Living in Texas, baseball is huge. I am a freashman this year. My middle school had a baseball team all three years I was there. Our school was one of the first in our district with a team. I was wondering if anyone else has middle school teams in there area. Is this a new thing? Will this soon become a UIL sport rather than just a club sport? I sure do hope so because I had a great time playing for my school, and it really got me ready for high school ball. It is just fun playing for your school.
''Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don't, then you are wasting your time on Earth.'' ~ Roberto Clemente
In PA, some middle schools have baseball, some don't. We play by high school rules with -3 bats on 60/90 fields. The quality of play is mediocre compared to travel ball, but it's reps on the field every day.
In Washington state Middle School is considered 6th, 7th, 8th, grade. Junior High would be 7th, 8th, and 9th. Most middle schools play baseball there, only 7th and 8th graders. Junior High's play all 3 year's 7th thru 9th. On a 54' 80' field, for middle school. Not sure about the Junior HS. EH
My son goes to a K-12 school in Florida. We don't have middle school ball, but anyone from 6th grade and up can try out for the high school team - regulation distances so it's a rude awakening for some of the little guys. Better players usually make the JV team as 7th graders and are often non-starters. Last year, we had a "rebuilding year," and two 8th graders made the varsity team, one of whom was my son. It was tough, but a great experience for him.
I agree with TG - with the younger guys, quality of play is better on travel teams, but the daily reps are great.
Here in NH most middle schools (6-7-8) or Jr Highs (7-8-9) have a baseball team. They are primarily made up of the two highest grades with the occassional standout kid from the lowest grade making the team. They play about 12-15 game seasons. My son made it to final cuts last year (6th grader) but the coach went with 7th & 8th graders instead.
In our town, we have a jv and varsity squad in MS. 6th/7th graders make up JV and 8th varsity.
Our JV squad played many of the same varsity teams our 8th graders did and actually won some of those games. Many said the JV team was better but they will get their chances at the varsity level the next or two.
In Wake county, NC, there are 6 school teams and the balance of middle school teams are clubs. The school teams play 60/90, -3. Club teams play 54/80, -5 bat. Clubs don't play school teams. School teams play by NFHS rules. Club teams can set up most any way they want. School teams are 7th and 8th grade only. My son played for a school team and I feel was better off when he started playing for his HS team. School teams are funded by the middle school, club teams are on their own.
In central VA, some counties have middle school teams, others don't.
Those that do run grades 6-8 but you hardly ever see a 6th grader on a team. They play high school dimensions and rules. The games are generally pretty sloppy and high scoring.
In the counties that don't have MS teams, travel teams will play weekends in the spring as well as a summer schedule and fall weekends. IMHO this is a much better training ground, for a lot of reasons. One is that players can gravitate to teams with other players and opponents of their own ability level, so that they can develop at their own pace. This is pretty important given the significant differences in speed of development from one boy to another.
The other thing is that while there are always travel ball horror stories and "daddy ball", the fact is that there are many travel coaches who are much more knowledgeable than the MS coaches, and by seeking out the better coaches you can get a better learning experience than you could by just taking whatever guy the school threw at you.
In our county, there are no MS teams and also no freshman teams, but 8th graders can try out for the HS JV team (8th-10th graders eligible). Because most of the best 10th graders, and even a few top 9th graders, make the varsity squads, 8th graders can and often do compete quite well at the JV level. My son's class had 5 8th graders make the JV team and 3 of them worked into the starting lineup by the 4th game of the year. In fact they hit 3-4-5 in the order, and we went 11-2 from the time we made that lineup change through the end of the season!
I guess it's always fun to wear the school colors, but in hindsight I'm glad we didn't have a MS team. Travel ball leading into the HS JV team worked out much better for us than the MS teams did for the kids in the next county over.