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About PONY Baseball

What Is PONY Baseball?

PONY Baseball is a youth recreation baseball league founded in 1951 in Washington, PA.  Originally it was a transition league for 13-year-old and 14-year-old players designed to take graduates of Little League baseball from that diamond to the regulation size diamond in High School and beyond. PONY Baseball grew quickly from only 6 teams the first summer to over 500 teams by the second season in 1952.

Today over 500,000 children play PONY Baseball on 28,000 team in 4,000 leagues across the country every year.  PONY includes both Baseball and Softball leagues and welcomes children from 4 years old up to adulthood.  Locally, at South Bay PONY Baseball we have divisions for children from 4 to 12 years old.  We have been playing PONY Baseball in South Bay at Mira Costa High School since 1983!  

PONY stands for Protect Our Nation's Youth.  Boys from the local YMCA in Washington suggested the slogan "Protect Our Neighborhood Youth" for the new league in 1951.  That quickly evolved into Protect Our Nation's Youth as the league grew nationwide the following year.  PONY Baseball lives that motto by providing experiences in youth baseball and girls softball that will help young people grow into healthier and happier adults.

Scroll down to learn why we believe the PONY approach is the best approach to perfect your baseball skills, and see some of the Key Differences between PONY & Little League.

You can also learn more about PONY Baseball at

Why Choose PONY Baseball?

At South Bay PONY Baseball, we believe there are a number of reasons to choose PONY, but it really boils down to 4 key factors.

  1. We focus on Player Development more than other baseball leagues.
  2. We adopt real MLB Rules faster than other baseball leagues, which the kids tell us makes PONY more fun!!
  3. We are more inclusive than other youth recreational sports leagues, so everyone is welcome!
  4. Robust All Stars Program for passionate players who want more challenge.

We have a heavy emphasis on Player Development...
Trust the Process!  This starts with smaller age bands for each Division and more field sizes for age-appropriate play.  We empower our coaches to personalize the play for each child to meet their developmental needs.  We offer better training for our coaches, so our coaches know age-appropriate methods for teaching their division.  And we offer training opportunities for our players with some of the best professional baseball coaches in South Bay, included with the cost of registration.


We offer quicker adoption of Real MLB Rules... so South Bay PONY kids Play like the PROS!  Kids have shown us they are capable of playing by the real rules and they tell us its more fun! PONY's Age-Appropriate Diamonds allow our Kids to start playing baseball and hitting pitches at a younger age.  It allows us to lead off and steal bases sooner.  And it allows us to let the kids pitch sooner.  Every kid in our league wants to throw heat like Kershaw, run the bases like Mookie Betts, or mash homers like Trout!  We put them in a situation where they can do it!


PONY is More Inclusive than other rec leagues...Everyone plays!  Boys and Girls ages 4-12 from all over South Bay are welcome to join South Bay PONY Baseball.  Invite all your friends from school.  You don't have to ask their zip code or separate kids by gender like a middle school dance.  We are open registration.  We don't cut anyone.  And we guarantee playing time (until you get to the highest levels).  Not to mention, on a per hour basis, our prices are lower than almost any other youth recreational sport in town.

The Primary Spring Season is always our top priority.  The individual development of each player in our league is our goal.  For many players that development is mastering the basics and for others it is becoming proficient enough to enjoy the game.  But for some players, that individualized development includes pushing them further through our robust All Stars Program.  Starting at Shetland National (6U), South Bay PONY offers an extensive post-season All Stars Program where the top 10% of our league can try out for and compete in a series of elite tournaments.  This includes weekend tournaments such as the Redondo Sunset Fathers Day Tournament, Irvine Memorial Day Tournament, and the multi-stage National PONY All Stars Tournament which concludes with the PONY World Series.  It also includes extensive practices where the players learn and push one another to incredible heights.

Really, the question is...  

How Is PONY Baseball Different From Little League Baseball?

We certainly feel that all of the items described above in Why Choose PONY Baseball separate us from any Little League or other baseball program in town.  But to be more literal, the primary features that distinguish PONY Baseball from Little League Baseball are:

  1. The use of a Two-year Age Bracket system
  2. Age-Appropriate Scaled Diamonds
  3. We start younger and use MLB Rules sooner
  4. More Robust All Stars Program

PONY Baseball, the national organization to which South Bay PONY League belongs, has designed a system with 1-2 year age brackets.  This system allows players of similar ages, maturity, and physical development to play together.  The game of baseball cannot be played if the physical capability of the players does not match the physical achievements required for the game.  In other organizations, such as Little League, players can differ by as much as three years within a division.  Among other things, this can limit playing time for players in the first year of their division.

PONY Baseball plays on fields where the size of the diamonds are scaled to match the physical capabilities of the players in each division.  Children start on a 50-foot diamond and then progress every few years to larger diamonds, until they finally reach a full-size diamond.  This allows children to play on age-appropriate fields throughout their development and play by real major league rules at a much earlier age.  Obviously the children enjoy stealing bases and picking off runners, just like their Major League heroes.  Little League Baseball primarily uses two diamond sizes. Up until age 12, players play on a 60-foot diamond, and then they jump to full size 90-foot diamond.  This causes a variety of challenges throughout player development, including over-sized fields for young divisions, under-sized fields for some older divisions, and a huge jump in field dimensions when players age up at 13.

As described in the Why Choose PONY Baseball section above, we start baseball at a younger age and adopt real MLB rules at a younger age.  It's more FUN!!  Our Kids are hitting pitches at a younger age.  They lead off and steal bases sooner.  And they can pitch sooner.  Sometimes these feels daunting, but we've been watching them do it for over 35 years.  The kids impress and amaze us every time with what they are capable of doing.  It's not about pushing them, it's about allowing the kids to do it.  They all have the ability.

PONY Baseball begins the All Stars program at a much younger age than Little League.  There is a percentage of players, starting as young as 5 years old, who are super passionate about baseball.  They love to play and benefit greatly from the opportunity to play on a select All Star team with players who share their passion.  These select players push one another to new heights throughout a 1-2 month All Star season, which includes extensive practice sessions, and typically 10-20 games (possibly more if the team advances in the Nationwide PONY All Stars Tournament).  Little League All Stars is a classic, historic part of Americana.  We all love watching the incredible kids compete in Williamsport.  But the teams only play in one double elimination tournament, which means their season could be over in as little as 2 games.  And teams do not start competing until the 10U level.  Some kids are not ready for All Stars until 10U, but some kids are ready younger, and PONY gives you that opportunity.

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South Bay PONY Baseball
Manhattan Beach, California 90266

Email: [email protected]

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