The mission of Stampede Baseball is to provide young men the opportunity to further develop themselves as baseball players through hard work and dedication in a competitive setting, with the end goal of playing varsity baseball for a High School program. In addition to improving as players, each of our young men will work to develop the skills needed to succeed beyond the baseball field, with the hopes of becoming successful students, athletes, and community members.
Q: What is the philosophy of Stampede Baseball?
A: The philosophy of Stampede Baseball is to further advance the level of youth baseball in Solon and nearby communities, which will ultimately lead to individual and team success once our boys reach High School and play for a varsity program. We want each of our boys to learn the values of hard work, teamwork and self-esteem. We believe these goals are accomplished by putting our boys in a position to compete and be successful.
Q: Why Stampede Baseball, and not other teams/organizations?
A: We continue to put a winning product on the field as evidenced in the quality of our play and reputation. Our Board and coaches work relentlessly each off-season to study the latest philosophies and techniques to ensure that your child is receiving the correct fundamentals year in and year out. Just as important, the coaches that we have in our system know how to relate to our players, and how to break down fundamentals in a way in which your son will understand.
Off the field, your son will enjoy an experience that cannot be rivaled. They will be able to make friends from other schools; our players have the opportunity of being teammates with kids from nearby communities. This significantly advances their social growth as they enter an intermediate or middle school. Annually, we organize several events that have all players and families together, including community service projects, organization picnics, etc.
Also, our past experience allows us to help the coaches in the younger age groups with questions or problems that may arise. Everything from how often to practice, what tournament(s) to avoid, to where to find umpires, fields, equipment, etc.
Finally, one of the biggest reasons to join Stampede Baseball is the grandfather certificate that we have to Cooperstown Dreams Park (www.cooperstowndreamspark.com). If you have not heard of Dreams Park, ask any friend who is involved in travel baseball, and they will tell you it is the crown jewel of youth sports. Our grandfather certificate ensures that each of our Stampede teams will gain admittance to Dreams Park during their 12U year. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have this as hundreds of teams get turned away each year.
Q: What if I don't live in Solon or attend Solon Schools, can I still be play for a Stampede Team?
A: Yes. Absolutely.
We were originally founded as "Solon Stampede," and we used to only allow Solon Residents and/or those that attended Solon Schools on our rosters. A number of years ago, we found it necessary to expand beyond Solon and open our rosters to eligible players in the nearby communities. Although we are proud of our legacy and our association with the City of Solon and its resources, we have attempted to re-brand ourselves as "Stampede Baseball." Given our history in the area, we are still often referred to as "Solon Stampede."
Q: What is the time commitment of playing on a Stampede team?
A: Practices typically begin in January, and the number of times that each team practices varies depending primarily on age, and also on each coach; it is typically two times per week. Once it is warm enough to begin practicing outside (usually late March) and winter sports have ended, teams will begin to practice two to three times per week.
Games usually begin in mid-April, and the season wraps up in mid-July. The amount of games and the format of the season (i.e., tournaments only vs league and tournaments) depend on the team. In the younger age groups (8U-10U) the goal is usually 30-40 games. There are two possible scenarios for how a team competes in their season:
A.) Weekend Tournaments only
B.) League play with a fewer weekend tournaments.
Q: What is equipment do I need to play for a Stampede team?
A: At every age group, each player is required to equip themselves with their own baseball glove and Stampede batting helmet (helmets are available for purchase through the program each year). Generally, at the younger ages (8U-10U), Coaches will carry certain "team" equipment: catchers gear, possibly one "team" bat, specialized gloves (catchers, 1B glove). At the older ages, players are expected to equip themselves with all equipment necessary to play their positions: catchers carry all of their own equipment, 1B have their own glove, etc. Generally, we have found that each player prefers to carry their own bat at every age group.
Q: What are the travel requirements?
A: This heavily depends on if your coach decides to join a league, or play in tournaments only. League play usually consists of other travel teams on the Cleveland Eastside and traveling to these locations (i.e. Aurora, Kenston, Chardon, Mentor, Painesville) during the week. If your team decides to play a tournament schedule, your travel will be limited to the weekends, and you may play at various venues in Northeast Ohio or out-of-town.
Also, we encourage each team to take one trip out of town early in the season, as we feel this promotes team camaraderie and lets the boys (and parents) gel as a team. However, this is not mandatory.
Q: How are coaches selected?
A: Each person that would like to be the head coach a new team must submit an application to the Board of Directors. The Board will evaluate each application, and then proceed from there. Once the head coach is selected, he will be able to pick his assistants (two assistants max). All assistants must be approved by the Board. (Note: Due to the format of 8U games 3-4 assistants is typically necessary)
After each season, coaches will be evaluated, and those evaluations will determine if the coach comes back for the following year. If the coach is viewed favorably, he will be welcomed back. If he is not, then we will follow the procedure above to determine a new head coach.
Q: What are the costs to play?
A: Each team sets their own budget (which will be handled by the organization’s treasurer). In the younger age groups (8U-10U), costs range between $750-$900 per year, not including hotels for out of town trips. Due to the costs of the tournaments at the higher ages (11U-17U), costs can vary significantly and range between $950-$1,200 year, not including hotels and other travel costs.
We attempt to strategically rotate certain equipment/jerseys to manage costs. However, any player new to a Stampede Team must purchase a Stampede batting helmet and a full current year set of uniforms.
Q: Are there opportunities to fundraise? If so, what are those opportunities?
A: Yes. Fundraisers will be decided on by each individual team, and must be approved by the Board. We are an Ohio Not for Profit Corporation and their are limitations on the nature of fund raising activities we can use. Participation in fundraisers are optional. Players and families in the past have offset portions of their season fees through fundraising. Due to the substantial costs associated with the sending our 12U team to Cooperstown, we allow our 11U team to focus on those efforts in the year preceding their trip. Any other team fund raisers shall not compete with the 11U's "Cooperstown Fund Raising Efforts."
Any funds raised by a team must be deposited with the Treasurer and those funds will ultimately be distributed by the Treasurer in accordance with our policies Under no circumstances will Team funds be used to offset, reimburse, reduce or eliminate family travel expenses, lodging, meals or alcohol.
Q: What happens to the fees that I’ve paid if my son withdraws from the team?
A: Once a player commits to membership on a Stampede Baseball team, the team is shaped accordingly and in reliance on that player's participation. A player's withdrawal from the program causes a hardship on all other team members as well as the coaches. In some instances, a player's withdrawal can even cause the elimination of the team from competition. Accordingly, it is the policy of Stampede Baseball that player fees are non-refundable, except in the case of extenuating circumstances, as described below.
A withdrawing player’s parents may petition the Board to determine whether there are extenuating circumstances surrounding withdrawal from the program. If extenuating circumstances are found, the player fees paid (or due) may be refunded (or credited) in whole or in part, at the discretion of the Board. Generally speaking, extenuating circumstances may be found when an unforeseen event that is beyond the control of the player prohibits further participation. Example situations that may constitute extenuating circumstances include a player's serious illness, a family's move out of the area, or a significant family tragedy. In a case of extenuating circumstances, the Board will determine in its sole discretion the amount of the refund allowable based upon factors such as, how far into the season the withdrawal occurs, the effect on the team's ability to compete, costs incurred to date and other facts and circumstances surrounding the situation.
Uniforms are customized and/or fitted for each player, and they are the property of each player who completes the season on a team roster. Once ordered (typically by Nov 15) those costs are non-refundable (if paid) or due to the program (if not paid) regardless of the extenuating circumstances under petition. In the event a replacement player can be found, the uniform may be sold to the replacement player to recover the amounts paid, but only if accepted by the replacement player, at their sole discretion. All of a withdrawing player's uniforms must be returned to Stampede Baseball, unless the Board determines, in its sole discretion based on the extenuating circumstances of the withdrawal, whether the uniforms may be retained by the withdrawing player.
In the unfortunate event that a withdrawal forces a team to be unable to compete, the team will be liquidated. Reasonable efforts will be made to recover any amounts paid to tournaments, leagues, and all costs incurred will be paid. Any excess funds remaining or any deficient funds required will be shared equally by all team members, including the withdrawing player.
Q: Is my son guaranteed to make the team, or is it possible he may get cut?
A: Roster management is necessary, and unfortunately, cuts may be made. While it is difficult to make these cuts, it is even more difficult to carry too many players on a roster. However, if there is sufficient talent and quality coaches available, we may consider multiple teams for each age group. These decisions will ultimately be left up to the board.
Q: If there are cuts, what will you base your judgment off of to determine who makes the team?
A: Baseball skill set will be a substantial part of what we are looking at when determining cuts; this includes the following: hitting, throwing, fielding, and running. However, in addition to those skill sets, we will also evaluate the following, and these carry almost equal weight as the aforementioned: listening skills and willingness to work hard/hustle. Finally, we will also make decisions based upon PARENT EVALUATIONS. Our organization takes a lot of pride in the reputation we have earned as a hardworking, good group of people, and we will not have that reputation tarnished.