one League.  

Since the beginning of the 2022 League Year, I have communicated that this is my fourth and final year serving as Falls LL President. My driving desire to see the merge agreement happen is to leave Falls LL in a better place than when I took over this leadership role. No matter the path, I will welcome the opportunity to continue to support in some capacity but in a greatly reduced role.     

I've driven tractors at Aldarra, implemented and built our existing website and registration forms, created graphics, posted social media, sent league emails, reviewed schedules, monitored our budget, etc. I fully recognize that things are far from perfect, but the risks of not merging are very concerning. 

Leagues will continue to be challenged with other sports pulling kids away from baseball and softball. The continued growth of select/club options is another challenge that must not be overlooked. Locally there has been a heavy organic path to keep those looking for select baseball/softball opportunities to remain engaged and play LL and along with their select/club pursuits. I do fear a non-merge could change that dynamic which would have varying degrees of negative impacts short and long-term. "  

- Mike Tenhulzen, 2022 Falls Little League President


VISION OF THE FUTURE 

  • Unified registration platform
  • Alignment on division of play ages / rules
  • Lower Division – remain committed to elementary school alignment for team formation
  • Taking the best of both leagues - Board construction, All Star process, draft process, manager selection
  • Volunteer scale with broad community interaction to further enhance player development opportunities 
  • Unified community communications
  • Unified sponsorship approach
  • Unified player pool for All Star roster considerations

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