CEO: John Owens
John Owens’ college baseball career began as a pitcher for Palm Beach before he transferred to take the mound for University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In 2002, Owens started the Charlotte Hurricanes Baseball Organization (now SBA CANES) with the dream of exposing a select group of players to the best competition in the nation while teaching an advanced level of play. This dream has evolved to 25 teams in the organization competing nationally in every age group. In 2010, Owens decided to take his vision to another level by opening “Showcase Baseball Academy,” where athletes can develop their skills and learn to showcase their talents to best serve their team.
Owens is President and CEO of Ameritrust and Owens Management Group, where he started in 1995. He has been awarded the Charlotte Chamber Entrepreneur of the Year award, Charlotte Business Journal 40 under 40, Inc Magazines, INC 500 for 2 consecutive years, and Carolina Parent top 40 for 3 consecutive years. In 2009 and 2010 he was awarded Top Entrepreneur by Charlotte Business Leader Magazine. Owens serves as a member of the Charlotte Chamber’s Board of Advisers and as a board member of the UNC Charlotte Athletic Foundation. He earned an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
President: Jake Robbins
Jake Robbins is a former Major League Baseball pitcher with 6 organizations. Jake ended his career with the Chicago White Sox AAA affiliate Charlotte Knights. He appeared in major league games in 2004 for the Cleveland Indians at the age of 28. The only run he gave up was a solo home run by Jacque Jones on September 24th of that year. Since retiring before the 2008 season, Jake has continued in the game of baseball by helping young baseball players achieve their dreams of playing in college and “the show.”
Jake believes he is a better teacher of pitching than he was on the mound himself. Attributing his successes in teaching to God, he says, “God gave me the ability and opportunity to play this great game and now I want to use the knowledge that was given to me to help kids accomplish their dreams.”
Senior Hitting Instructor & Director of Player Development: Rafael Mendez
Rafael Mendez is a former catcher in Minor League Baseball who played his career in the Detroit Tigers organization.
Mendez was drafted in 2002 by the Detroit Tigers in the 17th round. Mendez played 7 years with the Tigers, earning a Gold Glove award in 2003 and 2004. He was invited to the “Big League Camp” in 2004 and 2005.
Rafael is a graduate of Notre Dame High School in Puerto Rico where he was Captain of his varsity baseball team for 4 years. He received the MVP award his Junior and Senior year.
VP Baseball Operations & Team Development: Tomas Cruz
Tomas Cruz is a native of Amarillo, Texas, where he graduated from Amarillo High School in 2006. From there, Tomas began his college career at Seward County Community College in Liberal, Kansas. During Tomas’ sophomore year, he anchored the Seward Saints’ pitching staff with an 11-3 record and a 2.22 ERA in 81 innings pitched. He struck out a record high 85 batters and walked only 11 in 14 appearances. Cruz tossed seven complete games and two shutouts while becoming the first Saints pitcher to win 11 games since 2004. While there, he was named the Jayhawk West Most Valuable Player, First Team All-Conference, First Team All-Region VI, and named to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I Baseball 2nd Team All-American.
After Seward, Cruz continued his college career by signing his National Letter of Intent to pitch at Clemson University. At Clemson, Cruz served as a bullpen pitcher for the Tigers. During his two years at Clemson, Cruz helped lead the Tigers to two Super Regional Appearances and one College World Series appearance. In his final appearance as a Tiger, at the College World Series, Cruz pitched three scoreless innings in relief.
Following the CWS, Cruz went back to the west to pitch for the Liberal Bee-Jays. He posted a 2-0 record with four saves and a 0.56 ERA during the regular season as a closer. In the NBS World Series, he appeared in 5 out of 8 games, picking up two wins and a save. Cruz led the Bee-Jays to a NBS World Series win, with 3 ½ innings of work allowing no hits, no runs and 5 strikeouts.
Following the 2010 season, Cruz stayed at Clemson as a student assistant pitching coach and a student assistant strength and conditioning coach. In 2011, Cruz served as the Graduate Assistant for Wingate University. There he was the pitching coach, a recruiter, and the strength and conditioning coach.
Hitting Instructor: Zach Remillard
Zach Remillard played third base at Coastal Carolina University for three years before being drafted into the Chicago White Sox organization, where he is currently playing now. He was a part of the 2016 College World Series National Champion team with CCU.
Hitting Instructor: Ty Linton
Ty Linton is a Charlotte, NC, native who attended Charlotte Christian High School where he was a two-sport athlete committed to play both football and baseball at UNC-Chapel Hill. Linton had been in Chapel Hill, where he was practicing with the football team during summer workouts after his high school graduation when he was drafted in the 2010 MLB Draft and chose to forego his college education and signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was signed in the 14th-round where he received a $1.25 million dollar signing bonus. After his time with the Diamondbacks, Linton chose to go back to school at North Carolina State University, where he was a member of the Wolfpacks’ football team as an outside linebacker. He now coaches a 13 year old team at SBA and teaches hitting lessons. You can book lessons with Ty online through the Events tab, under Lessons.
Operations Assistant & Communications Specialist: Haley Carpenter
Haley Carpenter is a Florida native who joined SBA full time in the fall of 2017 after spending the previous summer interning for SBA’s former collegiate team, the Bones. Haley is a former competitive softball and volleyball player who comes from a baseball family. Her younger brother plays at a junior college in Florida (St. John’s River) and has recently committed to Virginia Tech. Haley’s lifelong background in baseball has allowed her to contribute her electronic scorekeeping abilities for the Bones, given her a love for the game, and she is living out her dream working in baseball.
Haley’s duties at SBA have expanded as she has taken on more office responsibilities, including helping with communications, social media, weekly TWiB notes, and assisting all staff members as needed. She will continue studying for her degree in Public Relations this summer as she continues with SBA.