Skip to Content

Baseballs for Middle and High Schools

You’ll find that baseballs used in middle and high schools are pretty much cousins to those we played with in college, rather than the distant relatives used in the pros.


Both sport that classic leather skin hugging a heart of cork bundled up in cozy wool. Here’s where it gets interesting though – those school-level balls come with seams that stick out more.

Why? It’s all about getting a solid grip on the ball, making it a tad easier for those young arms to throw curves that drop just right. Move up to the college and big leagues, and the seams start hugging the ball tighter. Less drag, more speed, making every pitch and hit a bullet. That’s the game changer right there.

Middle School Baseballs (7th and 8th grades)

Focusing on middle school (or sometimes referred to as junior high) baseball, which includes 7th and 8th grades in the USA, the selection of baseballs is designed to bridge the gap between younger players and the more rigorous demands of high school sports. The primary change is the transition from a Cork and Rubber core to Cushioned Cork and Rubber, resulting in a higher “bounce” behavior.

Although Rawlings is the dominant player in this space, Diamond and Wilson also produces high quality baseballs intended for middle- and high-school.

  • Diamond BB-OL – Technically classified as a ‘practice ball, Diamond BB-OL baseballs boast a more significant pop off the bat compared to other brands. They are relatively inexpensive, making them an ideal choice for schools operating on limited budgets.
  • Rawlings Little League (RLLB) – RLLB is a tournament -grade baseball that is popular among middle-school baseball teams. Some people complains about the RLLB being too soft, only to find out that they actually purchased RLLB-1 baseballs by mistake. I describe the differences between these baseballs in my post, Rawlings – Difference Between RLLB vs RLLB1 Little League Baseballs.
  • Wilson A1015 – A1015s have a bit more laid-back performance characteristics than A1010s but they perform well in the middle-school age group.
For more information on other models, you may want to read Reference Guide to All Diamond Baseballs, Reference Guide to All Rawlings Baseballs, and Reference Guide to All Wilson Baseballs posts.
For the latest price and availability, please visit Best Baseball Prices by Age Group for Middle-School baseballs.

High School Baseballs (9th through 12th grades)

Baseballs used in High school games serve as a critical transition period for players aspiring to move on to college baseball or even professional ranks. In contrast to baseballs used in middle schools and youth leagues, high school baseballs are designed to closely mimic the feel and performance of baseballs used at higher levels of competition (with slight de-tuning to factor in the use of aluminum bats).

High school baseballs typically feature a cushioned cork core that is wrapped in wool, providing a balance between hardness and playability. The covering is made from genuine leather, and come with raised seams. Raised seams are preferred at this level because they provide pitchers with greater pitch control. High school baseballs will feel tighter than baseballs for designed for younger players.

Safety Standards for Baseballs
Please note that since January 1, 2020, all baseballs for high school competitions have been stamped with both National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) and National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) logos.

The NOCSAE Baseball Standard (# ND027) establishes performance requirements in the weight, compression deflection load, circumference, and coefficient of restitution for new baseballs as supplied by manufacturers

There are around dozen or so makers of NFHS baseballs but three manufacturers stand out for their use of high quality materials and craftsmanship. Your purchase decision should be guided by your school’s regional athletic association.

  • Diamond NFHS baseballs – In my opinion Diamond NFHS baseballs have one of the nicest leather covers among baseball manufacturers. The only minor complaint is their stitching thread being bit more waxy than Rawlings NFHS and Wilson NFHS baseballs. The difference between D1-HS and D1-PRO HS models are negligible so buy whichever one is on sale.
  • Rawlings NFHS baseballs – Rawlings simply dominates the market due to it being the sole supplier of baseballs to MLB and MiLB leagues. The sheer amount of marketing hype tends to overpower other makers in terms of brand recognition. Rawlings takes full advantage by producing over 100 different baseball models across the entire spectrum of baseball from T-ball leagues to MLB. So it’s no surprise that Rawlings also produces four distinct NFHS baseballs for high schools: three R100 models and one FSRHS (flat seam) baseball. Rawlings has gradually improved the quality of their leather covers so it no longer feels so “slick”. NFHS baseballs come with raised seams (except the FSRHS model). The seam track (distance between stitching holes) is the narrowest out of everyone (I prefer a wider track) but stitching threads are high quality (and unwaxed).
  • Wilson NFHS baseballs – Over the years, I’ve played with hundreds of different baseballs, and Wilson has consistently ranked among my top choices. During my coaching years, I’ve amassed a substantial collection of used balls, and I’ve noticed that Wilson’s tend to outlast those from other brands. Pitchers will particularly appreciate the advantage Wilson offers with its Super Seam Technology. This feature provides taller and wider seams, granting that extra bit of spin needed to master the game. The technology is effective due to the greater amount of exposed thread from the wider spacing between stitches, coupled with leather that feels thicker than what’s found on other balls, enhancing its longevity significantly.
For more information on other models of Diamond, Rawlings, and Wilson baseballs, you may want to read: Reference Guide to All Diamond Baseballs, Reference Guide to All Rawlings Baseballs, and Reference Guide to All Wilson Baseballs posts.
For the latest price and availability, please visit Best Baseball Prices by Age Group for High School baseballs.


In conclusion, the comparison of Diamond, Rawlings, and Wilson NFHS baseballs reveals distinct characteristics and advantages among these brands.

Diamond baseballs, praised for their superior leather covers and slightly waxier stitching compared to Rawlings and Wilson, offer quality at a good value, especially with the D1-HS model.

Rawlings dominates the market with its extensive range of over 100 baseball models, leveraging its status as the sole supplier to MLB and MiLB. Its NFHS baseballs, noted for improved leather quality and high-quality stitching, cater to high school sports with a variety of models.

Wilson stands out for its durability and “Super Seam Technology,” offering pitchers an advantage with wider and taller seams for extra spin. Each brand brings unique benefits to the field, catering to different preferences and playing styles in high school baseball.

When it comes to NFHS baseballs, pricing is a very good indicator of quality so use that as a general consideration. In any case, you will not regret buying either the Diamond, Rawlings or Wilson NFHS baseballs.

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