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Posted by Ken Cicalo at Nov 20, 2011 4:00PM PST ( 0 Comments )

Why Play Clairemont Hilltoppers?

As part of the oldest and largest youth sports organization in history, Clairemont Hilltoppers Little League is proud to offer the finest experience possible for the youth of Clairemont.

For 75 years, the name "Little League" has been the most respected and recognized brand in all of youth sports. Now entering our 62nd year, Clairemont Hilltoppers represents that brand as both the longest-running youth organization in Clairemont, and also its only Little League program. Over 20,000 boys and girls have passed through the Hilltoppers program since 1957, and we take special pride in the number of second- and third-generation players in our league.

Clairemont Hilltoppers had well over 300 kids playing ball in our Spring 2017 season, and we continue to find new ways to bring fun, safety, competition and life lessons to every child who joins our program.

Here are just a few of the reasons for our growth and popularity:

• We offer divisions for kids of every age. Little League has teams for youth from 4- to 16-years-old. Any child who will be 4-years-old by August 31, 2018 is eligible to start in our T-Ball program. And, while many leagues end when players are 12-14-years-old, Clairemont Hilltoppers offers teenage divisions in the 13-14 & 15-16 age groups in 2018.

• Reasonable costs. With many families facing challenging economic times, we have long made a commitment to make playing Little League affordable for everyone who wishes to play. Our registration fee for 2018 is just $68, the lowest of any youth sports league in town. We also ask participation in our fundraiser, selling 50 candy bars or making a $60 buyout. Plus, if you sell 75 candy bars, your registration fee is just $48! If you sell the candy, the fundraiser has a net cost to you of nothing, and you really can place your child in a full season of 20+ Little League games (plus all the associated fun and activities) for a net cost of just $48!

• Developing neighborhood and community relationships. With so many families living such busy lives, and sending kids to schools and activities in other parts of town, it's sometimes difficult to even get to know your neighbors. At Clairemont Hilltoppers, though, it's all about Clairemont. All of our players live within the community. We only advertise in our community. Most of our sponsors are in the community. We plan fundraisers within our community. The bonds that develop as kids and parents make friends in their neighborhood often last for a lifetime.

• Safety, training and education priorities. Little League has always been the leader in safety, and Clairemont Hilltoppers believes in that model. All of our managers and coaches are taught to make the safety of our children the number one concern. From our leaguewide ASAP Safety Plan, to mandatory background checks for every league volunteer, to continuing training programs for our coaches and umpires, our league will never take shortcuts on keeping our players out of harm's way. Our coaches and umpires are given rules and skills training on a regular basis, and our annual Parent Orientation is designed to make all parents part of the solution, rather than the problem, for our program.

• The Little League World Series. Certainly no event in youth sports is more recognized around the world. Each year, ABC and ESPN televise over 70 games in the various Little League All-Star tournaments. Not only is this an exciting summer tradition, but it gives Little League exposure to kids in every part of the country and in dozens of countries around the world. In addition to the World Series for the 11-12-year-old division in Williamsport, championship games in all of the teenage and softball divisions are also televised. Excitement has been high in Southern California recently, as two recent United States Champions (Park View Little League and Eastlake Little League) have come from our area. Every year, Clairemont Hilltoppers places teams in the All-Star tournaments. You can't get to the Little League World Series unless you sign up for Little League! 

 • Great fun activities for our parents. We strive very hard to bring fun beyond just the practices and games... and some of it is for the adults. Every year we have a great fundraiser dinner & auction at a local restaurant , an adult coed softball tournament, a trip to a USD game, a poker tournament, Little League Day at a Padres game, and more. And, we're always looking for new ways to get together for some fun.

 We know that families have lots of choices when it comes to their kids' activities. If you choose to join us at Clairemont Hilltoppers Little League, please know that we will be doing everything we can to make that the best decision possible!


“Why Don’t They…”

Have you ever found yourself saying that at a Little League game or function? C’mon admit it. You wondered why THEY didn’t have enough umpires. Why THEY didn’t have the field ready. Why THEY didn’t have the snack bar open yet. It’s only natural to wonder why things aren’t being done right (or at all).
But did you know that Clairemont Hilltoppers doesn’t have one paid employee? This entire league runs on the hard work of dedicated people like you. From coaching, to maintaining the fields, to working the snack bar, to scorekeeping, to being a board member… all of this is done by volunteers!
This makes our league great, but it’s more fun if everyone does their share. On Closing Day, we elected six officers for the 2012 season: President Bill Salonius, Vice President Mike Van Cleave, Secretary Robin Bechtel, Treasurer Adrienne El-Taeb, Player Agent Melanie David and Senior Player Agent Bob Faudoa.
That means all of the other board positions are currently open for the 2012 season, including Safety Officer, Sponsor Coordinator, Information Officer, Umpire-in-Chief, Director of Facilities and Division Reps for each of our league's divisions. If you have interest in helping in any of these areas (or have ideas for new positions to improve CHLL), please contact any of our current board members and make your interest known. If you’ve ever had ideas about how we could make Clairemont Hilltoppers better, this is the way to have your voice heard.
If we all step up and do a little, we can do a lot for our kids.

On Thursday, June 2nd, a handful of our Clairemont Hilltoppers volunteers were recognized by San Diego City Councilwoman Lorie Zapf at a monthly meeting of the Clairemont Town Council. Presented Certificates of Appreciation were France Granfors, Kim Bautista, Mike Van Cleave, Bill Salonius, Troy Keltner and Ken Cicalo. As merely representatives of the innumerable fine volunteers in our program, the six were pleased to accept on behalf of our league and its great members.



The CHLL 2014 Umpire Clinic for new and returning umpires is set for Saturday, February 22 at 12 noon.

This is a session for returning umpires, new umpires and even just those looking to fill the two umpiring assignments required from each team.  We have umpiring assignments all season for all skill levels, and with 34 teams, plenty of games and times to fit around your schedule.  The only ‘rules’ we follow are: you may not umpire your own child’s game, and team representatives may not umpire within their own division level. 

Our Umpire-in-Chief Roger Otterson and our veteran umpires will gather around Minor division practice games to get ready for the 2014 season.  Instead of just reading the rule book, we’ll rotate everyone through umpiring the bases and behind the plate (if you desire) and help each attendee understand and feel comfortable with the role and mechanics of being a CHLL umpire. 

We’ll help you get used to being an umpire during real game situations in a fun, no-pressure environment.  If you are interested in attending the session, please be at the score booth before noon and wear comfortable clothes and shoes. We’ll get in plenty of instruction and have lots of time for questions and answers.  We’ll also provide cold drinks for all who attend. If you have any questions, please email Roger at or call him at (858) 224-2687.  


Is there a minimum age or baseball experience required?
We generally start umpires at 14 years of age and only require that you have a ‘good’ knowledge of the game of baseball.  We’ll teach you the rules you’ll need to know and we expect umpires to put in some time reading the rules and asking enough questions of the veteran umpires to do the job right. 

Are umpires paid?
Beginning umpires work two games as a volunteer and then for any game above the initial two, your entire team can receive $1 CHLL snack bar tickets for the whole team (players only), or you can contribute your time as a volunteer (we really appreciate our volunteers!), or we pay umpires according to the level of game they umpire; starting at $17 a game.  Remember this is also a great opportunity for those in school that need to complete their hours of community service for graduation! 

How much time do I need to allow to umpire?
Weekday games start at 5PM. You should plan on arriving 20 minutes before the game, allow for about a two-hour game and then allow for about 20 minutes after the game to finish up and to sign out. We also provide all umpires with a basic meal (hot dog and a soda/beverage) after each game. Weekend Games will start anywhere between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Most games have a two-hour time limit.

How often will I work?
If you are a regular umpire, we will try to schedule you for one or two games (or more) a week, per your availability. If you are a team umpire volunteer, we’ll work with you to get your two game requirement in around your schedule.  Remember, the team umpire representatives do NOT need to be a manager or coach of the team. Also, umpires 18 or older that have not completed a volunteer application – must complete and turn one in (no cost) before they can be on the field.  

This year, we’ll need to fill 40-50 umpire positions a week.  It’s an important job that allows our 400 players to play Little League baseball all spring. We really do appreciate your volunteering and getting out of the stands and on to the field to help Clairemont Hilltoppers Little League in 2014!


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Serra High School - January 28

Posted by Ken Cicalo at Jan 8, 2011 4:00PM PST ( 0 Comments )

Coaches Clinic
January 28

Hilltoppers managers, coaches and parents will once again be participating in Little League's greatest clinic this year.

On Sunday, January 28, any interested Hilltoppers parent or coach may attend the famous "Big Al" clinic at Serrra High School in Tierrasanta. There will be a morning clinic for those involved in the Ball, Rookie and Farm divisions at 8:30 a.m. (sign in starts at 8:00), and an afternoon clinic for those in Minors, Intermediate or Juniors starting at 12:45 p.m. (sign in starts at 12:30. In between clinics, will be a safety training for anyone interested .

Each clinic lasts 3-3-1/2 hours in the school gymnasium, and features instruction from Big Al, the most popular trainer in all of Little League. The clinics will cover all aspects of coaching, from how to design practices, different drills and working with kids at each age level. For any parent whose children are new (or relatively new) to Little League, this is the ideal way to learn about the kinds of things we want to teach our youngest players, along with great tips and ideas for keeping their games and practices fun and beneficial. See the Handout at the end of this article for a flyer with more details.

These clinics are FREE if you say you are with Clairemont Hilltoppers. Wear comfortable clothes, tennis shows and bring a glove if you have one. Guaranteed that your kid(s)' season will be better for you attending!