The Panthers System
Our Winning Philosophy
Our players develop best when pushed to compete at the highest possible level. We want our players to compete for provincial championships at every age and every level of play. In addition, our program focuses on building teams at the 13U AAA, 15U AAA and 18U AAA levels, where the opportunity exists to compete in and win a National Championship. Baseball specific training, leadership development and team-building strategies are priorities for our program.
A four tier system
At each age level we seek to field three Rep or Elite teams and a Select team. These teams are chosen sequentially such that the first team plays at the highest level of competition and the other two teams play at the subsequent levels. This three level system aims to retain players within the Panthers Rep program, allowing them time to build skills within the system and enjoy competitive play. Players who are not selected to play within the Panthers Rep system can still don the Panthers uniform as a House League player playing Panthers Select.
For simplicity, we refer internally (within KMBA) to the 1st Rep team chosen at each age group as AAA, the 2nd as AA and the 3rd as A. Select teams are referred to as simply "Panthers Select". Our 14U Academy Program and our Elite Program teams all compete at AAA.
Panthers Rep and 14U Academy teams, along with our Select teams, play their regular season as part of the InterCounty Baseball Association (ICBA) "loops". ICBA (and by extension, KMBA) is part of Baseball Ontario or the Ontario Baseball Association (OBA).
Levels of Competition
Baseball Ontario (OBA) provides competitions at the following levels, shown in descending level of play: AAA, AA, A, B, C, D. Due to the population of Kitchener our Panthers teams can compete at only AAA, AA and A. KMBA encourages teams to compete at the level equal to or greater then their KMBA designation in all OBA competitions.
The Intercounty Baseball Association (ICBA) uses a different system, providing play at two levels: Tier 1 and Tier 2.
For ages 8U to 14U AAA teams will play in Tier 1, the A team will play in Tier 2 while the AA team will choose the loop most appropriate for them. More and more our AA teams are choosing to challenge themselves in the Tier 1 loop and AAA teams are often choosing to play one age level ahead of their designated age group to maximize their challenge and develop player skills leading up to their 13U year where our AAA team competes to go to Nationals.
New for the 2022 season, our 14U Academy Program is a unique bridge program between the 13U AAA nationals year, and our 15U Elite program. While the Academy Program plays their league play within the ICBA T1 loop, they train for and participate in showcase opportunities in Canada and the US.
For ages 15U to 18U the ICBA provides play for our AA and A teams in their Tier 1 and Tier 2 divisions.
The Elite Baseball League of Ontario (EBLO) provides top level play for AAA teams throughout Ontario at the 15U to 18U age levels including our Panthers Elite teams. Teams in the EBLO play strictly at the AAA level and the league consists of teams that typically battle for provincial titles.
Our Panthers Elite program, starting at 15U, is designed for our top players from the 14U Academy Program combined with other top players from the ICBA to form teams that can compete for and win AAA championships and national titles.