Dec. 17, 2002 – Where youngsters live will determine which St. Thomas/St. John Little League division they will play in, starting with the season that begins in January.
Those who live on the western part of St. Thomas will play in the Elrod Hendricks West League, and those living on the eastern part will play in the Alvin McBean East League.
Until now, Little League official Kirk Thomas said, the youngsters have played wherever it suited them or their parents.
Thomas said the change has been instituted to comply with a directive came from the national Little League Baseball headquarters in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He said the national organization ordered the boundary line drawn to keep the local Little League activities in line with those elsewhere across the country.
Until now, the choice of where to play has often been "for convenience," Thomas said. For example, he said, parents who live in "the country" may have had their children play in the West league because the parents work in downtown Charlotte Amalie. Now, he said, those children will have play in the East league.
More than 400 children play Little League baseball on St. Thomas. Thomas said he does not know how many will be affected by the new rule, but numerous families will have to make changes and some children will have to change teams.
"That's the way it is," he said.
The dividing line is based on Census 2000 population figures and runs from Mandela Circle north to Mandahl, Thomas said. If you live in Paul M. Pearson Gardens or near Lockhart Elementary School, you're in the West league. However, if you live across the road in Estate Thomas behind the Pueblo store or off Raphune Hill, you're in the East league.
St. John has its own youth baseball program, but if any youngsters on the island want to play in St. Thomas/St. John Little League, they will be in the East division.
Thomas said Little League officials will shortly be at malls and other gathering places to enroll children for the upcoming season and to explain the boundary guidelines.
He said each division has 10 teams of children in the 9-12 age bracket, two teams in the 13-14 bracket and two teams in the 14-16 bracket.
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