Ahwatukee Foothills PONY Baseball Association: News

Monday, January 16
PONY National features Ahwatukee Foothills PONY Champions Division



PONY National has released an article about the Ahwatukee Foothills PONY Champions Division and our offer of helping to seed new Champions Divisions in other Arizona Region leagues through the $25,000 grant awarded by State Farm in 2015.

Read the article on PONY.ORG.

 



Sunday, December 11
AFPBA Offers 'Bring Your Own Team' Registration for Spring 2017 again



Coaches, Parents and Team Managers:

The holidays are upon us and it's hard to imagine we need to start planning for Spring baseball already. Many of you joined us this past Fall season where we had 18 BYOT's, in addition to our complement of individual player registrations! This was a great kickoff to our future focus of team and individual player growth. AFPBA has continued to listen to our coaches, parents and players to provide what the Ahwatukee area is missing in the baseball community. We are looking for even bigger team counts this coming season and need your help.

Our teams are able to interleague with Scottsdale, Old Scottsdale and Chandler teams at the recreational, AA and AAA skill levels. This ability to interleague made for a great experience for all the teams involved. No other Ahwatukee based youth baseball league offers this option to play the best teams in the Valley all within your individual divisions.

I have mentioned this in the past, but baseball for youth aged 7-17 has seen a 41% decline in the past 15 years across the country, although only 4.3% over the past 6 years. Little League, nationally, has seen a 20% decline in the same time period and now no longer publishes their enrollment. PONY Baseball has experienced a minimal 1% growth and USSSA has experienced substantial growth, primarily due to the desire players and families have to stay together because of friendships or for a specific coach while enjoying the "club" experience. Additionally, many parents look to give their child the best opportunity to excel at the next levels with this sport specialization.

Regardless of the reasons, I want to ensure the AFPBA exists for many years to come and provides countless experiences, memories and friendships for each of our players and families. We have always looked for the long term development of our players and improvements in our league based on the feedback from the families. Nationally, we see this trend of forming teams continuing to accelerate from a young age and experiencing the desired growth as a team, and not just an individual. This is not going to change in the foreseeable future.

Our BYOT approach allows the coaches to form your own team with former players, or friends and keep them together season after season. Many of you already have team names, uniforms and practice fields and only want more quality games. We want teams of all skill levels, from recreational to AAA, and will have you compete against teams at similar competitive levels. Ahwatukee Foothills PONY is here for you!

The "home" games are played at the Akimel and Estrella baseball fields which has undergone a complete renovation this past summer with new laser graded fields, upgraded drainage, new fencing/dugouts, new turf and surveyed bases. The fields all received upgraded lighting less than 2 years ago. We have fields with bases able to be set at 50', 60', 70', 80', and 90' allowing players up to the highest levels to have a quality playing experience. Given that PONY rules are essentially MLB rules at the Mustang and above levels, we only focus on scaling the field size to your players while teaching the players the real game of baseball. We also hire independent, certified, 3rd party umpires.

We are offering 6, 8 or 12 game schedules that we can work around existing tournament schedules. Limited travel would be required for the Mustang and higher divisions, with most games being played on weekends (both single and double headers). Our Spring season starts in February and will complete prior to Memorial Day.

Divisions are based on the player's age as of April 30, 2017 and are an "and under" division. We are not limited by the player's address being in Ahwatukee due to our open enrollment structure and are happy to take players from all areas of the Valley.

The League still has a robust Recreational program. This is not a replacement to our past, but an enhancement to our program in meeting more of our player and family demands as we continue to grow.

Team registration is very easy and only require payment from the team account to play in the league. (See the form located in Handouts - President's Corner for registration and fees.)

Feel free to share this with other coaches and teams you know that are also looking for games.

Please contact me immediately with any questions you may have at ron.ensley@yahoo.com or 602-769-1885.

Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Ron Ensley
AFPBA President

 



Saturday, December 3
Spring 2017 baseball season now open for registration!



Registration for 2017 Spring baseball season is open. Please click the button below to be sent to our online registration system.

If you want your child to play up a division, please register as normal and submit the Play Up Waiver from our "Handouts" section of this website for approval. You will be notified if the request is approved and directed to pay any registration difference by check.   

2017 Spring Baseball Divisions:

Regular Player registration costs are as follows:

  • Pony Division (13-14 years old): $160
  • Bronco Division (11-12 years old): $160
  • Mustang Division (9-10 years old): $145
  • Pinto Division (7-8 years old): $135
  • Shetland Division (3-6 years old): $105
  • Champions Division (special needs): No charge

Note: PONY Baseball uses a "league age" for division placement. For the 2017 Spring season it is based on their age on April 30, 2017.

Family discounts (three or more children from the same household) will be automatically applied at check out.

Important Dates for Registration:

  • Early Registration - Saturday, 12/3/2016 thru Sunday, 12/25/2016
    • $15 discount to the regular rates above during this period
  • Regular Registration - Monday, 12/26/2016 thru Friday, 1/14/2017
    • regular rates shown above
  • Late Registration - Saturday, 1/15/2017 thru Friday, 1/20/2017
    • additional $15 fee to the regular rates above during this period

Important Dates for the Spring Season: 

  • Practices Start - the week of Monday, January 23rd
  • Regular Season Games Start - Saturday, Febraury 25th
    • Opening Day Ceremonies
    • Team & Individual Picture Day
  • Kyrene Spring Break - Monday, March 6th to Friday, March 10th
    • There will be games the first weekend of Spring Break (3/4 & 3/5)
    • Games resume Monday, March 13th
  • Regular Season Games End - Friday, April 28th
  • Season Championship Tournament - Saturday, April 29th to Monday, May 8th
    • Double Elimination Tournament
    • Team could play 2 to 7 games
    • Championship Game - Saturday, May 6th
    • 2nd Championship Game - Monday, May 8th only if both teams have 1 loss

See you all on Opening Day!



Friday, September 2
New USABaseball bat standards coming to PONY in 2018



Hello AFPBA Families, 

In August, USABaseball announced a new bat standard that all the major youth and junior baseball organizations are enacting starting January 1st, 2018. All existing bats may no longer be allowed. New bats with the USABat certification will start being sold in late 2017. If you have thoughts of buying a new expensive bat soon, realize it may not be allowed in games in 15 months. You can read the article on USABaseball's website at this link.



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