IPAD: Tips to becoming a Gaucho

Alex Aponte



If being on the Saddleback Gaucho’s baseball or softball team is  a dream of yours, then this insight into the recruitment process will be invaluable.

Baseball recruiters are looking for more than major-league skills — but also an intellectually driven individual.

“Our team’s grades are very important to us.  Last year’s team won an award for having the highest collective GPA in California,” said Head baseball coach Sommer McCartney.

Besides staying intellectually stimulated, the men’s baseball team and staff also stay active for the recruitment process.  “Recruitment is very aggressive,” McCartney says, “It is definitely a year-round process – even during our season.”  They are constantly looking for new players in the Saddleback area. 

“We don’t have letters of intent so we’re never 100 percent sure of who we have until our first practice,”  McCartney said.

McCartney and the men’s baseball staff do their homework at local high schools, “I always talk to high school coaches first to find out what kind of character and work ethic a player has.”

Not to say that any player out of the local boundaries doesn’t have a chance, McCartney explains it is just a step more, “If an out-of-boundary player contacts us himself and fills out appropriate forms, then it is allowed.”  Because of certain rules regarding recruitment, McCartney and staff are not allowed to recruit out of boundaries themselves and need first contact to come from the player.

With the talent of the Saddleback area Coach McCartney is more than pleased with his new team, “I think we have more depth and a lot more quality players.  We are well balanced in hitting, fielding and pitching.”

McCartney isn’t the only coach excited for their new team this year, Head Coach of the softball team, Nick Trani, says he is excited for the year ahead.

“We have mostly freshman on the team now, so there is some to learn, but talent wise we are really good.  We are still ranked sixth in the area so the bar has been set [high].” said Trani.

As recruitment comes about, the softball and baseball processes are very similar.  “Pretty much all year long we are very aggressive and non-stop.  Sometimes I wish I could clone myself so I can be in two places at once,” Trani said.  “I get a lot of calls and emails about Saddleback softball and have 13 potential players lined up for next year’s team already.”

Coach Trani explains how he picks a lot of high school students from surrounding areas including Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills, Dana Point and even Irvine.  Some existing players on the team also recommend other softball friends/recruits, “The players are the best recruiters.”

No matter what sport, one thing is certain at Saddleback College — incoming talent will never go unnoticed.

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