The 16U Explosion (Hilliard) is the rare local, homegrown team that finds national success. The team started in a rec league, then moved to travel ball. Eventually, they joined the Explosion organization and haven’t looked back. Coach Chuck Hilliard explains how the team has been able to win games at the national level.
“We really hang our hat on our pitching. We’ve got a dominant number one pitcher who happens to be my daughter, Lauren. She’s going to be in the circle for us in any high-level game,” Hilliard says. “Offensively we just have a bunch of big bats. Our one through seven can consistently put it out of the park.”
Hilliard believes another important component of the team’s success has been remaining true to their original vision for what kind of team he wanted to build.
Celebrating 22 years as an organization, USA Athletics prides itself on core values and team culture, remaining humble and steadfast from the beginning.
Fifteen years ago, Mike and Rose Rogers were handed the reigns of the USA Athletics organization following the departure of Steve McNee. A husband-wife duo who enjoyed coaching their young daughter at the time stepped up to the plate to grow the organization to what it is today. USA Athletics consists of a total of 25 teams, ranging in ages 12U to 18U Gold, and spanning from Southern California to other states including Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Georgia.
The Rogers’ duo believe they have a unique culture with a primary focus on holistic player development. USA Athletics places a strong emphasis on the journey and the process of developing student-athletes, beyond wins and losses. “We focus on the process, because the process will give you the outcome,” states Rose. “It’s always family first, school, then softball.”