2009 Sandy Koufax Grapefruit League Action

How We Started

In early 2002, a group of seven Northampton friends who have been involved in playing, coaching and watching youth baseball over the past decade, got together to discuss the state of youth baseball for teenagers in our community. Prior to the 2002 season, the only option for thirteen and fourteen year olds in Northampton was the Northampton Little League’s Junior League program. For many years the Northampton Little League had an A division and a B division. This has worked extremely well, allowing youths between the ages of 9-12 to play against other youth of similar abilities. In the Junior/Senior division however, there was only one division. The Northampton Little League has simply not had the numbers to run two divisions at the 13-15 age level. This resulted in kids with a tremendous range of abilities being lumped together. Fifteen year old All-Stars were competing against thirteen year olds, who had played in the Little League’s B division and had never played on a full-size diamond. The result was that the more talented kids were bored and the less talented kids were intimidated at having to play against kids who were in some cases two years older and who had far superior skills.

For fifteen and sixteen year olds, there had been for many years a Northampton entry in the Tri-County Mickey Mantle League. The problem was that the team had been informally passed from coach to coach and there was no structure that allowed for raising money, purchasing equipment and the like. The result was a team that had no continuity , borrowed equipment from year to year and faced annual problems of raising money for umpires and finding a coach at the last minute, in order to have a season.

At that very first meeting, we decided to organize a new entity to offer baseball opportunities for all teenagers in the greater Northampton area. We decided to name our organization after Northampton’s only major leaguer, Mike Laga. Shortly thereafter, we voted to establish our first two teams: The Northampton Blue Sox, a team for thirteen and fourteen year olds that would play in the NEYSA Sandy Koufax "A" Division, and the Northampton Blue Devils Mickey Mantle team, that would play in what was then known as the Tri-County Mickey Mantle League. In 2003, we added the Blue Demons, our B division Mickey Mantle team. Both our Mickey Mantle teams now play in the Pioneer Valley Youth Baseball League. At the end of the 2008 season we voted to add a Connie Mack team for youth aged 17-18. Our Connie Mack team competes whenever we have sufficient interest to field a team.