In our Throwback Thursday last week, we published my first big softball article that got some national traction, the list I compiled based on club coaches’ feedback of who at that time (2006) were the Top 10 Softball Clubs in the US.
One of those ranked very highly, like No. 2, was the California Cruisers which once had a pitcher you may have heard of named Jenny Finch. The program won ASA titles across several age groups and has produced several All-Americans and Team USA players including recent standouts such as catcher Savannah Jaquish (LSU) and infielder Jasmine Sievers (Oregon), granddaughter of 18U coach Mel Sievers.
The Cruisers’ success continues today, but not all the winning teams go back a decade or two; take the newly created California Cruisers squad founded four years ago by Alan Caouette.
You’d think the newly-formed team would take a while to get going and suffer through some losing years, but very quickly the Cruisers began winning on a national scale including a PGF National Title and multiple Top 5 finishes in nationals and other prestigious events.
Explains Coach Caouette: “We started in 10U travel and went 6-40 that fall (2015). Within six months we finished third at the Triple Crown World Series in 12U gold division. In 2018 we won the 12U PGF national championship and this past year we placed third in the 14U PGF nationals.”
Last weekend the Cruisers-Caouette team finished third in the prestigious PGF Shootout at the 14U level and will look to compete at 16U too.
“The team is a true family and are very close and hang out together,” the coach says as a reason behind the team’s success. “They push each other to be great but always out the team first.”
Here’s more on the team that has done so much in such a short amount of time with answers by Coach Caouette…
--- Brentt Eads, Extra Inning Softball
When did the Cruisers start overall and your team come into existence (and why)?
The California Cruisers Softball club was founded in 1994. My team, California Cruisers Caouette, was started in 2015 with local rec balls players from Laguna Niguel and Aliso Viejo area. The goal of the team was to seek more competitive play and develop talented softball players when they enter high school and college.
You’re team is based in Laguna Niguel… are your players local or come from farther away too?
Our team lives in cities—Mission Viejo, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Niguel and Rancho Santa Margarita—that surround our city and attend high schools in the area. We have three players who live an hour away (Montclair, Murrieta, Garden Grove) and make the commute to practice and games.
What was the primary purpose of creating the team: was it to showcase players, win titles, develop skills, something else?
The initial purpose was to develop good players and give them a higher softball skill set. The goal of the team was to win local tournaments and games and grow from there. As they grew as players and gained more experience, the focus shifted to start preparing for high school and college. Currently, we play in major tournaments and try to win them as well as showcasing the talent we have assembled.
*** Scroll down to read more about the Cruisers 16U team including bios on each of the 14 players!