Staff

CEO: John Owens

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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 30 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 has been 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 at Carolina at Charlotte.

President: Jake Robbins

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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 24 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. “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, and to help kids accomplish their dreams.”

Hitting Instructor: Rafael Mendez

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Showcase Baseball Academy adds Rafael Mendez to their team of instructors.  Rafael 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.

Pitching Instructor / College Recruiting Coordinator: Tomas Cruz

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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 save 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 NBC World Series win, with 3 ½ innings of work allowing no hits, no runs and 5ks.

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 and Position Player Coach: Josh Odean

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Josh Odean graduated from North Platte High School in Nebraska. As a top recruited shortstop out of the Midwest region, the University of Nebraska sent him to Fort Scott Community College in Kansas for further development. During Odean’s sophomore season he was selected to the Jayhawk Conference All-Star ballot where he was discovered by Winthrop University and transferred that fall. At Winthrop, he was a starting shortstop and second baseman, and hit .441 in his senior season to lead the Big South Conference in average. Josh graduated with an undergraduate degree in Exercise Science. In 2002 Odean received his Master’s Degree in Sport Administration from Belmont University in Nashville, TN.

Josh comes to SBA from Myers Park High School where he constructed one of the most dynamic and versatile offenses in the state. The Mustangs posted an overall record of 22-4, increasing the winning percentage from .400 the prior season to .856 in 2017. Under his leadership the Mustangs hit .319 as a team with an on base percentage .465 and increased total runs scored by 71 from 2016 to 2017. Myers Park hit their way into the third round of the North Carolina State High School Baseball Playoffs.

Prior to coaching at Myers Park, Odean served as an assistant coach at Winthrop University where he coached infielders and hitters. In his first season (2014-15) at Winthrop the team posted a 40-win regular season – a first in school history. The Eagles’ offense increased in average from .235 to .299, and the defense posted a .971 fielding percentage (second overall in the Big South Conference). The following season, the Eagles were pre-season ranked 38th overall in the country at the Division I level.

Prior to Winthrop, Odean coached at both Belmont Abbey College and Pfeiffer University where he worked with infielders, outfielders and hitters during the 2010-2014 seasons. In his first season at Belmont Abbey the offense ranked in the top 25 in doubles and ranked as high as 13th in the country overall. While he was at Pfeiffer, the team secured the 3rd spot in the conference tournament – the highest seed in 9 seasons.

Odean also coached at the professional level as a Minor League Strength and Conditioning Coach where he oversaw all aspects of the Detroit Tigers conditioning, strength and nutrition programs.

Director of Baseball Operations: Rashad Cunningham

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Rashad Cunningham has been coaching baseball for over 15 years. In his first season as an assistant at Presbyterian College, where he served as hitting and outfield coach, the Blue Hose finished the 2017 season with a 32-29 record with wins over Alabama and Auburn, and finished runner-up in the Big South Tournament. During his time at Presbyterian College, the Blue Hose set school records for most wins (32) and most Big South Conference wins in school history (15) (the most in the Division 1 era). They also had their first winning season in the D1 era. They won 5 Big South game series, most ever in program history. Going along with the victorious season, they finished 3rd in the regular season. This was the highest finish in school history. The Blue Hose played in the Big South title game for the first time. Presbyterian led the Big South in hits (563), sac bunts (51), and total bases (825). They also came in 2nd in the Big South in batting Avg. (.273), doubles (101), and triples (10). The Blue Hose had 4 players selected to the All Big South team (TJ Richardson, Glen Casaceli, Ryan Hedrick, Brian Kehner, and AJ Priaulx) and 4 players selected to the All-tournament team (Nick Guimbarda, Tyler Weyenberg, Nick Wise, and Hayden Deal).

In 2016-17 he served as Director of Baseball Operations at Winthrop University. He worked alongside the coaching staff coordinating team travel, meals and hotel arrangements. He also managed all game day activities along with organizing and supervising youth and high school camps. During his tenure at Winthrop, Catcher Rodger Gonzalez, and Pitcher Matt Crohan were drafted while Pitcher Sam Kmiec signed a free agent deal.

He first started his coaching career at Lancaster High School as a Varsity Assistant Coach. He then traveled across town to Buford High School where he coached 6 years as a Head Junior Varsity Coach and Varsity Assistant Coach. In 2015, he was named Assistant Head Coach/Pitching Coach at York Comprehensive High School. Cunningham has coached several 16u-18u Showcase teams along with coaching Dixie Majors (15-18 years old) teams. He has assisted 70 baseball players in obtaining baseball scholarships throughout his coaching career. In 2007, he led the Lancaster American Legion Post 31 to their first ever State Tournament appearance along with a League V Championship. He was honored with the Region V Coach of the Year Award and also The Lancaster News Coach of the Year Award.

Cunningham is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a degree in Liberal Studies with concentrations in Economics and Criminal Justice.

Hitting Instructor: Zach Remillard

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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.

Kelsey Bruder: Softball Hitting Instructor

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Kelsey Bruder is a Corona, California, native and a 2011 graduate of the University of Florida.  During her softball career at UF, Kelsey was a 4 time Women’s College World Series Participant and was the National Runner up twice.  She was named a 2 time All- American, a 2 time Academic All-American, the 2011 SEC Player of the Year, and the 2011 Honda Award Winner citing her as the nation’s top collegiate softball player. She was also the 2011 recipient of the Ben Hill Griffin award honoring her as the best female athlete at the University of Florida.  She concluded her amateur career by receiving the NCAA Top 8 Award, which is given to the 8 most outstanding athletes in all of men’s and women’s collegiate athletics.

Kelsey continued her career by playing three years of professional softball for the NPF’s USSSA Pride. From there, she began her collegiate coaching career at Murray State University before moving back to coach at her alma mater, the University of Florida.  In 2013 Kelsey took a brief hiatus from softball to intern full time with the sports ministry group Athletes in Action, which serves and supports UF’s athletes who seek to grow in their walk with Christ.

Kelsey has recently moved to Charlotte and is eager to help build a softball academy that will enable girls to maximize their potential and achieve their goals.

Hitting Instructor: Matt Simmons

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Matt Simmons is an SBA alum who was an infielder for four years at Gardner Webb University. Simmons led his team in Batting Average his freshman year (.308) and was named Freshman All American.