Over the next couple of weeks, Baseball WA will be announcing details of the Alternate Pathway Programs (A.P.P.) that will be implemented in 2020 and 2021.
The A.P.P. is our formal partnership with Pony League International and comes on the back of a number of years of work with Pony.
Most importantly, the A.P.P. is focused on providing a support program to Little League which will always be our priority participation competition and tournament pathway, Pony is not an alternative to Little League but rather Pony provides us with opportunities at older age divisions that Little League does not and provides additional opportunities for younger athletes who miss out on playing for their charter. Players will be ineligible to participate in any Pony activity until their Little League program for the season has been completed (ie by non selection or team elimination).
With Australia recognised by Pony as four separate regions, no national tournament is held. WA will field teams in Pony under the banner of AUSTRALIA WEST.
The third of these announcements comes in the form of the brand new Pony Girls Baseball World Series of which Baseball WA will be a foundation member.
This is a pathway for female athletes league aged 13 to 16 years old. This team will be selected out of a newly formed Pony Girls Baseball League competition which commences in February. Registration information for this league has been advertised for quite sometime (under the banner of the Under 17 Girls Competition) and we will continue to take registrations for this up to 31 December - the link is on the home page of the Baseball WA website. Players must fulfil the 50% games played in that division as required under the rules.
There is no Asia Pacific tournament for Pony Girls Baseball World Series. Our team will play in a newly formed international event at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines from 2nd to 6th July 2020.
From initial discussions, it is envisaged that as well as us, teams from Philippines, Hong Kong, Korea, USA, Venezuela and the Czech Republic will attend the first event.
Additionally, it has been decided that the usual WA Under 16 state girls team will not participate in the Australian championship in Canberra over Easter but will instead compete in April's Junior League State Championship. Whilst the team will not be eligible to progress to the JL nationals, the level of competition plus the cost savings of playing in the JLSC will make it a worthwhile experience. Additionally by not clashing with the LLSC and ILSC, girls who would previously be unavailable due to the clash will now be able to play for the U16 team.
Details around appointment of coaches, tryouts and costings will be rolled out in the coming months.
We encourage all girls aged 13 to 16 whether experienced or not to join the new Pony Girls Competition as this is an incredible and unique experience and opportunity that we have become part of. No other youth baseball program in the world offers a specific girls baseball world series event like this.
This is an exciting development for baseball in WA and provides a terrific enhancement to our existing Little League program.