At this time of year, the Little League World Series brings youth baseball to the limelight. Lefty plays Pony baseball, not Little League. Lefty started in Pony baseball for no other reason than there is no Little League in our city. I would guess that is why most parents have their child in either Little League or Pony. These are two separate organizations but both provide a great youth baseball experience. We get asked a lot about the differences between Pony Baseball and Little League. Heck, even Lefty has asked if he will get the chance to play in the Little League World Series. Not unless we change leagues Lefty, but Pony does have its own All-Stars and World Series. I played Little League growing up (I still remember the Pledge) and now coach in Pony League. Here are a few of the differences between the leagues.
Little League vs. Pony League
The primary features that distinguish Pony baseball from Little League baseball are scaled diamonds and a two-year age bracket system. Additionally, Pony teaches lead offs and base stealing starting at age 9 (Mustang Division), or earlier while pitchers learn pick off moves and holding runners on base to counter the potential steal.
In Little League, the base path distance for 12-year-old and below is 60 feet. The pitching distance for the Major Division and below is 46 feet.
Pony baseball scales the size of the diamonds for each division. The base and pitching dimensions for Pony baseball are:
- 50 ft bases for Shetland 5 & 6-year-old
- 50 ft bases for Pinto 7 & 8-year-old
- 60 ft bases and 44 ft pitching for Mustang 9 & 10-year-old
- 70 ft bases and 48 ft pitching for Bronco 11 & 12-year-old
- 80 ft bases and 54 ft pitching for Pony 13 & 14-year-old
In Pony, divisions are based upon the player’s league age and ability level. All players are evaluated and drafted to teams by the division managers.
- Shetland – (ages 4, 5, 6)
- Pinto – Machine Pitch – (ages 7-8)
- Mustang – Player Pitch – (ages 9, 10)
- Bronco – (ages 11, 12)
- Pony – (ages 13, 14)
- Colt – (ages 15, 16)
- Palomino – (ages 17, 18)
Little League has the following divisions:
- Players who are league age 4-6 are eligible to be selected to a Tee Ball team.
- Players who are league age 6 that have participated for one regular season in the Tee Ball Division are eligible to be selected to a Minor League Division (coach pitch or machine pitch) team.
- Players who are league age 7-12 are eligible to be selected to a Minor League Division team (player pitch, coach pitch, or machine pitch) for the regular season.
- Players who are league age 9-12 are eligible to be selected to a Little League (“Major”) Division team for the regular season.
- Players who are league age 12-14 are eligible to be selected to a Junior League Division team for the regular season.
- Players who are league age 13-16 are eligible to be selected to a Senior League Division team for the regular season.
- Players who are league age 15-18 are eligible to be selected to a Big League Division team for the regular season.
Those are some of the key differences. Let me know the league your player is in and send your opinion. And always remember your Little League Pledge:
I trust in God
I love my country
And will respect its laws
I will play fair
And strive to win
But win or lose
I will always do my best