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May, 2020

2020 PONY Baseball & Softball World Series Canceled over COVID-19 Concerns

Due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic PONY Baseball and Softball has made the difficult and disappointing decision to cancel its World Series tournaments for the first time in organization history.

After a thorough assessment of the impact the devastating COVID-19 pandemic has had on all of our community-based PONY member programs throughout the United States and 54 countries and based upon the direction of governmental and public health authorities, and in consultation with our Board of Directors, PONY has made the difficult and disappointing decision to cancel its eight baseball and three softball World Series tournaments in 2020.

PONY has come to this decision due to the significant public health uncertainty that exists and most likely will continue several months from now.  Upon review of guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control (CDC), as well as senior public health officials and government leaders from locations where our other seven World Series are held, it will not be possible to proceed with our 2020 World Series schedule.

“With an overabundance of caution and in order to ensure that our athletes from all over the world are able to compete in a safe environment, we have had to make this very difficult decision to cancel our World Series events in 2020,” stated PONY President Abraham Key. “PONY stands for Protect Our Nation’s Youth and PONY believes we would be reckless and irresponsible to host these events under the current circumstances. We will be back in 2021 with a full schedule of league play, tournament play and our popular World Series events.”

“As Chairman of the Board of PONY Baseball and Softball I wish to express our deepest regret to our participants that we will not be able to host our baseball and softball World Series events for 2020,” stated PONY Chairman of the Board Steve Miller.  “This has been a difficult decision as we know how much this means to our youth and their families from around the globe.  We encourage our leagues to continue with their local programs in conjunction with local and state health official guidelines.  As allowed, and where possible, there may be opportunities for local play and tournaments.  We appreciate the commitment of our local leagues and all those volunteers, and we look forward to resuming a full schedule of league, tournament and World Series play in 2021.”

As we assessed the feasibility of including these tournament opportunities as part of that resumption of play, several factors went into the decision to cancel the World Series, including:

  • The inability to play qualifying tournaments in many of our U.S. and International zones, coupled with direction from international health officials regarding the complexity of international travel restrictions and immigration requirements.
  • The cancellation of the Caribbean Zone, European Zone and Asia Pacific Zone tournaments.
  • An indication from teams from around the globe that they will be unable to participate or travel to these tournaments.
  • The testing and mitigation protocols that would need to be in place at these significant public events should an individual participating or attending an event be diagnosed with COVID-19.

The cancellation includes the eight baseball World Series and three softball World Series events:

  • Mustang-9 World Series – Walnut, California
  • Mustang World Series – Youngsville, Louisiana
  • Bronco-11 World Series – Chesterfield, Virginia
  • Bronco World Series – Laredo, Texas
  • Pony-13 World Series – Whittier, California
  • Pony World Series – Washington Pennsylvania
  • Colt World Series – Marion, Illinois
  • Palomino World Series – Laredo, Texas
  • Girls Softball World Series – Youngsville, Louisiana
  • Girls Softball World Series – Hemet, California
  • Girls Softball World Series – Sterling, Virginia
  • Girls Softball World Series – Houston, Texas

To assist the local PONY programs as they continue to assess their local operations according to state guidelines, PONY will be crediting all leagues with the affiliation fees paid for their membership in 2020. These funds will be available for local leagues to use on current balances, 2021 affiliation and other PONY related expenses.

As each local league will have different guidance for resuming organized youth sports, PONY International strongly encourages volunteers to confirm with their local and state health officials that it is safe to do so before resuming any local league activity. These playing opportunities could include not only regular season activities, but also opportunities for local all-star tournament play in order to provide players, especially those moving up to a new age division in 2021, a tournament experience if local health officials allow.

PONY Baseball and Softball

1951 PONY Place, PO Box 225
Washington, Pennsylvania 15301
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