Sports

Kirkland Pony Baseball registration open online

Kirkland Pony Baseball
Kirkland Pony Baseball's home field is beautiful Lee Johnson Field in downtown Kirkland, the envy of teams from around the region.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Kirkland Pony Baseball, which provides recreational baseball for hundreds of teenagers in Kirkland and Redmond, has opened online registration at www.kirklandbaseball.org.

Tryouts will start Jan. 28 with batting sessions, followed later that week with pitching and fielding. The complete schedule is available at www.kirklandbaseball.org. Tryouts are simply a tool to evaluate players; all who register are welcomed into the program as long as space allows.

Kirkland Pony Baseball is open to youths ages 13-19 in Kirkland and surrounding communities. Commissioner Glen Beard says Kirkland Pony Baseball provides opportunities for players who want to continue with baseball after they are done with Little League.

"We offer a low-cost, high-quality program for players at all levels," said Beard. "We have selective programs for players who want a higher level of competition, as well as recreational ball for those who may not be interested in playing at the high-pressure select level. We welcome everyone who loves the game and wants to play baseball."

An important selling point is that all programs, whether selective and recreational, are inexpensive. Fees start at $325 for a 25-game season. Other select programs can easily end up costing 10 times that amount.

Another attraction for Kirkland Pony is its home field, beautiful Lee Johnson Field at Peter Kirk Park. "Teams coming from other cities are in awe when they see our field," said Beard. "We have a lot of leagues calling and asking if they can play our teams, for the competition but also so they can play at Lee Johnson. Playing under the lights on a nice evening just can't be beat."

Teams compete against other Kirkland teams as well as those from surrounding communities, from Mountlake Terrace and Bellevue to Issaquah and Seattle. "Kids get to play with and against their friends, but they also get to see how they stack up against teams from other cities," said Beard. "It's really the best of both worlds. About 80 percent of our games are played on the Eastside, so players get to play a lot of baseball without doing a lot of traveling."

KBC comprises three age divisions:

Pony (ages 13-14)

Colt (ages 15-16)

Palomino (ages 17-18)

The Pony division offers two levels: Olympic, which is more competitive and requires a tryout, and Cascade. In addition, there is a more competitive level for 13-year-olds called Pony 13. Pony teams play on a field with 80-foot basepaths rather than the full-sized 90 feet, easing the transition from the smaller Little League diamond.

The majority of KBC players are graduates of Kirkland's two outstanding Little League programs, Kirkland American and Kirkland National, but Redmond, Bellevue and other residents are eligible as well. Many KBC players also play on their junior high or high school baseball teams, or play other spring sports. "Every effort is made to be flexible to allow everyone to participate," said Beard.

The Kirkland program is affiliated with PONY (Protect Our Nation's Youth) Baseball, an international organization with tens of thousands of players across the U.S. KBC all-star teams participate in postseason PONY tournaments that can lead to the national tournament in Pennsylvania.

Complete information about the program, including contact information, is available at www.kirklandbaseball.org.

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