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Frequently Asked Questions


Softball information and questions

Click here to learn more about the Softball program.

About the league

Who can play for Cleveland Youth Baseball & Softball? Is it only for kids in the Cleveland High School boundary?

All players are welcome to play with Cleveland Youth Baseball & Softball, no matter where they reside.

For certain travel teams, a waiver may be requested for players who live outside of the Cleveland Junior Baseball Organization (JBO) boundary.

What is the difference between JBO and Little League or other youth leagues?

There are several differences between JBO and other youth league models. The main differences include: base stealing, field size based on age and teams formed for a full season - no, "all-star" teams. Full, original teams travel to the play-offs together.

 You can review all information on the JBO FAQ here.

What are the ages of the kids my player will compete with/against?

Cleveland Youth Baseball plays the JBO model, which places players on teams based on grade level rather than age.

Beginning at "Minor" level (grades 3 and 4) players assess at the beginning of the season and are placed on teams based on skill and experience level. 

We have played in the Clackamas County Junior Baseball Association (CCJBA), a division within the Junior Baseball Organization (JBO):

  • T-Ball: Pre-K - Kindergarten
  • Farm: Grades 1 and 2
  • Cleveland National League (CNL): Grades 3 and  4 - CNL is comprised of teams that only play other Cleveland Baseball CNL teams
  • Minor Fed and  American: Grades 3 and 4 - Travel teams that play other teams in the CCJBA i.e. Clackamas, Tualatin, Canby
  • Juniors: Grades 5 and 6 - ALL teams travel to play other teams at their level.
  • Seniors: Grades 7 and 8

Beginning at Junior level - ALL teams will travel in JBO.

Age based model - Softball will continue to be age-based (birthdate as of Jan. 1, 2023).  

Age & Level Guidelines

Cleveland Youth Baseball & Softball fields teams for grades PreK - 8th grade.  

Children in Pre-K and Kindergarten will automatically be placed on a T-Ball team.  

T-Ball: PreK and Kindergarten.

For players new to baseball and softball. Players use a tee to hit the ball for at least half the season, and then coaches pitch gradually as players develop. Focus at this level is on learning and fun!

Practices start in April and usually last for about an hour on two weeknights/week.

Games are played two weeknights/week (usually T/Th and end in mid -June.

Limited friend or coach requests may be honored.

Children in 1st and 2nd grade will automatically be placed on a Farm Ball team.

Farm: 1st and 2nd grade

The season begins with coach-pitch and transitions to kid-pitch mid-season. Players will throw three pitches and then players will hit off the tee.

The focus is to learn the basics of the game, prepare to see and hit off a kid-pitched ball, as there is only kid-pitch beginning in 3rd grade.

There are three outs, a five-run offensive rule…and the focus is on learning and fun!

Practices start in April and usually last for about an hour on two weeknights/week. Games are played two weeknights/week usually M/W and end in mid-June.

Limited friend or coach requests may be honored for those playing Farm.

Limited optional assessments for 2nd grade players

In limited cases, a 2nd grade player may assess to be considered to "play up" on a third/fourth grade minor team. In order to do so, the following requirements must be met:

1. Player must register for minors and pay the full minor fee.

2. Attend assessments - if they do not attend they will be placed on a Farm team. There is no refund in fee difference.

3. Assessments will determine if they are placed on a Minor or Farm team. If they do not make a minor team, they will be placed on a Farm team, but will NOT receive the difference in registration fees back. That difference helps offset the volunteer time, etc. for them to attend assessments.

4. 2nd grade is the only grade level approved to, "play up." 3rd grade and up will only play at the appropriate level for their grade.

All team selection and player placement is done at the discretion of the league.

Cleveland National League (CNL): In-house league for 3rd and 4th grade

CNL is an in-house league that plays locally within the inner SE area. All players in this age group other than the Minor Federal team play at this level.

All players participating in this level are placed on teams based on assessments and a draft. This is the first level of kid-pitch hardball along with base stealing and umpired games. Practices start in late March and usually last for about an hour+ on two weeknights/week.

Games are played two weeknights/week, usually M/W or T/Th and end in mid-June.

Assessments are REQUIRED at this level.

No friend or coach requests.

Minor Federal: (3rd and 4th graders) - One team

Cleveland fields one top competitive team at the Minor Level. This Minor Federal team is part of CCJBA and will travel to compete against teams from Canby, Milwaukie, Clackamas, etc. 

This team is formed based on assessments and includes additional travel, cost and time commitment.

Games are played twice a week, both home and away locations and must be made up if canceled for rainouts.

The season ends the end of July and requires all players to commit to being available through that date in order to play, as no players can be substituted in once the rosters are submitted.

Assessments are REQUIRED at this level.

No friend or coach requests.

Juniors: (5th and 6th graders)

All players at the junior level play in the CCJBA league - which does require travel. Players are placed on teams based on assessments. There are three levels at this age - Federal, American and National.

Assessments are REQUIRED at this level.

No friend or coach requests.

Seniors: (7th and 8th graders)

All players at the senior level play in the CCJBA league - which does require travel. Players are placed on teams based on assessments. There are three levels at this age - Federal, American and National. 

Assessments are REQUIRED at this level.

No friend or coach requests.

Softball: Fast-pitch softball for girls 1st – 8th grade

A variety of teams may be formed based on age level and depending on interest and registration. 8U utilizes a pitching machine, 10U and up are kid-pitch games.

Depending on the team, there may be an opportunity to compete in weekend tournaments. Practices generally start the week after Spring Break, however some of the older teams may begin practice earlier depending on schedules and field availability. 

Practice starts in April and will be held twice a week, before games start in early May, 2 per week,.  For T-Ball and 8U, once games begin, practices will be limited. 10U, 12U and 14U will generally have one practice per week during the season.

JBO divides teams at each level (age group) into three divisions:

  • Federal: Advanced competition and highest skill and experience level.
  • American: High-level of competition, skill and experience level.
  • National:  Competitive level of competition, skill and experience.

Each division at every level hold County Tournaments for qualifying teams with top teams from the County Tournaments earning their way to the JBO State Tournament. 

Team formation

Do you accept friend requests? 

Our goal is to set players up for the best chance of success and growth during their time in the program.  This includes placing players on appropriate teams to match their skill level. For our younger players, T-Ball and Farm Ball, we will accept limited friend requests per registrant and will do our best to accommodate.

Once players reach our Minor level (3rd grade) we will not accept friend requests moving forward as we must balance teams at the CNL level and place players on teams to be most successful on our Junior and Senior teams.

What are "assessments"? Does my child have to attend?

Assessments are required of all baseball players beginning in 3rd grade. Any player younger than 3rd grade, interested in playing on an older level team, is also required to assess.  

Assessments are not "tryouts". The purpose of assessments is to place players at the level where they can be most successful. No player will be cut from a team.

JBO has three levels of play: Federal, American and National. Assessments and prior coach feedback help to place players at each team level of play.

  • National Level is competitive.
  • American Level is more competitive.
  • Federal is for highly skilled players. 

Why do you form teams based on skill level? Isn't it more fair to put a mix of skill levels on each team?

The JBO model gives players the best opportunity for appropriate development, confidence and game play by placing each player at a level where they can be most successful. 

Each level plays other teams of the same level, i.e. Federal is the most skilled level of players in the league and will play the most skilled players in other leagues. 

This allows players to develop their skills at the level they are at and play with other players  at a similar skill level who are doing the same. Players don't develop, when their skills are either extremely above or extremely below other teams. Our foremost goal is always to develop skills and keep players motivated to come back and play.

I believe my child was placed on the wrong team based on skill level, who do I contact?

Please do not contact the league to ask your player be moved to another team based on your personal assessments of their skill.

The purpose of assessments is to evaluate all players together and  place them on teams in relation to all other players in the league in that same range. While your player may have skills comparable to a few other players you may have seen, only the assessors see all players in a single band.

We do everything possible to ensure objectivity during assessments. This includes:

  • No parents or families being allowed in attendance.
  • Requirement that all players assess every year.
  • Coach feedback from the previous year may also be taken into account, including attitude, availability for games, etc.
  • Assessors do not evaluate players in a group where they also have a player, i.e. a parent of a 7th grade player would only assess those in grades 6 and below.

Finally, it's important to note that assessments are in place to ensure that every player has the same opportunity every year to demonstrate their current skill level and be placed on the appropriate team. There is no grandfathering in relation to team placement.

It is not uncommon for players to play different levels throughout their time in CYB and that means the system is working as it's supposed to, which is to ensure players are placed on teams and playing against competition that best meet their skill level and offer them an opportunity to develop.

Can my player, "play up" with a different grade level?

No. 2nd grade is the only grade level approved to, "play up." 3rd grade and older will only play at the appropriate level for their grade. E.g. A 5th grade player will play only at the 5th/6th grade junior level, they will not be approved to play at the 7th/8th grade senior level.


Is there a scholarship program for those who need help with fees?

Yes. If you, or someone you know, has a financial need for support in order to register one or more children in the league, please fill out the form here.  No request will be considered without form completion.

If you request financial aid, please consider volunteering your time for one of the following:

  • Events
  • Field Maintenance
  • Sponsor Procurement
  • Equipment Coordination

What do our registration fees pay for?

Cleveland Baseball & Softball is completely volunteer run. Registration fees help cover the following:

Field permit fees (by far our highest expense),  primary uniform, equipment and player protective gear, portable restrooms, field maintenance, umpires, and organizational fees–insurance, background checks, hosting fees, etc.

The initial registration is a base fee which will cover T-Ball, Farm Ball, CNL and Sand lot Fees.  American/Fed or Select Travel teams will have an additional fee to cover the costs associated with those teams (tournament fees, secondary uniforms, etc.).

Do you offer refunds?

Cleveland Youth Baseball and Softball has a NO REFUND policy, including for schedule conflicts. You can read more about it here.

If our season is cancelled in its entirety and no practice or games occur, we will offer partial refunds.


Can I request a team that has certain practice and game days?

No. We do not control the schedules of the leagues in which we join, and thus cannot place players based upon specific schedules. In the past, T has played Tues/Thurs and Farm has played Mon/Wed, but practice times are contingent upon coach and field schedules.

JBO and CCJBA set the game schedules for all teams outside of our in-league rec teams (T, Farm and CNL) and we have no control over how those are scheduled.

How many days can we expect our player to practice? How many games?

In Spring T-ball and Farm Ball teams will have two practices per week before transitioning into game play.  These teams will have two games per week with an occasion bye.

Teams consisting of players in 3rd grade or older will have 2 to 3 practices per week in the pre-season.  Once games begin teams will generally have two games per week with the occasional bye. 

Teams playing in tournaments can expect games on multiple days over a weekend that will consist of three or more games.

When does the season begin and end?

Formal practice for all teams will start after Spring break.  Games for our in-house leagues generally start in early May and run through early June (ending near the close of the school year).  

Our travel teams traditionally have started regular season games in late April and run through the end of June.  Teams that qualify for post-season play could extend their season to late July.  

**Game schedules/game nights for our in-house leagues will be announced in April.

game and practice locations

Cleveland Youth Baseball and Softball uses a combination of local PPS school fields and Portland Parks & Recreation fields. Permits for all these fields have been procured by the league.

Teams at each age group play on a field sized for that level. The first number listed below is the distance of the pitching mound from home plate and the second number is the length of the base paths. They are as follows:

  • T/Farm/Minor: 45'/60'
  • Junior: 50'/70'
  • Senior: 60'/90'

Some fields are "convertible" meaning the base paths and pitching mound can be adjusted, i.e. base paths can be extended and shortened, other fields are only a single size. Even if a field is closer to your home, it may not be appropriately sized for the age of your player's team.

In general, teams at the following age levels can expect to be scheduled at any of the following fields for practices/games:

T/Farm: Llewellyn, Berkeley, Duniway E and W, Westmoreland Park 1, 2 and 4, Sellwood Park 2, Sellwood MS W.

Minors: Duniway E/W, Westmoreland Park 1, 2, 4, Sellwood Park 2, Sellwood MS W.

Juniors: Westmoreland Park 1, 4, Sellwood Park 2, Sellwood MS E.

Seniors: Westmoreland Park 3, Sellwood Park 1, Sckavone Stadium, Powell Park.

Note: All field scheduling is done centrally by the league, directly with coaches. No special requests on field location will be considered.

how to prepare

We're new to baseball, what gear, uniform, etc. do we need to have?

As part of your registration, you will receive a hat and a jersey. Players on certain travel teams may pay for a secondary jersey later in the season.

All players will need:

  • Green socks
  • Green belt
  • Gray baseball pants

At registration, you will have the option to purchase those as add-ons and receive them with your uniform and hat. Otherwise, any sporting goods store like Dick's Sporting Goods will have a full selection both on-site and online. Players from Cleveland National Level on - third through eighth grade - are also required to wear a cup as these levels play with a hard baseball.

All players will also need the following gear:

  • Bat
  • Mitt
  • Batting helmet

The league has a limited supply of bats and helmets that can be loaned out for the season. Please let us know if that is needed.

Next steps

What is the next step after registration?

We will be in contact to confirm your registration has been received, and we will update you with important information, such as team placement, assessment details for those players required to participate and potential opportunities additional workouts or skill development.

Families and players will be notified by their coach when teams have been selected.

My player is new to baseball and we'd also like ideas on how they can improve their skills

Requests for player development is one of our most asked about questions. Skills training can be a great tool for helping players learn the fundamentals. Throwing drills, hitting off the tee and playing catch can also help prepare players and keep their skills sharp throughout the year.

More questions about baseball?


All softball questions should be directed to Softball Director Justin Dawkins