Maple Valley PONY Baseball & Fastpitch

Baseball Fastpitch



Q:  What is Maple Valley PONY Baseball?

A: MVPBA has been providing a baseball program for the youth of southeast King County (Maple Valley, Hobart, Black Diamond, Covington, east Kent and east Auburn) since 1971. We are part of the national PONY organization. PONY is taken from the first letter of each word in the slogan "Protect Our Nation's Youth".

Q:  How is PONY baseball different than Little League baseball?

A.  The primary features that distinguish PONY baseball from Little League baseball are the use of a two-year age bracket system and scaled diamonds. In organizations such as Little League, players can differ by as much as three years within a division. As a result, the younger players, because of their lack of maturity, ability, and size find it hard to communicate with the older players. Generally they find themselves spending a disproportionate amount of time on the bench and may feel disconnected from their team. With players of only two ages involved, as is the case with PONY baseball, it is far easier to permit every player to play more positions since the difference in skills within the age group is not that great. The game of baseball cannot be played as it was intended if the physical capability of the players does not match the physical achievements required for the game. Little League uses two diamond sizes. Up until age 12, players play on a 60-foot diamond. PONY baseball, on the other hand, scales the size of the diamonds to match the physical capabilities of the players within each division. The base dimensions for PONY baseball are:
• 50-foot bases for Shetland (ages 4-6)
• 50-foot bases for Pinto (ages 7-8)
• 60-foot bases for Mustang (ages 9-10)
• 70-foot bases for Bronco (ages 11-12)
• 80-foot bases for Pony (ages 13-14)
• 90-foot bases for Colt (ages 15-16)
• 90-foot bases for Palomino (ages 17- 18)
These base dimensions are the result of extensive experimentation to determine the size on which players of each age group can properly play the game of baseball. Pitching distance is also scaled to the ability of the player in proportion to the size of the diamond. The scaled down diamonds allow the players to make the plays made by the major leaguers. Home runs become a possibility. Outfielders can play in a position proportionately equal to that played by a major leaguer. Runners can lead off and steal. Pitchers have to learn how to hold runners on base. The double play, squeeze play, and various strategy tactics, difficult for adults and nearly impossible for youngsters on a full size diamond, become a probability rather than an impossibility.

Q:  Can you briefly describe what each division is about?

A. Shetland Division (ages 5-6): The focus is totally on the instruction of beginning players. Learn how to throw, catch, and hit. Primary objective of coaches is for the players to have fun. Hitting is from either a tee or coach pitched, depending on skill level.
Pinto Division (ages 7/8): Teaches the basic fundamentals of baseball. Coach pitched with introduction to player pitch in second half of the season.
Mustang Division (ages 9/10): Begins the players training in the complete game of baseball. Players pitch with introduction to leading off and stealing on 60-foot base paths. There is a summer All Star program for tournament play. 
Bronco Division (ages 11/12): Takes the developing young player into the full game of baseball on 70-foot base paths. Competitive regular season and summer All Star program for tournament play. 
Pony Division (ages 13/14): Learns the advanced skills of baseball on 80-foot base paths. Competitive regular season and summer All Star program for tournament play. 
Colt Division (ages 15/16): This is a select baseball program to play teams from around the Puget Sound region. Players have to attend tryouts and make the team. 
Palomino Division (ages 17/18): This is a select baseball program to play teams from around the Puget Sound region. Players have to attend tryouts and make the team.

Q:  How can I help out MVPBA?

A.  We never have enough help. The best way to help us out is to volunteer.  Check out the About Us > Board & Contact Info page of this website for more information.  Please contact our President at [email protected] with any questions.

Q:  What is the story behind the non-competitive portion of the season for the Mustang and Bronco divisions?

A.  The Mustang and Bronco season is broken up as follows. The first part of the season, up to and including the Jamboree, is considered preseason or non-competitive. The second half of the season is competitive, with scores and standings kept.  Then there is a season-ending tournament to determine a league champion. Why a non-competitive first half? It gives the players an opportunity for equal playing time, equal times at bat and an opportunity to play different positions on the field. It gives the coach a chance to develop talent in a game situation without worrying about winning and losing. More players get a chance to pitch and play infield positions than they would under normal league.

Assessments & Team Assignments

Q:  What is the purpose of assessments?

A.  In Mustang, Bronco and Pony divisions, assessments are a "skills evaluation." The purpose is to try, as much as possible, to get evenly matched teams. Talent is evenly distributed. At the Colt and Palomino leagues it really is a "tryout". There are limited slots available and the players have to try out and win a roster position on the team.

Q:  How are players picked for teams at the Shetland and Pinto levels?

A.  We try our best to have friends play with friends on the same team. As requested by parents on the signup form, we try to get neighbors, schoolmates, daycare friends, etc. on the same team.

Q: What does it mean to "Play Up"?

A.  "Playing Up" is referring to players playing in a division above what their league age would normally put them in.  For example, a Pinto (7-8yrs) age player playing up in the Mustang (9-10yrs) division.

Q:  Who is allowed to "Play Up"?

A.  In order to qualify to Play Up:
All players wishing to Play Up must go through assessments.
Players must be assessed by the coaches as being a 1st or 2nd round draft pick in the division they are trying to Play Up in.

Q:  If my child is returning to the same division as they played last Spring, will they be on the same team?

A.  While registering there are options to "Return to the same team" or "Return to the draft".  Whether or not the same coach is returning, players who registered to "Return to the same team" will be kept together.
Players who would like to "Return to the draft" should attend one of the assessments.

Q:  This Spring can I be on the same team that I was on in Fall Ball?

A.  No, Fall Ball teams do not carry over season by season.  All references to "Returning to same team" is from on Spring to the next.


Q:  What equipment will my child need to play?

A.  To play baseball or fastpitch with us, your child will need the following:
- A glove.
- Cleats.  For fastpitch, metal cleats are prohibited in all divisions.  For baseball, non-metal cleats are required in all divisions except Pony and above - although metal cleats are prohibited when playing on turf fields so it is recommended to purchase non-metal cleats.
- For baseball, we use the USA Baseball bat guidelines.  In short, all non-wooden bats must be either a drop-3 bat and BBCOR certified, or the bat must be USABat certified.  For fastpitch: Pinto and Mustang may use certified softball or T-ball bats; Pony and above must use certified softball bats.  For your convenience, each baseball and fastpitch team will have a least one compliant bat available for usage by any player.
- It is mandatory that all fastpitch pitchers wear a protective face mask when pitching.  The league will provide each fastpitch team with one face mask for shared use.  It is highly recommended that all girls playing fastpitch, especially infielders, wear a facemask to avoid injury.
- For fall baseball only, the player will be required to provide their own baseball pants (unlike the spring season, they are not included in the registration fee).  Hats/visors and jerseys will be provided in both the spring and fall seasons.

Fall Ball

Q:  How long is the Fall Ball season?

A.  The Fall Ball season runs approximately 2 months, from mid August to mid October.

Q:  When are the practices and games?

A.  Games are mostly played only on Saturdays and typically start the first Saturday after Labor Day.  An occasional Friday may be necessary.  Practices are on the weekdays.

Q:  How is Fall Ball different from the Spring

Fall Ball is an instructional season only, there are no standings or playoffs.
- There are no assessments
- Coach and Teammate requests are accepted as part of the registration process.  We do our best to accommodate all requests if possible but none can be guaranteed.


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Mailing Address

Maple Valley PONY Baseball & Fastpitch

P.O. Box 414 
Maple Valley, Washington 98038

Email Us: [email protected]
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