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Divisions Summary

South Bay PONY Baseball Divisions (for Fall 2022 & Spring 2023)

Players are placed into the appropriate Division based upon their age on August 31 following the end of the Spring Season.  This rule is in accordance with PONY National guidelines and is intended to be synchronized with the school year calendar.  PONY Divisions are intentionally designed as narrow one to two year windows to allow youth to complete and develop with other children their own age. 

 Divisions

Ages

Born After

Born Before

Pitching Style

Games
per Week

Practices
per Week

Playoffs

All Stars

Shetland American

4-5

Sep 1, 2017

May 1, 2019*

Tee-Ball &
Coach Pitch

1

1

No

No

Shetland National

5-6

Sep 1, 2016

Aug 31, 2018

Blue Flame Machine

1

1

No

Yes

Pinto American

7

Sep 1, 2015

Aug 31, 2016

Jugs Machine

1-2

1

Yes

Yes

Pinto National

8

Sep 1, 2014

Aug 31, 2015

Kid Pitch 40’

1-2

1

Yes

Yes

Mustang

9-10

Sep 1, 2012

Aug 31, 2014

Kid Pitch 46’

1-2

1

Yes

Yes

Bronco

11-12

Sep 1, 2010

Aug 31, 2012

Kid Pitch 50’

1-2

1

Yes

Yes

Pony 13

13

Sep 1, 2009

Aug 31, 2010

Kid Pitch 54’

1-2

1

Yes

Yes

Pony 14

14

Sep 1, 2008

Aug 31, 2009

Kid Pitch 60’6”

1-2

1

Yes

Yes

 

 


* The Shetland American Division is open to very young players.  We will technically allow players born as late as May 1, 2018 to participate. For this young age, please contact us prior to registering so we can discuss if your child is ready.

Some kids, who are 3 turning 4, are really into baseball, physically able to play the sport, ready to listen to a coach, and emotionally ready for 75 minute games.  We're happy to welcome them into the sport. Most kids in that age range are just not ready yet, and that's OK too! There is plenty of time for them to start next season. They will not be behind. If you're unsure if your child is ready, it's best to wait until next season.

The Shetland American division is great fun, but the kids need to be ready to play and the parents need to be involved.  This is a Team Sport, it is not daycare or some drop-off activity.  It typically takes 4-6 coaches/parents to effectively run a Shetland American practice or game.  We'll show you how to do it.  You don't need experience.  But we need the kids to be ready and the parents to be involved. 

PONY Baseball is not a drop-off activity camp.  A parent or guardian must be present at every Shetland practice and game. 

If you have any questions about your child playing please contact us at [email protected]

More details about each Division are listed below.

There is also additional information about the Spring Season on the Spring Season Summary Page.

Divisions

SHETLAND AMERICAN (4-5 YEARS OLD)

SHETLAND AMERICAN is an instructional level to teach four and five-year-old players the fundamentals of baseball by the simplest method possible - letting them play the game.  It is intended for all four-year-olds and five-year-olds who have not played previously.

Emphasis is on instruction and fun, not competition.  Shetland Coaches are allowed on the field to offer instruction during the game (2 defensive coaches).  Every player will be given the opportunity to try different positions and every player plays the entire game in the field.  On offense, every player gets an at bat every inning and there are no outs. 

Players can either hit from a Tee or Coach Pitch, depending on their comfort level.  The goal is to advance everyone to Coach Pitch by the end of the season.  We use a 50-foot diamond and do not keep score.  We focus on the excitement of the game and fundamentals of teamwork and sportsmanship.

The Shetland American division is great fun, but the kids need to be ready to play and the parents need to be involved.  This is a Team Sport, and not a drop-off activity or daycare.  It typically takes 4-6 coaches/parents to effectively run a Shetland American practice or game.  And parents should be practicing baseball skills at home. 

Shetland American Players are allowed to request Coaches and Teammates.  We cannot guarantee requests, but we will do our best to honor as many requests as possible.  Encourage your friends to come play with you and see how much fun baseball can be!

SHETLAND NATIONAL (5-6 YEARS OLD)

SHETLAND NATIONAL is an instructional level to teach five and six-year-old players the fundamentals of baseball by the simplest method possible - letting them play the game. It is intended for all six-year-olds and for five-year-olds who have previously played baseball..

Emphasis is on instruction and fun, not competition. Every player is given the opportunity to try different positions and every player plays the entire game. Every player is in the batting order, but Shetland National limits innings to 3 outs (or 5 runs). Coaches use the Blue Flame Pitching Machine during games.  The field is a 50-foot diamond.

For the five-year-olds who are considering playing Shetland National, it is important to point out that there is no hitting off a tee at this level.  The season starts with Blue Flame and Coach Pitch, and by the end of the season we only use the Blue Flame pitching machine.  If young players are not ready for the Blue Flame, they will strike out.  Kids learn quickly, but both parents and players should be ready for the rapid progression.

If a five-year-old is still learning the basics, he or she should be in Shetland American, even if friends are playing in Shetland National.  

Shetland National Players are allowed to request Coaches and Teammates. We cannot guarantee requests, but we will do our best to honor as many requests as possible. Encourage your friends to come play with you and see how much fun baseball can be!

PINTO AMERICAN (7 YEARS OLD)

PINTO AMERICAN is an instructional level to teach seven-year-old players the fundamentals of baseball.  Emphasis is on instruction and fun, but the teams are becoming more competitive.  Every player will be given the opportunity to try different positions and every player is in the batting order.  Innings are limited to 3 outs (or 5 runs).  This level uses the jugs pitching machine and a 60-foot diamond.  This is the first level where we keep score.  We also have an end of season tournament, where teams compete to win.

Starting at Pinto American, we require all players to participate in the pre-season player evaluations.  We want all of the kids to have fun and develop as players.  While we recognize that kids this age want to play with their friends and have fun, however it is not fun to have stacked teams and numerous blowouts.  At the end of the season, it is a lot more fun, and better for everyone's development, to have a division with balanced teams and competitive games.  And we know that your kids will make some incredible new friends on the diamond this season.

PINTO NATIONAL (8 YEARS OLD)

PINTO NATIONAL is a competitive instructional level teaching eight-year-old players the fundamentals of baseball.

Emphasis is on instruction and fun, however we continue to increase the competition.  Every player plays every game and cannot sit out more than 2 consecutive defensive innings.  Every player is in the batting order.  However players are expected to possess basic baseball skills.  Players are expected to practice at home, in addition to league activities.  We welcome children who are new to baseball, but they should expect to work extra hard to catch up with those children who have been playing for over 4 years.

Kids begin pitching at this level on a 60-foot diamond, with a 40-foot pitching distance.  Innings are limited to 3 outs or 5 runs (except the last inning).

We require all Pinto National players to participate in pre-season player evaluations.  We want all of the kids to have fun and develop as players.  While we recognize that kids this age want to play with their friends and have fun, it is not fun to have stacked teams and numerous blowouts.  At the end of the season, it is a lot more fun, and better for everyone's development, to have a division with balanced teams and competitive games.  And we know that your kids will make some incredible new friends on the diamond this season.

MUSTANG (9-10 YEARS OLD)

MUSTANG is an competitive development level, teaching nine and ten-year-old players all aspects of competitive baseball.  Beginning with Mustang League, the players are playing real baseball in accordance with the rules of Major League Baseball, with a few specific PONY rules where appropriate for this age group.  Kids are taught to lead, steal, pick-off, back pick, and other competitive level skills.  This is a kid pitch division with a 60-foot diamond (46 feet to pitchers mound).

By the time kids reach Mustang, most of them have been playing competitive baseball for several years.  We expect that they can safely and comfortably catch & throw catch from distance, and hit a pitched ball.  A child who is new to the sport should expect to work very hard to catch up, to be able to contribute to the team. 

All Mustang Players are required to complete a pre-season Player Evaluation to help us place kids on teams.  Our goal is to create balanced teams that will have competitive games.  We find that it is a lot more fun for everyone, and much better for each player's development, if we create balanced teams.

BRONCO (11-12 YEARS OLD)

BRONCO is an competitive level, teaching eleven and twelve-year-old players all aspects of competitive baseball.  We strive to make Bronco baseball "travel ball" quality at "rec ball" prices.  The players are playing real baseball in accordance with the rules of Major League Baseball, with very few PONY rules, where appropriate for this age group.  This is a kid pitch division with a 70-foot diamond (50 feet to pitchers mound).

Most Bronco players have been playing competitive baseball for many years.  We expect that they can safely and comfortably catch & throw catch with velocity and accuracy.  A child who is new to the sport should expect to work very hard to catch up, to be able to contribute to the team.

All Bronco Players are required to complete a pre-season Player Evaluation to help us place kids on teams.  Our goal is to create balanced teams that will have competitive games.  We find that it is a lot more fun for everyone, and much better for each player's development, if we create balanced teams.

PONY (13-14 YEARS OLD)

Pony is considered a High School Prep Division with thirteen and fourteen year old players competing with 80’ bases and pitchers throwing from 54'.

Pony Division is the penultimate step in the PONY program progression from TBall size fields to full size 90' diamonds.

Pony players play one of the most fascinating games in all of youth baseball. Well beyond the beginners stage, they have mastered all but the finest points of technique and strategy and can play the game with a skill comparable to that of older players.  There is an expectation that Pony division players have been playing competitive baseball for many years.  Given the size of the players and the speed of the game, is not safe for brand new players to jump in Pony division baseball.

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Contact

South Bay PONY Baseball
P.O. Box 216 
Manhattan Beach, California 90266

Email: [email protected]

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