For the vast majority of West Seattle Baseball players, finding the correct level of play is a simple and straightforward matter. A player’s “league age” is determined based on what their age will be on April 30 of the current year. For example, if your player will be ten on that date (whether that is their tenth birthday or they turn eleven the next day), they are considered a “10U” player, making them eligible by age for play in 10U divisions and older. For the last several seasons, league age for PONY Baseball leagues was calculated based on age on August 31, so if your player’s birthday is between May 1 and August 31, their West Seattle Baseball age has lowered as of this season.
PONY Baseball divides divisions predominantly by age, rather than by ability. Following the PONY Baseball rules, West Seattle Baseball offers play in the following divisions:
- Shetland (tee-ball): 6U and younger
- Pinto (coach-pitch): 8U & 7U
- Mustang: 10U & 9U
- Bronco: 12U & 11U
- Pony: 14U & 13U
Sometimes, parents believe their player is better suited for play in a division other than the one for which they are eligible. This can be accommodated in many cases, though there are different rules and processes in place for the granting of such requests.
Is is a long-standing policy of West Seattle Baseball that no player be allowed to play at a division below their league age without approval of the board of directors, which would require special circumstances to be considered. As a recreational league, it is expected that all divisions should have a diverse range of experience and ability.
Playing Pinto at Shetland Age
Because of the larger age range allowed in the Shetland Division, it is not uncommon for a Shetland player to have three seasons of tee-ball under their belt and yet be eligible for a fourth. While three seasons does not necessarily mean that player is ready for Pinto, in many cases both the player and parents will at least want to consider a new challenge. In such cases, the parents should contact the commissioners of both the Shetland and Pinto divisions to enquire about a switch between the leagues. This process will often be as simple as the commissioners confirming the player’s experience and/or ability level being appropriate for the move, despite the league age.
“Playing up” into Mustang or Bronco Divisions
The process for playing up into our Mustang and Bronco divisions is as follows:
- Parents should contact the division commissioners of their player’s league-age division and of the division in which they would like their player to play.
- The player must then attend the higher division’s player evaluations to have their ability assessed among the other players of that division.’
- Once the division coaches have completed their evaluations of all eligible players, as well as those wishing to play up, all players are ranked by final evaluation scores. In order for the younger players to be allowed to play up, they must have been ranked high enough to be ranked in the top five rounds of all players. That is, if there are eight teams in the division, then the player in question would need to have been ranked in the top 40 of all evaluated players.
- A player who does not meet this criteria as not eligible to play up for the season and must play in their league age-appointed division. There is no appeals process for playing up requests.