The Founding of the Oakland Cobras

The original idea of founding a softball club for the girls was born out of the Rochester Hills Little League Softball program.  For the years between 1998 and 2004, John Doroshewitz  and Matt Mulville coached the Indians in the Rochester Hills Little League.  We were always very successful and for the last 6 years we also managed the Rochester Hills Little League All Star team that participated in the state wide tournament as our daughters moved up in age in each year.  We never failed to place out of the top 8 teams in the state winning the district and regional titles for 6 straight years.  In our final year in 2004, we took the team to the State Semi-Finals where we lost in an extra inning thriller.  This outstanding finish was further than any Rochester Hills Little League team, baseball or softball, has gone to this day.

The one advantage all the other Little League All Star teams had was they played on a travel team in addition to their local little league team.  This enabled the girls to play together throughout the year at a much higher competitive level.  The idea of having the girls play both Little League and those interested in a higher level of competition also play on a Rochester Hills travel team was taken to the Little League board.   The local board did not want this to be part of their charter thus the idea of a local independent team was born.

Bob Katner, who also coached for many years in the Rochester Hills Little League and whose daughter played on the softball tournament teams, was instrumental in launching the club.  He initiated the idea at the end of the heartbreaking semi-final loss and joined forces with Matt and John to form the Oakland Cobras in 2005.  With the core of the team being the girls who had performed so well during their many years in the Rochester Hills Little league program.  The first year we had only a single U15/16 year team and participated in many tournaments throughout the region.  Some of the highlights of the first year Oakland Cobras performance included:

  • Overall record 28-11;
  • USSSA PC Pride Summer Classic – 2nd Place
  • NSA State Championship – 3rd Place
  • NSA Clio Classic – 3rd Place
  • NSA World Series in Chattanooga, TN

Because of the demonstrated success from the original U15/16 year old team; additional teams were added the next year.  The success of the initial team helped establish a foundation for the Oakland Cobras Softball Club and is one of the reasons it continues to flourish today.

It is with great pride when we see a Cobra team practicing/playing or see a car go buy with a Cobra sticker.  We have many fond memories of the early days and are appreciative of the many dedicated parents and coaches who love the sport like we did and continue to support the club.  Our girls have all graduated from college and many of them ended up playing softball in college. But all the girls from the initial team remember their time as Cobra as one of the highlights of their athletic career.

Sincerely and Forever a Cobra:

John Doroshewitz
Matt Mulville
Bob Katner

Other Cobra Trivia:

  • Matt and John insisted the uniforms be green and white (MSU colors)
  • We added the yellow like the old Oakland A’s
  • Oakland was selected for Oakland county
  • Cobras was selected because it fit well with Oakland and was threatening and ready to strike
  • The original Cobra Insignia (still in use today) was created by Denise Katner, Bob’s wife
  • The original team were mostly Rochester girls and played high school ball at Rochester, Adams, Lake Orion and Lutheran Northwest
  • The original team ended up playing through U-18’s
  • Whenever we traveled out of state like the Disney tournament in Florida, the other teams always thought we were from Oakland, California which added to the intimidation factor.  (A phenomenon that continues today!)

The Oakland Cobras continued to grow with the assistance of Coach Jeff Ludwig, Coach John Wilson, and Coach Bob Woloszyn.  The success of their teams through the 2000’a, coupled with growth in the competitive softball community, led to expansion of Cobra teams competing in tournaments throughout Michigan, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Georgia, Nebraska and New York.

In 2009, the Oakland Cobras Fastpitch Softball Association was incorporated as a non profit with a mission to foster amateur sports competition by forming youth sports teams for the purpose of teaching skills and good sportsmanship while promoting citizenship of youth through volunteerism and charitable giving.

Cobra players have come to play a vital role in the success of the organization through volunteerism in the Cobra Challenge tournament and youth softball clinics. Cobra players benefit from college recruitment seminars, Cobra scholarship and the support of over 100 Cobra families.  With unprecedented interest and unparalleled support, the Oakland Cobras expanded to eight teams representing ages 10U through 18U in 2011.

The organization is based in the suburban city of Rochester Hills in Oakland County, Michigan.  Cobra players reside in surrounding communities such as Lake Orion, Clarkston, Waterford, Troy, Romeo, Almont, Sterling Heights, and players have come from communities such as Northville, Pinconning and even the Upper Peninsula’s City of Hancock.

The Cobras regularly field teams in the 10U, 12U, 14U, 16U, and 18U age groups based and compete in “A” and “B” tournaments throughout Michigan and the Midwest.

Thank you for your interest in the Oakland Cobras.  Please feel free to contact any of our board members or coaches if you have any questions or are interested in joining the growing Cobra family!