Frequently Asked Questions & Program Expectations
What is Burnsville Fastpitch Softball?
Burnsville Fastpitch is a traveling softball program that is a member of Minnesota Softball and part of the Big West league. Big West consists of community softball programs organized by the attendance areas of their affiliated school district. If your address puts your daughter in ISD 191 and she attends an ISD 191 school, she has to play for Burnsville Fastpitch (as opposed to other neighboring community fastpitch programs). If she is open enrolled in school, she can choose to play in the association that draws from her school’s district or in the association that draws from her address. Other Big West members include Bloomington, Prior Lake, Shakopee, Chaska, St. Louis Park, Eden Prairie, Hopkins, Minnetonka, New Prague, Belle Plain and Jordan. Fastpitch softball is a different style of play than slow pitch softball. As the name suggests, the pitch is thrown faster as a result of a windmill motion and fastpitch also incorporates bunting and leading off for stealing bases (to name just a few differences). Participation in fastpitch will help your daughter develop skills, strategy and an understanding of the rules that she will encounter if she decides to participate in high school softball or to play competitively in organized softball in the future. Starting early at the 8U and 10U levels gives your daughter the opportunity to develop these skills at a more introductory level to ease the transition into more competitive play in the future.
How far do I have to travel (and, seriously, a traveling team for 6-8 year old girls)?
Minnesota Softball sets the league game schedule for 8U teams. 8U is a “metro” league and consists of more communities than just Big West members. As a result, Minnesota Softball tries to keep games closer for 8U teams. Typical “away” league games include Lakeville, Farmington, Rosemount, Bloomington, and Shakopee. Keep in mind that younger players are encouraged to register! Don’t let parents or players be intimidated by the words “traveling” or “fastpitch.” The 8U program is an entry-level beginner softball program. A spring-loaded pitching machine is used so speeds and angles of the pitch are consistent for teaching batting skills. Girls will be encouraged to swing the bat, which leads to hits, which leads to increased confidence in all around play. Coaches are in the field and rules are slightly modified to encourage the development of these younger players.
The coaches for older age groups (10U, 12U, 14U) will participate in a Big West coaches meeting at the beginning of April. They will be grouped with other associations from the same geographic area and so efforts will be made to schedule “away” league games with other Big West teams to reduce travel, but this is a traveling sport so you will be traveling to other communities.
Home games for all age groups will be played at Savage Community Park.
How much does it cost?
The 2024 registration fees are:
8U - $100
10U - $325
12U & 14U - $375
Registration fees go towards the annual costs for Burnsville Fastpitch, but they do not come close to covering all of the program’s expenses. Instead of drastically increasing registration costs, Burnsville Fastpitch looks to earn revenue to cover these costs by hosting its annual Fireball tournament and by requiring players to participate in fundraising. What could possibly be so expensive? And why is there such a difference between 8U and 10U? There is an annual registration fee for the Big West League. It is currently over $600 per 10U/12U/14U team. It is $150 for an 8U team. Each invitational tournament includes an average registration fee of $400 per 10U/12U/14U and $150 for 8U. There are hundreds of dollars in gate fees for the State Qualifier and State Tournament. There are umpires (that increase in expense each year because of the shortage) that must be paid for at each league game for 10U/12U/14U and the Fireball tournament. Burnsville Fastpitch pays for field use for games and its tournament. It pays for field use for practice and gym/Dome time for free off-season training. It provides jerseys for all players and pays for insurance. Burnsville Fastpitch also provides team equipment (balls, nets, tees, field chalk, rakes, catching equipment) and an end-of-season celebration for all players. This is not an exhaustive list but it does demonstrate why it is important for Burnsville Fastpitch to pursue a number of ways to raise revenue for the costs of this program–including through its hosted tournament, fundraising and sponsorship efforts.
What are the volunteer requirements for families?
Again, Burnsville Fastpitch is a program that has historically raised money through hosting its Fireball Tournament, fundraising and sponsorship efforts. This is a community program; it cannot accomplish these goals or survive without volunteers. As a result, each family in Burnsville Fastpitch must do at least 8 hours of volunteer time over the season. At least 4 of these 8 hours must be completed at the Fireball Tournament (May 10-12, 2024). You can choose to meet all 8 hours at the Fireball tournament or there are many opportunities to earn your 4 hours of non-Fireball volunteer time throughout the season (Individual Player Evaluations, sponsorship coordination, end of year picnic, fundraising distribution, etc.). Burnsville Fastpitch cannot function without volunteers. We don’t want your money – we want your time! But to ensure that all families are motivated to complete their hours, a $150 volunteer deposit will be collected at the beginning of the season. If all 8 hours are completed, the check for the volunteer deposit will not be cashed. Instead it will be security destroyed. If less than 8 hours are completed, the volunteer deposit check will be cashed. This makes volunteering sound like punishment. It’s not. You will have many opportunities to volunteer while you are already at an event or at a game to watch your daughter play. You will meet other families in the program and much of this time becomes an opportunity to socialize and be part of this community while also helping provide a wonderful experience for your daughter.
Why is participation in fundraising also required?
Burnsville Fastpitch has also historically required that each player participate in an annual fundraising effort by selling Heggie’s Pizzas and/or Butterbraids. There is a minimum sell requirement or a buyout option of $150. Many families wonder why the program requires volunteer hours to help the program host a tournament to raise money but also requires fundraising participation. The reality is that hosting a tournament is never guaranteed. Over the last few years, there have been two occasions where the Fireball tournament was cancelled. Once as the result of inclement weather for the tournament weekend and once because of COVID restrictions. These types of cancellations and restrictions mean that the program loses money. Fundraising is required to mitigate those losses so participation costs can stay the same.
What equipment is required that I need to provide for my daughter?
How are age levels determined?
Age levels through Minnesota Softball for the 2024 season are determined by a players age as of August 31, 2023.
Players may play up at a higher age level under some circumstances, but players can never play down. If a player plays up a level, the payer will have to pay the registration fee that is applicable to the age group it is playing in for the season.
Born on or after September 1, 2014 - 8U
Born between September 1, 2012 and August 31, 2014 - 10U
Born between September 1, 2010 and August 31, 2012 - 12U
Born between September 1, 2008 and August 31, 2010 - 14U
How often does my daughter play?
8U teams typically practice one night during the week and play one league game per week on Wednesday starting at 6:15PM (during the last two weeks of the season, these will be double-headers instead of single games). 8U teams participate in one day of the Fireball Tournament (May 11 or May 12), another invitational tournament (likely in June) and the State Tournament (June 29-30).
10U teams typically practice two nights per week until league games start and then depending on their game and tournament schedule, one night per week. League games are typically played on Tuesdays and are doubleheaders with the first game starting at 6:15PM. Toward the end of the season, doubleheaders may also be scheduled on Thursdays. 10U teams participate in the Fireball Tournament (May 10-May 12), an invitational tournament, a State Qualifier tournament (June 22-23) and (if they qualify) the State Tournament (June 29-30).
12U teams typically practice two nights per week until league games start and then depending on their game and tournament schedule, one night per week. League games are typically played on Mondays and Wednesdays and are doubleheaders with the first game starting at 6:15PM. 12U teams participate in the Fireball Tournament (May 10-12), at least two invitational tournaments, a State Qualifier tournament (June 22-23) and (if they qualify) the State Tournament (June 29-30).
14U teams typically practice one-two nights per week until league games start depending on the number of girls participating on high school teams and then depending on their game and tournament schedule, one night per week. Because many girls at the 14U level play high school level softball, the 14U season starts later in May (May 21 games start). League games are typically played on Tuesdays and Thursdays and are doubleheaders with the first game starting at 6:15PM. 14U teams participate in the Fireball Tournament (schedule TBD), two invitational tournaments, a State Qualifier tournament and (if they qualify) the State Tournament (both in July).
When does the spring/summer season start and end?
Individual Player Evaluations will be held on March 9 and teams will be formed the following week. Practices will start at the beginning of April depending on weather conditions. League games will start the week of April 29, 2024. The State Tournament for 8U, 10U and 12U will be held the weekend of June 29-30.
What if I have questions?
Questions, comments, interest, feedback, and ideas are all welcome. Please email email@example.com and a board member will be in touch with the information you need.