Building on the tremendous legacy of strong player development, on-field achievement, and academic excellence working with young female athletes, the leadership teams of the five South Bay Area fastpitch softball programs in Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, West San Jose, Saratoga, and Sunnyvale have joined together to launch Quakes Fastpitch. Our dynamic softball program was created to optimize player performance and to maintain the ideal life balance that assures continued academic and athletic achievement through middle school and high school. Our mission is to prepare skilled young women for leadership roles, leveraging the skills and work ethic gained on the field for a lifetime of success.
What is Quakes?
Quakes is a 14U collaborative effort among five leagues (originally the four leagues of Campbell, Los Gatos-Saratoga-Cupertino, Sunnyvale, West Valley, and now also Branham Hills). The purpose is to meet the challenges of the 14U and older divisions by combining our resources, which creates a level of participation that ensures girls from each of the 5 leagues will have a pathway to 14U and above softball. In addition, by having greater numbers we will be able to offer multiple levels of play so that a team exists for every player’s skills and desires (‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’)
Why the name Quakes?
Because this is a program involving all of the participating leagues, the founding committee felt this program needed a name that was unique from any of the founding four leagues. Quakes was chosen from a long list of potential names by the committee as well as members from the participating leagues to be the one name that would represent all the leagues for 14U and above softball.
Is Quakes a separate organization (and if so, Why) ?
Yes and No. Each of the member leagues should think of Quakes as THEIR 14U and older division. Last season each player who played Quakes was registered through a member league, then filtered into the Quakes player pool. The challenge that this created is that each of the five leagues was slightly different in their pricing, snack shack buyout and volunteer requirements, as well as “extras” that came along with registration (clinics, training, etc.). To bring consistency and fairness to the 14U recreation division, and to streamline the registration and administrative process, the 2017 season will see each of the participating leagues with a link to Quakes for 14U recreational registration and everyone will pay the same fee. Quakes Fastpitch also offers summer tournament travel ball at 14U and 16U (playing "B" and "C") along with the ‘A’ teams program.
Is Quakes just an ‘A’ Ball organization ?
No, Quakes is a multi-level program that is a combined effort of each of the five member leagues. However, by having a large number of players, we are able to offer summer teams in all three levels of play: A, B and multiple C teams.
How does Quakes benefit each of the leagues?
The benefits Quakes gives to the participating leagues has three parts:
The first benefit is the ability to have a 14U pathway that covers all skill levels from rec to ‘A’ . This should encourage players to stay in their 12U and even 10U divisions, instead of leaving because of uncertainty about the future and whether a player’s league will have a rec team at 14u, an All-Star team at 14u, or an A ball level team. Since Quakes runs programs at all levels (A, B and C) and runs 16u and 18u programs, players will have the ability to stay within the program regardless of age or skill.
The second benefit, is the consistent offering of a 14U recreational division for its players each spring season. 14U is always a unique division because many of the second year players in the division (14 year-olds) are often playing on their high school team, leaving only the 13 year-olds to fill rosters for the rec season. The numbers of participants flowing into Quakes will help provide a true 14U Rec Division. In 2015 Quakes had over 70 players playing in the 14U recreational division playing on 6 teams. Most leagues had been filling the 14U program by having a Middle School Division of players who are 11 and older, which often stunts the growth of 11 year-old players who do not play as significant of a role because they are now competing against both 12 and 13 year-olds for playing time. It also limits the 13 year-olds as they only play against players their age or younger, they are not raising their games by playing against skilled 14 year-olds. By having a large number of 13 year-olds together as well as some middle school 14 year-olds, players from each league should now be able to play in a competitive 14U program that is beneficial for all skill levels.
The third benefit is the availability of coaches. At 14u, there is often a lack of qualified coaches as many parent-coaches are no longer interested in coaching at this level. Prior to the formation of Quakes, several member leagues had years when they head enough players to have formed a 14u teams, but did not have a volunteer coach. By joining forces, there should always be enough coaches at the 14u level to ensure each spring rec team has a qualified coaching staff and that players won’t be prevented from playing due to a lack of coaching. Coaching resources, along with available players, pitchers and catchers are reasons many softball leagues are unable to field 14u teams.
How are the recreation level regular season teams formed ?
Like all rec programs, every player will be placed on a team but the goal for team formation is competitive balance as well as balancing players from various member leagues onto the teams. The players will go through evaluations in January and teams will formed shortly thereafter. We do not want a situation where a team has ten players from one league and then three single players from three other leagues. We want some familiarity as well as a chance to integrate, therefore the mixing of players onto each team will occur but never would we put a player by themselves without other players from their previous league on the team (unless they requested such).
How will issues like buyouts and snack-bar, umpire costs, fields, etc. be handled ?
Each league will keep track of games played on site, snack bar shifts worked, umpires paid, etc. and will be reimbursed by Quakes at the end of the season.
What about ‘B’ and ‘C’ All-Star (Summer and Fall) Tournament teams ?
They will be formed in accordance with ASA rules, similar to how member leagues have formed their own All-Star teams. Sometime around May 1, we will conduct tryouts and form as many viable summer teams as we have players, coaches, catchers and pitching for. In our inaugural season of 2016, our 14U Division had 5 teams playing summer tournament softball.
How does the Quakes ‘A’ program compare with other ‘A’ level programs ?
The Quakes ‘A’ teams are run much like other ‘A’ programs. In accordance with other programs, the ‘A’ teams are formed during the normal window other ‘A’ teams are formed (in the late Fall). Anyone can try out for the ‘A’ level Quakes teams, however Quakes teams are formed primarily by players coming from the five member leagues. This provides a very good and ongoing pool of talent while also allowing players to continue to play with their friends.
As with other ‘’A’ programs, there are paid coaches, more practices and a more competitive schedule. In our first season, the Quakes ‘A’ level teams were very competitive against other ‘A’ programs. The best measure of this was the 14A Middle School team finishing 13th out of over 100 teams in the Triple Crown World series.
Part of the benefit of having this ‘A’ option in Quakes is to allow the five member leagues to be the “Adult in the Room” when it comes to A-Ball. We believe ‘A’ Ball is not something that most players need prior to 14U, which is why there is no Quakes 12 or 10 year-old teams. As a true ‘not for profit’ organization, fees are lower fees than stand-alone ‘A’ Ball programs. Quakes also believes in balance between softball and other activities. Although the ‘A’ program demands a higher level of commitment than ‘B’ or ‘C’ programs, we are more willing than most organizations to support multi-sport athletes. In the long run we believe this leads to happier, healthier and better softball players.
Are there Quakes teams beyond 14U ?
Yes, one of the founding leagues, LGCS Magic, has long offered A Ball teams at 16U and 18U, and so those levels of play (for summer and fall) are now part of the Quakes program. This is yet another benefit offered by being part of the Quakes program that most individual leagues have not had the ability to offer.
The Quakes Fastpitch leadership team brings extensive experience with the game, more than 20 years of developing scholar athletes to achieve on the playing field, in the classroom, and within their community. We recognize that successful high school and college athletes must emphasize 3 critical numbers as they build skills, character, and aptitude. The first number is their school grade point average (GPA), followed closely in line with their college entrance exam test scores (SAT/ACT). The final of the big 3 numbers is their batting average or earned run average (BA/ERA). While other coaches and programs often reverse the order of importance, we believe the model is clear. The data confirms that across all collegiate softball competition the vast majority of players receive scholarships, grants, or other forms of financial assistance through academic rather than athletic performance. We are not diminishing the need for a strong athletic record as it's clear that excellence on the athletic field will absolutely lead to greater opportunities in college. A player's softball skill set will often extend her reach and ability to gain admission into elite academic institutions. Quakes Fastpitch recognizes the importance of academic/athletic life balance while providing a platform for players, through superlative coaching, resources and competitive team play to showcase their talent. We will assist and educate our families and players on the ever changing college recruiting system, proactively sharing best practices and proven strategies through workshops, camps, and other team events for each player's future with the game.
Each season our teams will choose from a variety of competitive paths, focusing on one or more national and/or regional championships along with showcases, camps, tournaments, friendlies and other unique player development opportunities while mitigating any unnecessary travel and expense. Our talented coaching resources pull from a host of area high school and junior colleges plus current NCAA players once their seasons wrap up, adults that have successfully played and coached at well respected travel programs, high schools and universities. Quakes teams will maintain and emphasize team culture and chemistry, key dynamics that avoid player burnout and make the sport both fun and exciting for our families.
Website and Social Media
Quakes Fastpitch has our online home at quakesfastpitch.org. We have social media accounts going live on Facebook (Quakes Fastpitch) and will soon launch Instagram (Quakes Fastpitch) and Twitter (@quakesfastpitch) as well.
Player Pre-Registration Online
All players interested in attending a Quakes Fastpitch tryout event are asked to complete a short online player pre-registration. You will find a link to the online form on our organization's website. Please complete the form prior to attending the tryout. The process should take less than 5 minutes to complete and helps our program organize and streamline the tryout events and team formation process.
Coaching and Facilities
Top caliber coaching and player development training are the foundation pieces on which Quakes Fastpitch was constructed. We have engaged and hired a deep bench of 3rd party coaching talent to take the helm of each team and assist with all aspects of coaching and team development, leading at least 4 Quakes Fastpitch teams in 2016, playing at the 14's and 16/18's levels. Our coaches and players will enjoy an array of fields, training facilities, and other resources that have been secured for their use, including several area high schools with lighted fields, indoor cages, etc. We are a league catering to the South Bay Area and our practice and training facilities will all be within a short drive, reducing the burden on families and players. These resources coupled with a motivated contingent of other volunteers that will provide management and logistics support, the program is well positioned to succeed and thrive, offering all our players and families a softball experience that is second to none.
Recruiting Process Support and Education
Quakes Fastpitch has engaged with and will leverage the talents of many local resources, people with experience that can provide invaluable education and training on best practices for recruiting success throughout the multi-stage, multi-year recruiting cycle. Our program will deliver workshops on the recruiting process using real work examples and recent case studies of local players that have recently completed these steps and realized their goals to play in college. More details will be provided after initial team formation to customize a path for each player and develop a checklist of actions required and activities for each family going forward.