- Pony American
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Pony American Baseball Ages 14 and 13
2015 Regular Season & Shootout Champ Angels
Back row: Coach Kyle Welker, Griffin McKinnis, Chris Reimann, Hayden Moore, Matthew Amerson, Andrew Frinks, Amir Hadid, Shaefer Jackson, Jack Tracy, Coach Ryan Sullivan, Coach Austin Appleton Front row: Davis Bell, George Mori, Billy Huger
Welcome to the NYO Pony league
LEAGUE OVERVIEW Two leagues split with each league ranging from 6 to 8 teams each composed of 13 and 14 year-olds. The National Division will be a very competitive experience geared towards the bulk of the 13's making the transition to the big field and some 14's looking to maximize playing time and enjoy their last NYO baseball experience. The American Division will be a highly competitive experience made up primarily of older players who have played on the bigger field before (a majority of the 14 year olds and a limited number of 13 year olds ready to play with the more experienced players). We expect that we will have non-parent coaches heading up all teams in both divisions. Both divisions will play on the Garr Field which has standard Pony League dimensions and rules intended to transition from youth to high school play (we also will likely play some games at the large field at Buckhead Baseball and the Pace Field off of Moores Mill Road).
FIELD SIZES BY COMPARISON:
12 and under-- Bronco: 70’ bases/48’ pitching mound/225-240’ fences
NYO Majors: 65’ bases/46’ pitching mound/200’ fences
Little League: 60’ bases/46’ pitching mound/200’ fences
Pony: 80’ bases/54’ pitching mound/265-300’ fences
High School: 90’ bases/60.5’ pitching mound/300-400’ fences
IMPORTANT DIFFERENCES BETWEEN AMERICAN AND NATIONAL:
Pony and high school rules (very close to Major League Baseball); metal cleats and big barrel bats allowed; 7 inning games. As you can appreciate, the Pony League represents a huge step up from all of the 12-and-under leagues feeding our program. Adding to the difficulty of the transition is the fact that ages 13 and 14 produce enormous changes in the growth and maturation of the players. These factors—field size, rules changes, and wild variance in growth and maturity—have presented an overwhelming challenge to most rising 13s and many 14s, especially when having to play against some of the bigger 14U kids who have over a year of experience on the bigger field.
The size of the league now permits a split of the league into 2 divisions to account for these factors. The primary difference in the divisions will be based on factors such as age, maturity, and skill level, and not the field or style of play. The divisions will utilize the same rules, uniforms and schedules (all teams typically play 16 games with a pool play playoff format), with a few important differences. The American league teams bat 10 in their lineup, so some players will have more limited opportunities for at bats. The National league teams bat all players present at the start of the game. This format provides much better playing opportunity for all league players and is much more logical given the inevitable differences among the players this age.
The league anticipates that a vast majority of players will play National the first year of Pony and American the second. Due to the number of 14 year old players we are expecting in the league this year, we expect few 13's to make the American League and a considerable number of 14's to play in the National League.
Many of our 14 year olds and some of our 13 year olds also play school ball. We are very aware of that situation and try to work our schedules around the school teams as much as possible. However, conflicts are inevitable. Our coaches work through these conflicts as best they can; however, once the school teams wrap up in mid to late April and teams are at full strength, a good part of the season and the very competitive playoffs lie ahead.
SUMMER 'TRAVEL' TEAMS:
The league fields summer tournament, or “travel,” teams for both age groups. Plans call for one or two 14 year old team depending on demand (as many of the 14s will be rising freshmen playing on school summer teams and unable to compete on a league team) and likely two 13 year old teams, again depending on demand. Interested players from both divisions will be considered and chosen based on performance in the spring. One 13 year old team comes out of the American League and one 13 year old team from of the National League. All played approximately 20-25 games from Memorial Day weekend through late June.
The summer teams will start practicing almost immediately after the finish of the season and will focus primarily on weekend tournaments both in the metro area and surrounding states. We expect each team to again play approximately 20-25 games so a full commitment will be expected from all players. The summer season will likely again wrap up in late June to early July, depending on the team.
In March-April the league will send a specific questionnaire regarding your ability to commit to summer play. We are aware that a small number of rising 13’s will consider playing on a non-NYO travel team exclusively and not participate in our spring or summer programs. We would strongly encourage everyone to take advantage of the full benefits of the NYO Pony program including summer ball. Teams are selected based on merit and coached by non-parent community coaches. In fine tuning the Pony program over the years, we have come to realize that nearly all of our parents have a strong desire to have their kids continue to play ball at the park during the spring with their classmates and friends (especially with so many new 13’s joining us from other local parks) without having to deal with travel baseball, school and other spring activities, but then have an opportunity to play at a higher level during the summer. The shape of our current program reflects those desires as the rigors of school do not conflict with the heavy concentration of travel baseball tournaments.
Our teams compete strongly from the highest to mid-range levels of travel ball in the state with our goal being to challenge the kids. We do well and are continually recognized by other travel teams for our skill level and enthusiasm (more than likely because our kids have not been burnt out playing travel ball all spring). We wrap up in plenty of time so the kids can enjoy the rest of their summers.
Finally, while we know many of you have enjoyed the summer experience in the past with the same kids and families, both the kids and their families seem to thoroughly enjoy the experience of playing on our summer teams with new teammates and new opportunities.
Will I have input in determining in which division my child will play?
We recognize that playing and pitching opportunities may be severely limited for some players if chosen to play in the American Division. NYO will honor any player/parent request to play in the National Division (whether the player is league-age 13 or 14). However, selection to the American Division will be based solely on an evaluation by league officials and coaches.