This page is a rough guide to the ABGSL season, especially designed to answer the questions of interested and first-time families.
The Spring Season
The ABGSL Spring Recreational Softball Season usually runs from the first Saturday in March through the first Saturday in June. The dates of specific all-league events and of team-specific practices and games are distributed to all families registered in the league.
In grade 1, all practices and games are on Saturday mornings. For older girls, practices and games are on Saturday and two weekdays per week from early March until the first week in June. Players get a choice (specified on the registration form) of whether to practice and play on a Tuesday/Thursday or Monday/Wednesday team. The first month of the season is all practice; thereafter players have one or two practices and one or two games per week. Our divisions information page has more details about the different skills girls learn at different ages.
Each girl needs a softball glove and a pair of cleats, and is encouraged (but not required) to purchase her own batting helmet (for comfort). Middle and Older Division players also need sliding shorts and pads. The League provides everything else, including a sponsor T-shirt, ABGSL cap or visor, player and team pictures, and a trophy for each girl. (The League maintains a "hand-me-down" collection of outgrown gloves and cleats, for families that are just getting started and are worried about the expense.)
Many families have found our Equipment Guidelines handout helpful as a shopping guide.
Registration is in January, closing on January 31. After that date, applications will be accepted on a wait-listed basis, and girls will be registered only if there is space for them on a team. For registration information click here.
ABGSL is an all-volunteer organization: it's run by the families of the players. Every family does both a team job, such as lining fields or scorekeeping, and a league job, such as a shift doing field maintenance or at a all-league event. Of course, many families step up to do much more, and the League is always looking for more leadership. More information on how the league runs with volunteers is here.
Assigning Players to Teams
In order to make the teams as evenly matched as humanly possible, the League takes responsibility for forming teams. However, parents who volunteer to be coaches can plan on coaching their daughter's team, and if a girl has a friend she really wants to play with, that will be taken into account, along with carpool and other issues. Please include this kind of information on your registration form(s). Team assignments are announced on opening day.
ABGSL tries hard to arrange teams that are as equally competitive as possible. To do that requires as much information as we can get about the skill level of the players. For that reason, prospective players, whether experienced or not, and whether they've played in ABGSL or not are expected to show up at one of the player Assessment Clinics in late January.
Pitching and Catching Clinics
Pitching and catching are at the heart of fastpitch softball. As girls get old enough, many will want to try these specialized skills (which can take a long time to learn, but are tremendously rewarding for those who take the time). The league offers three specialized Pitching and Catching Clinics each year; these are both for beginners to get started and for experienced girls to tune up for the season.
Opening Day, the first Saturday in March, is the kickoff for the season. The girls get to do a special skills practice with older girls the Albany and/or Berkeley High Girls Softball teams, after which teams are announced and players are introduced to their coaches for the first time. The girls get to know each other, and the parents arrange a date to meet for an hour or two to discuss the season and sign up for their team and league jobs.
ABGSL/Albany Little League Parade
ABGSL traditionally participates in the Albany Little League Opening Day parade on Solano Avenue in Albany. Teams march together in uniform, often with a team banner, and the girls have a great time marching down the street while all the traffic stops for them to go by.
Bat-A-Que Day is ABGSL's Big Bash celebration of the recreational season. Carnival-like softball-themed booths are teeming, the barbecue is fired up, and everyone has a grand old time. Every girl gets sponsors and hits for distance in the "Bat-A-Thon". Team and individual player pictures are taken, and coaches go into the dunk tank, in this hectic, massive, giggling Saturday event.