The Ohio Lasers have been developing top-notch softball players for nearly 30 years, with the organization beginning in 1993. During that time, the organization has generally had about eight teams at any given time, ranging from 10U to 18U. In recent years, founder Jeff Cavanaugh said they’ve sometimes had two teams in an age group instead of one, but he doesn’t want the organization to grow too large. From day one, he’s wanted the Laser’s focus to be on the players.
“I don’t make any money from this,” Cavanaugh said. “I’ve looked at it as helping people instead of a business. It’s about kids, and that’s why we don’t charge much. I’m trying not to make the players pay extra.”
Twenty years ago, softball teams in the northeast struggled to keep up with the competition in the softball mecca of the southern United States. Teams in the colder-weather climates were limited with training facilities and shorter softball seasons which hindered their ability to compete at a world class level.
In 1999, when Roy Godard launched TNT (Tuff ‘n’ Tuffer) Softball in Pennsylvania, he saw an opportunity to grow the level of competition in the northeast and change the training landscape for the sport. Godard challenged his teams to commit to a travel schedule that would take them to the top-level competition in the nation and worked to create new opportunities in the northeast such as indoor training facilities and local tournaments. Godard launched tournaments on the east coast, to showcase the athlete skills and increase the level of competition in the area.