which glove is best for a 9 yr old
When the boys are 9, they are eligible for All Stars in Little League, but it is much slower play than the 12 year olds you see at the LL World Series. There are also a few boys who play Majors at nine but not many. Most 9 year olds prefer to be the Star on their Minors team, and possibly look for a Travel Ball team. One thing that confused me is your note about the Challenge team. (In Little League it means the handicapped league, which I doubt you meant.) Given that your Player spends time at SS and in CF, you have a size issue and model issue problem. In Minor Leagues it will not make any difference, therefore you can get away with a lighter duty glove. If you are talking Challenge as in All Star or Travel Ball tournament ball then you may want to look into the future a bit.
In Minors at 9, my son played Middle Infield with a Louisville Omaha pro Flare 11.25" with the "I" (some people call it an "H") web. The 11.25 I-web is good enough for pitching also, because it is light and won't throw him off balance when he extends his throw toward the Catcher. My son also pitched but he used the 10.75" Akadema Ozzie Smith "Claw," which had a blind pocked so they could not see his grip on the ball. My son loved them both. Both gloves are less than $100 on Ebay, and you might be able to find one used for $50. Both gloves are great for a combo SS and Pitcher. However, in the outfield, the gloves will be too small, particularly if he is in the Majors. My son moved to Majors at 10, and played some RF so I bought him the 12.75" Omaha Louisville Six Finger Trapeze for about $99 and sold his Akadema glove.
The problem is: in Majors, the Middle Infield is a different speed of play. At 10 we upgraded his Omaha infielder to a Louisville TPX, which is slightly more heavy duty; and we moved into the 11.5" "T" web. The T web is an infield and outfield combo web. For All Stars and Travel Ball we bought a $30 Palmgard insert glove with the Index and Middle finger pad. The TPX 11.5" I-web or T-web, (without the insert glove) is good enough for CF in the Minors and 9-10 Travel Ball. The TPX is about $30 over your budget unless you plan ahead. You can add the protection of an insert glove later. The other thing you have to plan for is the Pro Flare breaking down if you leave it in his bag all the time. Take it out and reshape it after every session.
One last thing, stay with an all brown glove. The black gloves are not premium leather and the blonde gloves turn an ugly ugly gray when you put on the mitt oil. A brown/tan glove turns a beautiful chocolate brown for awhile and then fades back to tan brown when the oil is gone.
Last edited by tomtomboombang; 02-21-2012 at 10:29 PM.