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Valley Invitational Baseball League breaking away from American Legion

Posted: June 13, 2008 6:15 p.m.
Updated: August 14, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
The 2008 Valley Invitational Baseball League, or VIBL, began on Monday and teams from around the Foothill League compete in games played throughout the summer, with this year's championship game being held on July 31.

Thirty-two teams throughout the CIF-Southern Section are divided into four divisions - North, South, East, West.

West Ranch and Hart in the East Division, Saugus and Valencia in the North Division, and Canyon and Golden Valley in the West Division.

Each division plays seven innings and 21 games in a complete season.

Games are composed like regular season games with umpires and coaches.

The league, in its eighth season, was derived from the American Legion baseball league which was played during the summer.

According to West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill, the American Legion league no longer served its purpose with high school students and athletic programs.

Players and coaches became disgruntled with the limitations the Legion put on the teams including only allowing 18 players per squad.

The VIBL was spearheaded by baseball head coaches in Santa Clarita, who decided to put teams together that would allow athletes the opportunity to continue to compete in as many games as possible in the offseason.

"Its become a powerhouse for all the teams involved," Hart head coach Jim Ozella said. "Teams have done very well come spring time after competing in the league."

The league started out small, with only eight teams and grew to 32, including teams in the Mission and Marmonte Leagues.

Historically, both the Mission and Marmonte leagues occupy the most prominent competition.

Simi Valley, a team which competes in the VIBL and is apart of the Marmonte League, finished its season as the 2008-CIF Southern Section Division Champions.

VIBL allows the coaches to play a lot of players, get players into positions and athletes are given the opportunity to develop their game for the spring season.

The league also produces an All-Star Game and the team's selection is made by the coaches and takes place midseason.

Last year's All-Star Game was played at USC and this year the game will be played July 3, tentatively at UCLA.

VIBL, which is fully funded by parents of the athletes, pulls in college scouts and coaches who are looking for the league's best talent.

The league has also extended to the junior varsity level.

Varsity games are played on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday while junior varsity level games are played Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

"It's become a pretty large success story," Ozella said. "It ends the summer on a high note."

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