The Sonoma Little League Majors Division season is just past its halfway point, and it’s a tight race at the top between the perennial powerhouse the Bears and the upstart Tigers. As of May 12, the Bears (14-3) have a one-game lead over the second-place Tigers (13-4).

A change in the batting design regulations has created a huge downturn in runs scored and home runs. The new bats, which were introduced in January, are designed to produce “bats with a wood-like performance, which is important for the long-term success of the game.”

But the teams are still sending runners across the plate, and the Bears lead the league with an average 7.5 runs per game, behind the 12-year-old trio of Luke Giusto, Andrew Bonfigli, and Ben Sebastiani.

Rounding out the Bears’ attack are 11-year-olds Noah Giovannelli and Drew Sangiacomo.

In last place just two years ago, the Tigers are playing inspired ball behind the one-two pitching of Max Harrison and rookie Norm Shinn, allowing just 2.4 runs per game. Julian Brenek, Lee Scott, Anthony DeTorres and Hudson Giarrita round out the top of a tough Tigers lineup.

There is a tight race in the middle of the pack, with a three-way 8-9 tie with the Cardinals and Nicolas Scevola; the Blue Jays on the strength of their ace pitcher, Bear Melendez, and the Falcons. The Red Sox, whose roster features league home-run leader Nicolas Sebastiani, the Mustangs, and Angels are battling to get into playoff position. Double-elimination playoffs begin Saturday, June 2, at Hughes Field. Schedules, stats and standings can be found on sonomalittleleague.com.