Baseball Age Requirement for 2018 Season

The age requirement will change for in-house players for the 2017 Fall season and the 2018 Spring & Summer season. The cut-off date will be moved from April 30th to Aug. 31st. With this change, some players might have to move up a division one year earlier. The “and under rule” will still apply.

Travel requirements will not change for teams that are 12-U and below. 13-U will not allow players in the 8th grade to play. 14-U will not allow players that are Freshmen in High School to play. The “and under rule” will still apply.

Please note:  The age requirements DO NOT apply to any Rivercat Travel Baseball team.

New Youth Baseball Bat Standard (USABat)

Please be aware that there will be a bat rule change effective next season (2018) that will impact all players that use a bat that is greater than a drop 3 (or -3) (note: drop 3 bats will still be required to have the BBCOR stamp, as they do today).  For next season, all bats that are greater than a drop 3 will required a new YBBCOR stamp.  Bats still cannot be greater than 2 5/8″ in diameter (so no 2 3/4’ in diameter bats).

Knowing this change is coming, we strongly recommend you do not buy a new bat for this 2017 season.  Any bat (greater than drop 3) purchased this 2017 season will not be legal in the 2018 season.

USA Baseball, the national governing body for the sport of baseball in the U.S., in conjunction with participating national member organizations just announced the decision to adopt a new method for measuring bat performance in the testing of youth bats. Informed by the research of leading scientists on the USA Baseball Bat Study Committee, and supported by its NMOs, — including the American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC), Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), Babe Ruth Baseball/Cal Ripken Baseball, Dixie Youth Baseball, Little League Baseball and PONY Baseball — USA Baseball has concluded that recent advancements in science, engineering, technology, and the materials available to fabricate non-wood bats, now allow the manufacturers to construct youth bats that can perform at a wood-like level through the entire range of lengths and weights of youth bats.

The new USA Baseball bat standard (USABat), which will apply to bats that are classified below the NCAA and NFHS level of play, will be implemented on January 1, 2018, allowing the bat manufacturers sufficient time to bring these bats to the marketplace.

Current league-approved bats can be used through December 31, 2017.  All new bats that bear the USABat licensing mark will be permissible for play in the leagues and tournaments of the participating youth baseball organizations.

Please keep in mind that any bat purchased for 2017 Play will not be allowed once this rule is implemented. This rule will not go into effect until January 1, 2018. The new YBBCOR bats with the stamp will begin to be available in September 2017.

More information about the new bat rule is available here.

Pitch Smart Program Aims to Reduct Arm Injuries

Pitching Rules to Change in 2018

Pitch Smart USA BaseballPitch Smart is a joint arm care initiative between Major League Baseball and USA Baseball and aims to reduce arm injuries among amateur baseball players. This course includes topics such as risks of arm injuries, common misconceptions, and the Pitch Smart guidelines. Pony Baseball has adopted rule changes to become PitchSmart compliant beginning with the 2018 season.

The online Introduction to Pitch Smart training course, produced by USA Baseball and hosted by Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz, is available for free to coaches, players and parents at the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) training site. You can view the course by establishing an account with NFHSLearn and then ordering the free course. Click Here for more information about the course at NFHS.

Click here to go to the Pitch Smart website at mlb.com