With the ongoing popularity of travel baseball teams, which offer players a higher level of competition, Sparta Little Leage Baseball is looking for ways to provide a more challenging experience, according to Jane Bova, Sparta Little League president. Sparta Little League has decided to allow players to try out in order to advance to the next division.

Four divisions will be impacted by this change: 5U/6U (tee ball), 7U/8U (coach pitch), 9U/10U (minors) and 11U/12U (majors).

6U players will be permitted to try out for the Coach Pitch division, provided they have completed one year of tee ball. 8U players will be permitted to try out for the Minors division. 10U players will be allowed to try out for the Majors division. Only the older players from a division will be eligible to advance to avoid having too large of an age range in any one division.

The process will be selective, and independent evaluators will be used.

The Intermediate 50/70 division is an option for 11- and 12-year-olds, and no try out is required. The Juniors division continues to be available for 13- and 14-year-olds, with a larger 60/90 field size.

"We believe that this change will benefit all players in our program. Those who are more advanced will have the opportunity to compete with older players who have a more advanced skill set while the majority of players will remain in their age bracket. The level of play in every division will be competitive and fair," said Bova. "Every so often, it is necessary for an organization to assess how things are done and determine if the status quo still makes sense. That is exactly what we did and came to a decision that it was time for our program to evolve."

Mandatory evaluations (9U through 12U) and try outs for those wishing to advance will be held on March 5 at The Fieldhouse in Sparta. For more information, or to register for the spring season, visit www.spartabaseball.com.