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The All-Star program is an add-on to the spring SFLL experience that facilitates advanced skill development in the context of higher-level competition. As a by-product, players make new friends and strengthen established relationships. 

SFLL All-Stars first compete against the Marin County leagues that comprise District 3 (SFLL is the southernmost league in D3 and Novato North and South are the northernmost). A team that wins the district competes in broader geographic areas starting with Sectionals against various contiguous districts. The district tournament usually ends in mid-July, but an extraordinary team could find itself traveling to San Bernardino, CA for the West Region tournament in early August or even Williamsport, PA for the Little League World Series in mid-late August. Given recent and historical performance, we only ask All-Star candidates to postpone vacations until mid-July. 

The All-Star program follows Little League tournament rules, which are different from regular-season rules in a number of areas, including mandatory play. Coaches, players, and parents/guardians should consider those differences - detailed below - before committing to the program. 

All-Star Committee
The SFLL All-Star Committee oversees the program in collaboration with the Board of Directors. The 2024 committee consists of Sumner Estes, Bob Hillman, James Nash, and Hale Walker. 

In 2024, SFLL anticipates fielding the following teams:

  1. 9s NL

  2. 9s AL

  3. 9s-10s NL

  4. 9s-10s AL

  5. 11s-12s NL

  6. 11s-12s AL 

  7. 13s-14s 

  8. 16s

Additional Notes

  • The numbers denote Little League ages, which may be different from actual ages. For example, a player may be “10 years old” but “LL11.”

  • 10s teams will begin with a foundation of 10s and invite some 9s to round out the teams after the 9s tournament, which ends before the 10s-12s tournaments begin.

  • 11s-12s teams will be composed of 11s and 12s players in Majors. 11s in AAA are also eligible. 

  • In 2023, Little League International required SFLL to field two teams at every age group except Juniors and Seniors, where we are permitted to field one team only.  

  • 13s-14s come from our Juniors division and 16s players come from Seniors. 


Roster Size
Tournament rosters may range from 12-14 players.   

Level of Play
In the SFLL All-Star program, we ask players to stick with their age group. For example, a 10s who plays Majors during the regular season - and might be very comfortable competing with and against 11s and 12s - would still play with mostly AAA players in the 10s All-Star tournament. That’s because we (1) prefer not to exclude deserving older players, who will soon age out of the opportunity, and (2) wish to optimize for each age group. Exceptions to this rule of thumb will be made only rarely and under singular circumstances.  

Players are eligible for SFLL’s All-Star program when they meet these criteria established by Little League International:

  1. Live within the boundaries of the City and County of San Francisco or attend a school within those boundaries; and 

  2. Participate in 8 regular season games (which, counter-intuitively but practically speaking, includes playoffs). If a player doesn’t meet the 8-game threshold because of a documented injury or illness, the Board of Directors can petition the district administrator. If some other unique circumstance comes into play, we can work with the district administrator on a case-by-case basis. It’s hard to imagine a player being declared ineligible when he or she has made a good-faith effort to meet all requirements.

The All-Star Committee, manager, and a team representative - typically a parent with superior organizational skills - coordinate production of binders with birth certificates and other documents required by Little League International. Teams travel with their binders, which are reviewed by officials at each site. Among other things, families are required to produce an original birth certificate (which is returned once the district administrator has reviewed it) and proof of eligibility as noted above. Candidates will be asked to gather this information quickly and should locate original birth certificates at their earliest convenience. This is a one-time process, meaning returning All-Stars are off the hook. 

The time commitment required for All-Star play is significant. There’s no exact formula, but the following is prototypical:

First three weeks of June:

  • 3 two-hour practices on weekday afternoons/early evenings on San Francisco and Treasure Island fields.

  • 2 scrimmages per weekend on Treasure Island or Peninsula/East Bay fields. 

Last two weeks of June through the second weekend in July:

  • Up to 6 round-robin tournament games on Treasure Island or Marin fields as far south as Tiburon and as far north as Novato. 

  • Single-elimination tournament featuring the top performers from the round robin.

Late July-August

  • The team that wins the District 3 tournament advances to Sectionals and so on through July and most of August. SFLL teams have won D3 but not recently. Families of players whose teams advanced into Sectionals and beyond will most likely be inspired to drop everything and follow the dream but we can cross that bridge if and when we come to it. 

Additional Notes

  • The above is pro forma. Of course, teams may elect to scrimmage during the week or practice on weekends. 

  • Scrimmages usually occur in three-hour windows, not including travel. 

  • The number of round robin tournament games hinges on the number of teams that enter the District 3 tournament, which varies by age group and year. 9s, 13s-14s, and 16s, for example, tend to have fewer entrants and therefore fewer games. 

  • On tournament game days, players are asked to show up for batting practice 2-3 hours before game time at a neutral field. Weekday games usually start at 5:30 and weekend times vary. 

  • Coaches and families may plan meals and other activities around official events. While totally optional, these extracurriculars are popular among players.

  • There might be a break of one or more days during 4th of July weekend…but there might not. 

  • Players must be available to attend most practices, scrimmages, and games throughout the All-Star season.

Player Selection
Of the 12-14 total players on each team, five are voted on by coaches in relevant divisions, which tends to drive consensus around the top players. To that end, we invite each coaching staff to nominate up to seven NL and seven AL players for each age group in its division. Majors coaches, for example, may nominate 11s and 11s who play in Majors but not 11s who play in AAA, even if they know those players well. There will be other opportunities to advocate for players from other divisions but this election should reflect a coach’s current-season context. 

Each nomination will count as one vote and coaches are welcome to submit collectively  - as a staff - or individually. If there’s a tie for 5th, the manager and All-Star Committee will review the situation and propose a solution. In many cases, we’ll agree to simply assign an additional player, who’d probably be invited to the team anyway. If, on the other hand, six players tie for fifth with a vote or two each, we may elect to retain roster flexibility. Additional notes:

  • The results of voting are confidential and have nothing whatsoever to do with playing time or positions. Rather, it’s a way to ensure that we align on standouts while also allowing managers and coaches some flexibility as they pursue their visions. 

  • Kids playing up a division, e.g. 10s in Majors or 9s in AAA, are automatically considered for and usually assigned to their age-group teams. 

All-Star coaches then fill the remaining 7-9 slots with the players they need, e.g. an extra catcher or the ultimate center fielder, relying on these main sources of information:

  1. Coach input

  2. Game Changer stats

  3. Direct observation

  4. Other input e.g. parents, school coaches, etc. 

Managers highly value input from their peer coaches, which is of-the-moment and tends to be thoughtful and detailed. Game Changer stats buttress that input and add nuance: a player may have a low batting average but high contact percentage and a favorable strikeout to walk ratio, suggesting that the batting average doesn’t tell the whole story. Direct observation can be challenging given logistics and speed of play - coaches are busy with their own teams and it takes a long time to watch a candidate’s three at-bats - but they find ways to get the looks they need. In some cases, managers may reach out to families or their personal networks for additional input. The result of all of the above is a thorough process that incorporates multiple touch points, qualitative and quantitative analysis, and an informal system of checks and balances. 

Not all stakeholders will understand or be satisfied with an All-Star manager’s choices. A manager who has decided to prioritize hitting, for example, might leave people wondering why he or she didn’t select someone who stands out as a pitcher. There’s no one formula for a successful All-Star team and player selection gets especially tricky at the margins. There will always be initial disappointment and hindsight recrimination, but everyone involved tries to take a sensitive approach and make themselves available for conversations. 

Mandatory Play
Little League International governs mandatory-play rules for All-Star tournaments, and those rules diverge from those that govern our regular season and playoffs. Before 2023, All-Star teams batted nine and guaranteed each player at least one at-bat. Starting in 2023, however, Little League mandated a continuous batting order in tournament play, meaning that each player would bat each time through the order. The results of this rule change have been that (1) some players get more at-bats than they would have under the old model and (2) coaches limit their rosters to 12 players with an eye toward turning over the lineup. 

There are no requirements for defensive play, meaning managers can elect not to send a player into the field for an entire game or even an entire tournament. Most coaches will not do that, if only because pitching and catching changes suggest different combinations of fielders but also because they prefer to get the kids out there. But players and parents/guardians should be aware that their athletes, who might have been fixtures at the top of the order and in their favorite positions during the regular season, could bat 12th and/or play less-beloved positions during the summer season. 

We ask families to reinforce that it’s an honor to be invited onto an All-Star team, All-Star teams are optimized for competition, and players should prioritize helping the team however they’re asked, not to mention take advantage of whatever opportunities present themselves. For their part, coaches should communicate their plans openly and honestly with players and families at various points so there are no surprises.

Coach Selection
The All-Star experience hinges on the manager and coaches who set the culture. Great All-Star experiences usually involve managers/coaches who:

  • Make a significant time commitment

  • Teach baseball at a high level

  • Model self-control and err on the side of sportsmanship

  • Consider individual development in a team context

  • Collaborate effectively with stakeholders including assistants and parents/guardians

  • Communicate clearly and thoroughly

Potential managers will be asked to nominate themselves in mid-April, after which registered coaches vote in relevant age groups. For example, Majors coaches vote for 11s-12s because they know those coaches from the regular season. If there are multiple nominees in an age group, we ask for a “statement of philosophy.” Beyond that, there's no campaigning, which is one of many reasons we ask our coaches to get to know each other. Once elected, managers will set about the following:

  • Select 2 assistants from among registered coaches. 

  • Select 7-9 players from each age group across divisions using direct observation, coach, family, and other outreach, and Game Changer stats. 

  • Draft pre-tournament schedule including ~3 2-hour practices/week for ~3 weeks and 3-5 weekend scrimmages with nearby Little Leagues. 

  • Study Green Book tournament rules. 

  • Persuade parents to assist with eligibility info (aka "binders"), snacks, post-game meals and activities, Game Changer, Tepper duties, etc. 

  • Plan practices and prepare for scrimmages. 

  • Identify fields for pre-game batting practice. 

  • Create lineups for five group-play and up to 3 playoff games. 

  • Communicate constantly.

Additional Notes

  • Coaches may vote for themselves in the manager election.

  • The manager’s child is automatically assigned to the team. 

  • All ballots are confidential and the final tally is not revealed. 

Coach Preparation
The All-Star Committee and other Board members work closely with coaching staffs throughout the All-Star season. Among many other things, the Committee supports coaches through player selection and educates them about the binder process, rules and their strategic implications, locations of Marin practice fields, the best team dinner options relative to each field, etc. All-Star season is very much a team effort and, to the extent possible, coaches should focus on coaching. 

Like during the regular season but moreso, we require parents/guardians to pitch in. Roles include:

  • Binder coordinator

  • Event planner

  • Pre- and post-game food and beverage coordinator

  • Tournament director (for home games)

  • Scoreboard operator (for home games)

  • Game Changer operator

There are strict rules about parent involvement in All-Star tournament games. For example, parents are not allowed to interact with players, including giving advice and distributing snacks (food is not permitted in the dugout but drinks are). Under no circumstances may a non-coach parent set foot on an All-Star field before or during a tournament game. 

Rough Timeline


Include basic information about All-Stars in league and team communications, keeping in mind that it’s not yet a priority

Late March

Gauge interest among registered head and assistant coaches in managing

Early April

Determine how many if any SFLL teams will enter the District 3 9s, 10s, 11s, 12s, 14s, and 16s tournaments


Email all SFLL families in relevant age groups about the All-Star opportunity and commitment


Solicit formal self-nominations for managers and field elections when there’s more than one candidate

Late April

Appoint managers

Late April

Field elections for the first five players on each team


Finalize coaching staffs and rosters. Coaches may connect with families and/or send a “strongly considered” email to help with summer planning.

Early June

Announce All-Star rosters

Early June

Practice, scrimmage

Late June- early July

Tournament play

8s Up & Comers
Over and above the formal District 3 tournaments, SFLL hosts a local Up & Comers tournament that gives 8s players an Intro to All-Stars experience. The three-game series pits SFLL NL against SFLL AL, takes place mostly on Treasure Island right after the playoffs, runs for about two weeks including practices and games, and wraps up by mid-June. Any 8s and some 7s will be considered based on nominations by their regular-season coaches and careful consideration by Up & Comers managers and coaches, who are elected by their peers. Interested parties should plan to attend all three games and at least 80% of the practices. 

Players wear All-Star jerseys (that have to be returned) and hats (that they can keep). The tournament features experienced umpires, tournament rules (which take some getting used to, especially for coaches), and a bit of pageantry including ceremonial coin flip, player introductions, and national anthem. In summary, we strive for a combination of exciting and edifying that seems to work.


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