Skip to Content

Competition Grade Baseballs – Youth Tournaments

Unlike recreational baseball leagues, travel or tournament teams are rostered based on actual age and league cutoff date (learn more about What Are the Differences Between Recreation and Travel Baseball).

For example, 8U tournament translates into “8 and Under,” catering to children aged 8 years old or younger. Depending on the birthday cutoff date and tournament rules, children up to 8 years and 11 months old to participate in 8U tournaments.

Unlike baseballs for recreational teams, there are roughly three types of tournament grade baseballs across multiple divisions:

  • 8u-10u: Cork/Rubber center (pill), yarn winding, leather cover
  • 11u-12u: Double cushioned cork center (pill), single layer winding, genuine leather
  • 13u+: Double cushioned cork center (pill), multi-layer winding, full grain leather

All three types of tournament grade baseballs comply with the MLB size specifications (9 in. circumference, 5 ounces in weight).

Want to know about different types of leather? Read my post, Which is better, leather baseball or synthetic leather baseball?

You should be aware that 8U, 10U, and 12U “Official League Baseballs” (OLB3) you see at retailers like Walmart are not intended for tournament game play (or even for league-sponsored rec games). Instead, these baseballs are more suitable for practices or recreational use (i.e. pickup game with friends).

Please be aware that most competitive leagues and tournaments hand out their branded baseballs upon team registration.

  • Baseballs for 6U players
  • Baseballs for 7U players
  • Baseballs for 8U-10U players
  • Baseballs for 11U-12U players
  • Baseballs for 13U+ players

Baseballs for 6U players

As of March 2024, I am not aware of any 6U travel teams anywhere in north America.

You may see Rawlings 6U baseballs (for Ages 6 and under) at Walmart but that “6U” lingo is a marketing trick. The balls in these buckets are actually Rawlings TVB badged tee balls.

If you want “6u” baseballs, I highly suggest you check out my Best T-balls for Pre-K and Kindergarten Players post.

Baseballs for 7U players

It may seem surprising, but (7U) are becoming increasingly common. It appears that many parents and coaches believe that waiting until the under-8 category (8U) to introduce children to competitive baseball is too delayed.

There are no 7U specific tournament grade baseballs.

Baseballs for 8U-10U players

This level serves as an introductory stage to organized baseball, focusing on teaching the fundamentals of the game in an instructional setting. The primary aim at this level is not competition but rather skill development, and teamwork.

For the latest price and availability, please visit Best Baseball Prices by Age Group for 8u-10u baseballs.

Baseballs for 11U-12U players

The 11U-12U age group in baseball represents an important stage in ball player’s development, bridging the gap between foundational skills and more advanced play. At this level, players typically transition to larger fields, and the game intensifies with the introduction of leading off and stealing bases.

Baseballs used in the 11U-12U leagues are regulation size, but will have slightly softer core to accommodate the developmental needs of players.

For the latest price and availability, please visit Best Baseball Prices by Age Group for 11u-12u baseballs.

Baseballs for 13U+ players

Players in this age group (12 through 13 years) begin playing in the 12u division in spring and transition as a rising 13u in fall (if fall baseball is available).

As players reach the age of 13, most leagues start transitioning them onto “big” fields, also known as 60/90 or MLB regulation-sized fields.

For the latest price and availability, please visit Best Baseball Prices by Age Group for 13u and older baseballs.


Tournament-grade baseballs stand out from those used by recreational teams, coming in three different types tailored to various divisions. These balls are designed for high performance, matching the advanced skills and baseball smarts of their players.

Please don’t forget to visit Buying Baseballs – Reference Articles page to read other fascinating information about baseballs!

You May Also Like