In May and June each year, many players, parents and coaches hear talk of play continuing into the post-season. There is, indeed, plenty of baseball left for players and coaches after our Little League season ends.
Some teams will continue to the Little League District 4 TOC, many players will be selected to play on one of several NOLL or SOLL AllStar teams, and others may play on traveling teams organized independently of NOLL/SOLL.
NOLL/SOLL Playoffs: Each divsion (AA, AAA, Majors, Juniors, Seniors) sets up a single or double elimination tournament based on seedings from the regular season to determine the NOLL and SOLL champs.
The TOC: The winner of each division's local playoffs (AA, AAA, Majors, Juniors) is entered in the District 4 Tournament of Champions (the TOC). The TOC is a district level tournament of regular season teams from the 17 District-4 leagues in the area. This is a single elimination tournament lasting 5 games at most, and the winner does not advance to further play.
AllStars: NOLL/SOLL enters several teams (AA, AAA, Majors, Juniors, Seniors, Big League) into the Little League International Tournament. This is the tournament which culminates for 12-year-olds in the Little League World Series in Williamsport. Each age group has a similar destination, but it's a long road, with teams potentially competing at the following 5 levels:CA District 4 (17 leagues from the east bay)
CA Section 1 (5 districts from the north bay area)
CA Division II (4-6 sections from northern california)
West Region (4-8 divisions (states) NorCal, SoCal, AZ, ID, HI, WA, NV, OR)
International World Series (9-16 US + Int'l Regions)
At each level, teams play double-elimination (or in rare cases, round robin) until one team advances to the next tournament. Teams can play for just 2 games, or they can play until the end of August. If they advance far enough, AllStar teams may end up with significant travel.
Selection: Coaches and Players are selected by coach consensus at the division level (e.g. all the Majors coaches get together and nominate, discuss and select the Majors AllStars). The Majors and Juniors divisions hold a player ballot to determine the top several AllStar spots. AllStar rosters include 12 to 14 players, and may replace players who are lost to injury or summer plans. By rule, AllStar players cannot be notified before June 15th. Each AllStar coach will set his own practice schedule, but most teams practice significantly more than a regular season team, usually 3-5 practices per week leading up to the district tournament.
Documentation: For AllStar play, Little League requires proof of residency (several documents such as phone bills, driver's license, etc) and proof of age in the form of an original birth certificate. Instructions to request birth certificates from various agencies here.
A recent history of NOLL/SOLL TOC and AllStars
Traveling teams: Traveling (or Select) teams are not affiliated with NOLL/SOLL, but many NOLL/SOLL players and coaches extend their baseball seasons with these independent teams.
Anyone can form a traveling team, and many tournaments are advertised on the internet. Those forming traveling teams pick the players they want to play on the team and should always talk to players’ parents before contacting players. Managers of such teams must make very clear that their teams are independent of NOLL/SOLL and are unrelated to any of the formal NOLL/SOLL regular season or AllStar teams.