Son started with a team that was all kids from our town of 15,000. Coaches said they wanted to train the high school team (our boys were 9 when they started). Two coaches had played college ball, two had no experience but one was a cop (I always wished he could taze umpires and opposing coaches we didn't like but no such luck.) He was the inspiring voice of the coaches.
We played all in Iowa, mostly within 30 miles of home, but learned sound fundamentals of the game. Three college baseball players from that group, two college basketball players. When one kid moved out of town, we added a player, but when the original kid moved back, he was back on the team as was his replacement. No other changes to roster over the years we played together.
The kids learned baseball but they also learned loyalty to a team and to a community--which was equally important. It's where my son learned baseball but he also learned ethics and coaches modeled what it meant to be a man, quite honestly.
He played with that team until freshmen year, then after freshmen year joined a larger travel organization that travelled more in the midwest. Before his senior year of HS we went to Jupiter with a team of kids from all over the country and after that was invited to join a travel team out of town. He would have had to move, miss his senior year of high school. It was a great opportunity and very tempting, but son discussed with college coaches, who said it was up to him, and he decided to pass. #loyal, he said.
Very proud of his decision.