As there are not presently any organized spring travel softball leagues in Eastern Massachusetts, we intend for our top teams at the 10U, 12U and 14U levels to enter the competitive Lowell scrimmages in late April and early May, and perhaps a tournament each in May and June.
The Lowell scrimmages are an excellent way for our teams to get exposed to a high level of competition, including many club teams. We are able to play two games each on the Saturday and Sunday of consecutive weekends for a total of eight games. As these scrimmages conflicts with the start of the NGS recreational league, we will only enter the 10U team in the Saturday scrimmages so as not to create a conflict with our Sunday NGS games.
While there are far fewer tournaments in May and June than in July and early August, we have been able to find some that are appropriate for the Panthers. These are more likely to be "Open" tournaments, which could require us to be registered as an ASA "B" team.
If we are to assemble more than one team at any age level, we will assess each team's strengths to determine the appropriate competitive fit. We are working to pull the many talented softball players who have other commitments in the summer into the Panther program in the fall and spring seasons such that we could have two equally competitive teams: one comprised of "full-year" players and one comprised of "non-summer" players. If we determine that a team lacks the overall pitching or catching talent to have a good experience in the Lowell scrimmages and the available spring tournaments, we will likely arrange ad hoc games with the many area softball programs that regularly express interest in scrimmages.
The start of the summer softball season coincides with the end of the NGS recreational league season and the Newton public school year in late June.
We enter teams in the MiddleEssex League, which is comprised of teams located from Natick to Newburyport with even a few teams located in southernmost New Hampshire. The league has 10U, 12U, 14U and 18U age divisions, which are then split into "A" and "B" subdivisions that are self-selected based on the expected strength of the team. The season consists of 14 games over the seven-week period from the last week of June through roughly August 10th.
Teams that play in the MiddleEssex League may also enter a couple of weekend tournaments in late June or July. The tournament-focused teams described above in the Spring section continue their weekend tournament schedule through the month of July.
Our 8U travel team, which we believe is the only one of its kind in Massachusetts, generally enters three coach-pitch tournaments in Rhode Island from late June through early August.
We typically hold tryouts for the following year's 12U and 14U tournament-focused teams in August, while the 10U tournament team is typically formed in late winter or early spring. Once these teams are formed, they stay together through the following summer.
In the fall, we enter teams in the Charles River League. This league is comprised of nearby towns and typically consists of five or six Sunday morning doubleheaders from the weekend after Labor Day through late October. Fall softball is more relaxed -- while the Panther teams playing in the spring and summer are created through a tryout process, we have more of a managed "take all comers" process for the fall.
Separate from the Charles River League, our tournament-focused teams enter a few fall tournaments in September and October.