TRAINERS

BASEBALL

BENITO ROMAN CRUZ

Hitting, Fielding and Catching

  • Has trained about 95% of every marquee player to come out of Puerto Rico
  • Schedule: Weekdays 6:00-9:00 pm / Weekends 11:00 am-3:00 pm
  • 1-on- 1 Private Lessons and Benito Skills Clinic

PRESTON LARRISON

Pitching Coach

Preston Larrison is a private pitching coach who has the experience, knowledge and a skillset that is hard to come by that helps young athletes realize their potential as pitchers. Preston spent 7 years with the Detroit Tigers club after being drafted in the 2nd round of the 2001 MLB draft. Prior to his minor league baseball career, Preston was a standout pitcher at West Aurora High School resulting in being drafted in the 1998 amateur draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, at which time he elected to attend the University of Evansville to play baseball and pursue his education.

Preston is now an assistant to the dean at West Aurora High School while he also coaches the varsity baseball team. He enjoys witnessing the growth of his players and helping his athletes get into college and continue living out their baseball dreams.

BRAD MEDGYESI

Hitting Coach

Brad is a senior hitting and fielding instructor for Top Pick Athletics and works with both teams and individual players.

He was a very prominent baseball prospect in his youth having played shortstop at West Aurora High School and North Central College. That love, knowledge, and eye for the game has led him to a very successful career as a coach.

Brad has over 22 years of coaching experience working with athletes of all skill levels from professional to in-house players. During his 5 years at Top Pick, he has advanced over 60 players into the college ranks as well as developed numerous high school, travel, and in-house players to the next level.

In addition to proven drills and instruction, Brad incorporates state of the art technology into his training. He tracks and analyzes critical swing components such as: attack angle, vertical angle at impact, bat speed, time to impact, and hand speed.

Brad also utilizes 3D virtual technology to measure and compare a player against other players, age groups, and talent levels. These measurables allow the athlete to receive instant feedback during the lesson and allows Brad to design custom training drills for each individual player to work on between formal lessons to keep them accountable and to maximize results.

AARON NIECKULA

Camps and Clinics

Aaron Nieckula is the Minor League Field Coordinator for the Oakland Athletics, allowing him to be immersed in baseball at the highest level. Having coached and managed the Athletics’ player development system since 2004, Aaron has contributed to the training and development of hundreds of professional athletes, including many who have reached the Major Leagues. As the A’s Field Coordinator, Aaron is responsible for scheduling and coordinating all on-field activities for Spring Training and the Fall Instructional League. He is responsible for leadership training and development for both coaches and players, while also traveling to the various minor league affiliates and managing the A’s short season affiliate in Burlington, Vermont.

CHRIS HILL

Hitting / Catching / Strength & Conditioning

Chris  graduated from North Central College in 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science and became knowledgeable in exercise physiology, nutrition, weight management and kinesiology. Chris runs strength and conditioning classes, hitting lessons and catching lessons.

Yorkville High School

-N.I. Big 12 Player of the Year / Offensive Player of the Year / All-Area Team.

-Played numerous seasons with the Plainfield Edge, Wheaton White Sox and

Semi-Pro Oswego Cats.

North Central College

Was starting catcher and captain for 3 years & led the Cardinals to:

-3 straight regular season CCIW conference championships

-Back-to-back 31 win seasons // CCIW Conference Tournament Title // Regional Title

-Final four finish in the 2017 College World Series

  • 2x All-Conference // 2x All-Central Region
  • 3x CCIW Player of the Week // 2x NCC Defensive Player of the Year
  • Named to the D3baseball.com Team of the Week after he hit for the cycle and followed with a two homerun game.
  • Career .321 batting average / 161 hits / 102 runs scored / 105 RBI / 11 HR
  • Ranked 2nd in doubles hit in a single season
  • Ranked 1st in career doubles
  • Finished in the top 10 for all-time total bases, sacrifice flies and at-bats.

He is dedicated to helping players further their athletic careers through various training techniques that enhance mindset, approach and athletic performance.

 

BILL COPP

Pitching Coach

Bill’s philosophy is to create a fun learning environment for each player. Each lesson is structured to the individuals needs and age. In the day of everything revolving around velocity, Bill will create great mechanics to coincide with strength programs to achieve Top Pick goals!

Some of Bill’s Credentials Include:

  • Played HS ball at Aurora Central Catholic
  • Played Collegiately at Triton and Iowa State University
  • Played Professionally with the Pittsburgh Pirates. 
  • Drafted 1st pick in the 7th round in 1986
  • Career ERA of 3.54 in over 400 plus innings
  • Member of IHSA Coaches Association
  • Inducted into Aurora Boys Baseball First Hall of Fame class
  • Current pitching Coach at Brother Rice HS
  • Has mentored and Coached 6 MLB players.
  • Helped place 1000 plus kids in College programs.

SCOTT KELSCH

Hitting and Fielding

Scott grew up in Naperville, IL and is a former high school and college player. His senior year at Naperville North he was a unanimous all-conference selection and was elected to the IHSA East-West All Star Team. He played collegiately at College of DuPage and Benedictine University for legendary coach John Ostrowski.

  For the last 7 years, he has been coaching high-level travel teams with the Wheatland Ducks, Oswego Cobras, and Team ESP Select. He has coached and tutored dozens of baseball and softball players at the gold and elite level, and enjoys working with younger players to develop their “all-around game.”

  Scott’s expertise is identifying areas for improvement and helping players develop solid fundamentals, proper mechanics, and good practice habits.

ERNESTOS ALVAREZ

Hitting and Fielding Instructor

Ernesto has had a lot of experience training young athletes how to play baseball. He has 2 years experience of independent ball in Maryland and North Carolina. He spent 18 years coaching high school baseball. 14 of those years were spent at Marmion Academy, 3 years were spent at St. Rita High School, and 1 year at Brother Rice High School.

After coaching high school ball, he coached a high level travel ball team for 10 years called the Cangelosi Sparks. He currently is a coach of the 16u USA LABC in the Dominican Republic with Jim Parque. He really looks forward to working with all of the young athletes here at Top Pick Athletics!

SOFTBALL

TARA GREGAIT

Hitting, Fielding, Pitching, and Catching

Tara Gregait Tara started playing softball when she was 6 years old, and has 30 years of experience. She began her softball career playing for Aurora Area Girls Softball, where she was a multi-year All-Star and MVP. She played travel league for the Aurora Raiders, and high school ball and summer ball for Aurora Central Catholic High School. She played collegiate-level ball at Waubonsee Community College and Aurora University. She now plays on competitive adult co-ed teams in Downers Grove and Oswego.

Tara has over 10 years of 1-on-1 and small group instruction, and 2 years of team coaching experience. She specializes in teaching young and new players the mechanics of the game, in both hitting and fielding. Her goal is to instill a deep love of the game in every player that she works with by building their skills and personal confidence, both on and off the field.

Tara currently coaches her daughters’ 8u team for Kaneland Youth Softball Little League.

FOOTBALL

Saul Tonielli:

Football Coach / Football Training Specialist

I have coached football at various institutions and led workout programs for athletes for several years. I have also coached both of my sons in football over the years. I was the Head Defensive Coordinator and Assistant Varsity Coach at Marmion Academy, Defensive Line Coach at College of Dupage and Head Defensive Coordinator at St. Charles East High School.

At College of Dupage I recruited players and led off-season training programs for the football team. I am a certified coach in the state of Illinois and I have coached football at all levels from 8-21 years old. I have helped many of these players receive college scholarships to play football.

I also coached basketball and track at Marmion Academy and girls softball at College of Dupage. As a football training specialist my goals are to improve the quickness, awareness and strength of each athlete. Through consistent training, I will help each athlete become a better teammate and athlete.