Dear Warren Baseball and Softball families,

Warren Baseball Softball Inc. (WBSI) wants to provide you with the following update on the state of the baseball and softball programs in our town:

ABOUT WBSI

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WBSI has been providing the baseball and softball programs in Warren for over 25 years. The town has trusted WBSI with responsibility for managing the municipal field complex, including lights, snack shack, batting cages, field equipment, and the fields themselves. Funding for these projects comes from the families enrolled in the WBSI programs, either through generous donations or through the program fees. WBSI has successfully avoided the need to impose bonds or mandatory work assignments for families the way that some other towns and youth sports organizations have had to do in recent years.

WBSI maintains a mission of serving the varied needs of recreational players as well as competitive travel level players. WBSI serves the needs of both baseball and softball players, and that is especially important for families who have both girls and boys who wish to play ball. WBSI continuously adapts its programs to fit the needs of the town's players, even to the point of flexibility for certain age groups which have unique situations.

NEWS FROM THE RECREATIONAL PROGRAM

Looking to the future of the league and its players, WBSI successfully launched inter-town play in Spring 2013 for both Rec baseball and Rec softball. That initiative carried forward into the Fall 2013 season, and inter-town play is again planned for upcoming seasons. Playing against teams from neighboring towns, including some games at fields in the other towns, has created a more interesting and fun experience for our young Rec players. Additionally, we have laid the groundwork for ever-improving cooperation with these towns as we all face the challenge of competing with larger organizations in more populous towns like Bridgewater and Westfield.

WBSI will continue its practice of providing professional pre-season training camps for registered baseball and softball players. Through this partnership with local trainers, WBSI Rec players get the opportunity to acquire travel-caliber coaching at an exceptionally reasonable price.

WBSI is a chartered Babe Ruth League, which includes Cal Ripken League ages 4 to 12, Babe Ruth Softball and Extreme Fastpitch League for girls up to age 14, and Babe Ruth Baseball for ages 13 to 15. WBSI believes that offering 50/70 baseball, which allows for "real baseball" rules like leading and stealing, for Majors players in the 11 and 12 year old age group is considerably better for player development and enjoyment of the game as players enter the middle school years. The mix of programs offered by Babe Ruth League benefit both the boys and girls leagues and are not available in the standard Little League or other youth leagueprograms. We have maintained the Babe Ruth Charter for more than ten years due to the program's success.

NEWS FROM THE TRAVEL PROGRAM

WBSI travel teams have had amazing success in recent seasons. This past summer, the 9u team won its Cal Ripken District tournament, and the 12u and 11u teams both were champions of their age group in the Summer New Providence Green League. In 2012, WBSI's 8u team was the Cal Ripken State Champion.

Travel teams in the 12u age group have competed in national tournaments in each of the last several years. The past two years, teams have gone to Cooperstown and Myrtle Beach, and in 2014, the 12u team will compete at Walt Disney World.

Over the past several years, over 90% of the players on the Watchung Hills Regional High School baseball and softball teams have had their roots in WBSI programs. Of special note, recent WBSI alum Ryan Kinsella was drafted this year by the Arizona Diamondbacks to play professional baseball.

CURRENT PRIORITIES

WBSI is focused on some important projects. First, the organization is working to build upon the inter-town cooperation to create better opportunities for both the Rec and the Travel programs. A second key goal is to find new ways of increasing retention of players in the program as they get older. A third important focus is to find ways of preventing "splinter groups" which pull players from the programs and undermine the experience for the remaining players.

How can you help?

WBSI is always looking for ideas and feedback. Please join us at the annual open public meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 15 to be a part of the discussion on how we can continue to enhance the experience for Warren's young players. Also, WBSI is always in need of volunteers. This includes coaches and board members. If you have some time to give, WBSI would love your involvement.

Youth baseball and softball would not be successful if not for the time which is volunteered by many of you each season. Special thanks to those of you have coached and helped in other ways to fulfill WBSI's mission of providing great baseball and softball experiences for the young players in Warren. We hope to see you at the Tuesday, Oct. 15 open public meeting and on the fields in the spring. This open public meeting will be held at the Warren Township Municipal Complex, in the Susie B. Boyce meeting room, 46 Mountain Boulevard, Warren. The meeting will start at 7:30 p.m.

Thank you,

WBSI Board of Trustees