Justin Stringer is the founder of Chicago Mudcats Sport and Social Club, formerly known as Do It Right Baseball. Justin was born and raised in Chicago where he learned to play baseball at such programs as Warren Park and Horner Park. Justin attended Lane Tech High School and was a pitcher for their baseball team. In 1994, Justin led the Lane Tech Baseball Team to its first City Title since 1972. Justin continued to play baseball at Northern Illinois University where he pitched from 1996 to 2000, and was a member of the 1996 MCC Championship Team.
Justin served as the Pitching Coach at Lane Tech High School from 2001 to 2008, and served as Youth Baseball Coordinator at Niles West High School for three years before starting Do It Right Baseball and the Chicago Mudcats program.
Justin, who has a Master's Degree in School Administration, is a 7th grade Science teacher in the Chicago Public School system, the General Manager of the Chicago Mudcats Sport and Social Club, and a member of the Club's Board of Directors.
Justin’s Areas of Expertise: Pitching, Player Development, Coach Development
Jason Alamo began his baseball career playing at Hamlin park at the age of seven and from there went on to have a successful baseball career. Attending Lane Tech High School, Jason, a pitcher, won city titles as a Freshman and a Senior. Jason attended the College of DuPage and then Triton College and pitched for both schools. Jason began his coaching career working with little league teams throughout the city and in 2012 began coaching with the Chicago Mudcats. Jason, who is an Account Manager for American Transit Group, took a year off to get married and returned to the Mudcats for the 2017 season.
Jason's Area of Expertise: Pitching
Patrick Austin began his baseball career playing at Welles Park and attending Chicago Mudcats Summer Camp. Patrick played for the Chicago Mudcats from 2014 until 2017 as both a pitcher and first baseman. Patrick attended Chicago's British School where he played on both the soccer and basketball teams and currently attends the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Patrick, who has worked with the Mudcat Summer Camp Program since 2015, began his coaching career with the Mudcats in 2016 when he served as the 8u Assistant Coach.
Patrick's Areas of Expertise: Pitching, Youth Skill Development
Josh Caceres has been playing baseball his entire life and in 2015 joined the Mudcat program to play for the 16u travel team. That season, Josh hit .315, had a .446 on base percentage, .884 on base plus slugging average and was the team leader in at-bats, hits and games played. Josh currently attends Harper College where he is the starting catcher for their baseball team.
Josh’s Area of Expertise: Youth Skill Development
Curtis Castronova began his baseball career playing on the McHenry County Hurricanes. During his younger years he also played football and soccer. At Taft High School, Curtis played both shooting guard and small forward for the school basketball team. Curtis, who is currently taking a gap year from college, joined the Mudcat team in 2016 as the Assistant Coach for the 10u team.
Curtis' Area of Expertise: Youth Skill Development
Nick Castronova played Norwood Park Baseball for seven years before joining the Mudcats in 2008 as a 15u player. Nick attended Saint Patrick High School where he played baseball and he also served as a volunteer coach at Norwood Park from 2010 to 2014. Nick is currently pursuing a real estate license while working at a local nursing home. Nick joined the Mudcat team for the 2016 season as the Head Coach for the 10u team.
Nick's Areas of Expertise: Pitching, Youth Skill Development
Chris Colwell has been coaching youth baseball since 1990 and brings a wealth of experience to the Chicago Mudcats Sport and Social Club. A lifelong ball player, Chris has coached a number of levels of youth baseball, served in many administrative positions within ball organizations, and has served as an Associate Amateur Major League Baseball Scout for the San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros, and Philadelphia Phillies. Currently Chris is an Independent Contractor Scout for the Philadelphia Phillies, an Advanced Scout for the Southern Illinois Miners (Frontier League), and a board member for the Pitch and Hit Club of Chicago, a professional baseball organization formed to promote goodwill toward the game and fellowship amongst professionals in the game of baseball. Chris joined the Mudcats for the 2016 season as Head Coach for the 13u team.
Chris' Areas of Expertise: Player Evaluation, Skill Development
MJ Crowley grew up playing travel baseball for the Vernon Hills Cougars travel baseball program, and attended Vernon Hills High School from 2008-2012 where he played varsity football, basketball and baseball. A 3-year member of the Varsity baseball team, MJ was a team captain playing both pitcher and outfielder while helping lead the Cougars to two Regional Championships, and a 30 win season. As a junior and senior, MJ earned all-conference and all-area honors for baseball. After high school, MJ attended the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana where he graduated with a degree in Political Science. While at Illinois, MJ was a member of the Club Baseball team, serving as Vice President for his final two seasons and helping lead the team to the regional final in 2016. Currently, MJ works as a paralegal for a law office in Deerfield, IL and hopes to attend law school in the future. MJ joined the Mudcats for the 2018 season as Assistant Coach for the 15u boys baseball team.
MJ’s Areas of Expertise: Pitching, Fielding, High School Skill Development
Tim Feeley has been with the Mudcat organization since 2013. Tim attended Lane Tech High School where he played both football and baseball from 2007 to 2011. At Lane, Tim was both pitcher and first baseman, and was freshman and sophomore MVP, freshman city champion, and Cy Young award winner his senior year. Tim graduated from Benedictine University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree and pitched for their baseball team. Tim currently works at Pope Francis Global Academy in Chicago teaching 6th, 7th and 8th grade math and will began graduate studies at Concordia University in Chicago in 2017. Tim currently works at Pope Francis Global Academy in Chicago teaching 6th, 7th and 8th grade math while pursuing a graduate degree from Concordia University in Chicago.
Tim’s Areas of Expertise: Pitching, Youth Skill Development
Patrick Flowers was born and raised on Chicago's south side, before relocating to the western suburbs for high school, spending time at West Leyden and Proviso West High School. A baseball player since the age of five, Patrick stepped away from the game after high school to pursue a career in public safety, spending time in law enforcement and later becoming a firefighter in the western suburbs.
Patrick has been coaching 14u through 16u teams since 2010, and is an avid fan, and enthusiast of the game of baseball with a passion for teaching the ever-evolving game to the players of the future. Patrick joined the Mudcats for the 2016 season as the Assistant Coach for the 15u team.
Patrick's Areas of Expertise: High School Player Evaluation and Skill Development
Cisco Johnson started his baseball career playing travel ball with the Windy City Wildcats. Cisco attended Holy Trinity High School where continued his baseball career and was later inducted into the School's Hall of Fame in 2015. Cisco moved on to Kishwaukee College where he was the starting catcher and part of a regional championship team. Cisco finished his college baseball career playing at St. Joseph University in Indiana where graduated with a degree in criminal justice.
Cisco’s Area of Expertise: Catching
Adam Kubes started at Do It Right Baseball as a camper while in grade school. Adam attended Lane Tech High School and was a member of the 2006 and 2007 baseball teams that won back-to-back city championships. Adam graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a degree in kinesiology, has a teaching certificate from Northeastern Illinois University, and is currently a PE teacher within the Chicago Public School system. Adam has served as an instructor for the Chicago Mudcats summer and winter camps for a number of years and works with our younger players.
Adam's Areas of Expertise: Youth Skill Development
Noel Pagan has been with the Chicago Mudcat organization since 2005 beginning as a Summer Camp Instructor and making his way to his current roles within the organization including Director of Player Development, a Head Coach for Boys’ Baseball program and Lead Trainer for Mudcat Fitness. In addition to this Mudcats responsibilities, Noel is the Strength and Conditioning Coach for Lane Tech High School Boys Baseball teams.
Noel’s baseball career started at an early age and led him to Lane Tech High School where he was a Varsity catcher for three years and a member of three conference championship teams. Noel continued playing ball in college, both catching and pitching, at Oakton Community College and Judson University.
Noel is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer (NASM CPT) and began his personal training career at Dave Barton Gym (River North) in 2014. While at Dave Barton Gym, Noel not only worked one-on-one with Personal Training Clients, he also led group workout classes including spin and cardio. Noel is also AED (Automated External Defibrillator) and CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) certified.
In 2015, Noel, along with Mudcats Founder and General Manager Justin Stringer, initiated Chicago Mudcat Fitness, which provides both adults and youth with an array of fitness training options.
Noel's Areas of Expertise: Catching, Hitting, Fitness
Bryan Platt attended Lane Tech High School where he played baseball, and was a two-time captain. As a starter on Varsity as a sophomore, Bryan ran off 24 consecutive scoreless innings helping to advance his team to a City Championship and picking up the win in the semi-finals. As a Junior, Bryan was the winning pitcher when Lane Tech won the City Championship throwing a complete game five-hitter at US Cellular Field. Bryan went on to play college ball at Triton College where he was Team Captain, two-time All Conference, and was the winning pitcher leading Triton to their first regional win in eight years.
Bryan's Area of Expertise: Pitching
Aaron Ramirez has been playing baseball his entire life. Aaron began playing ball at the age of eight at Hamlin Park where he continued until he was eleven years old. Following, Aaron played ball for a number of years in Elmwood Park. Aaron attended Chicago Academy High School in Chicago. During high school, Aaron spent a month traveling all over Illinois with a semi-professional baseball team, the Ridgewood NJ Black Sox. Over the years, Aaron has coached a number of youth one-on-one working specifically on defense (i.e.,shortstops, second basemen). Aaron is currently a freshman at the College of DuPage and is the second baseman for their baseball team the Chaparrals. Aaron joined the Mudcats for the 2018 season as the Assistant Coach for the 10u Boys Baseball team.
Aaron’s Areas of Expertise: Defense, Youth Skill Development
Dave Rivera was born and raised on Chicago's northwest side and attended Lane Tech High School, graduating in 1993. Dave was a standout high school baseball player, in addition to lettering in football. Dave played catcher at Chicago's Truman College, and began his coaching career following college at Hamlin Park. Since 1998, Dave has been coaching at the high school level, first as the freshman then sophomore coach at Lane Tech, followed by an Assistant Head Coach position at Lake View High School, and Head Varsity Coach positions at Von Steuben High School and Northside College Prep. Dave returned to Lane Tech as the Head Varsity Coach in 2014. In addition to baseball, Dave has coached high school football, boys' 16" softball, and girls' fast pitch softball.
Dave’s Area of Expertise: High School Player Development
Melvin Sanchez began playing baseball at a young age and continued as a teen playing both catcher and third base for the Taft High School team. Melvin played one season at Morton Community College in Cicero. Melvin, who joined the Mudcats in 2016 at the 10u Assistant Coach, is currently a project estimator at Air Products Equipment Company.
Melvin’s Areas of Expertise: Youth Skill Development, Catching
Jacob Serrato is a Mather High School alumni having graduated in 1992. At Mather, Jacob played Varsity baseball for all four years, was All Conference from 1990 through 1992, All City from 1991 to 1992, All State in 1992, and City runner up in 1991. Following high school, Jacob started his professional baseball career and signed with the Chicago Cubs as a free agent from 1993 to 1995. In addition, Jacob played for Liga Mexican de Beisbol in Sultanes de Monterrey, Mexico from 1993 until 1994. In 1996, Jacob played independent professional baseball for the Frontier League Richmond Roosters, after which he signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays from 1997 until 1998. In 1999 he returned to independent professional baseball and played for the Northern League Schaumburg Flyers.
Jacob started his coaching career in 2013 as an Assistant Coach for Holy Trinity High School. Coaching at Holy Trinity for 3 years, Jacob helped lead the team to win the 2A Regional Championship three times. In 2014 he was a Bullpen Coach with the Windy City Thunderbolts. Currently, in addition to coaching Mudcats, Jacob is the Assistant Varsity Coach at Lane Tech High School. Jacob began coaching with the Mudcats during the 2016 season.
Jacob's Area of Expertise: High School Development
Colin Sharkey grew up in Wheaton, Illinois playing travel baseball for the Winfield Wolves program from the age of 8 to the age of 14. Colin continued his baseball career at Wheaton North High School where he was the starting varsity catcher his junior and senior years. Senior year Colin was named to the All-Conference Team for the DuPage Valley Conference. In the summer, Colin played for DuPage Training Academy and American Legion Post 76, while assisting as a camp instructor for a variety of Wheaton North Baseball Camps. After graduating in 2012, Colin moved on to play club baseball at the University of Illinois. He started at catcher all four years and was the President of the team from 2014-2016. Colin graduated from the University of Illinois in May of 2016 with a B.S. in Finance and currently works for Capital One as an Associate on the Healthcare Real Estate Team in Chicago. Colin joined the Mudcats during the 2017 season as the 14U Assistant Coach.
Colin’s Areas of Expertise: Catching, Fielding & High School Skill Development
Jeff Szukala has been with Chicago Mudcats Sport and Social Club since it's inception. Jeff attended Maine East High School, playing catcher for their baseball team following which her attended Oakton Community College and then attended Missouri Southern University where he played baseball. Jeff served as the Head Baseball Coach at Lane Tech High School from 2001 until 2008, and the Assistant Coach at Streamwood High School from 2008 until 2011. During his eight years at the helm of the Lane Tech Indians' program, Jeff amassed an overall 196-90 win/loss record, which includes City Championships during the 2001, 2005, and 2006 seasons. Currently Jeff is the Assistant Athletic Director at Streamwood High School.
Jeff's Areas of Expertise: Catching, High School Player Development
Henry Szumal played baseball at Welles and Horner Parks as a youth and attended Lane Tech High School from 2005 until 2009, playing Varsity baseball in 2008 and 2009 as a pitcher and shortstop. After graduation, Henry attended Oakton Community College where he pitched and played a key-role in the team's best season in school history. Once Henry's playing days ended, he immediately began coaching and spent a season as the pitching coach for the Niles West 13u feeder team. Before joining the Mudcats program in 2013, Henry coached for the Niles West Junior Wolves. Currently, Henry is the Varsity Pitching Coach and Program Pitching Coordinator at Lane Tech High School and when not focusing on baseball, he runs his own animal care business.
Henry's Area of Expertise: Pitching
Chris Thompson was one of Do It Right Baseball's first employees joining Coach Stringer in 2000 for the organization's first summer camps. Chris was an All-State Catcher at Lane Tech High School during his senior year, and went on to play baseball at College of DuPage & Eastern Illinois University. Over the years, Chris has coached both baseball and softball teams in the Chicago area including: Lake View High School, Niles North High School, Walter Payton High School, and Horner Park (Highlanders). Chris currently teaches Physical Education to K-12 graders at JCFS Therapeutic Day School in Chicago.
Chris is the General Manager and Head Instructor for Mudcats Girls’ Softball and the Head Hitting Instructor for Boys’ Baseball.
Chris' Areas of Expertise: Hitting & Driveline Pitching/Velocity Building
Eddie Torres grew up playing baseball at Norwood Park. Eddie attended Taft High School where he played both baseball and basketball. Eddie began his collegiate studies at the College of Lake County where he also played baseball and basketball. In 2017, Eddie was released by a California professional independent baseball league and is currently playing ball for Harper College while finishing a degree in Kinesiology. Eddie has been with the Mudcat organization since 2012 as both a coach and running our summer camps.
Eddie’s Areas of Expertise: Outfield, Pitching, Hitting, Youth Skill Development
Max Torres has served as a coach with the Chicago Mudcat organization since 2012. As a youth Max played baseball at Norwood Park where he was on the All Star Team, and later he played for the Niles North Vikings Summer Team. Max played both basketball and baseball for Taft High School and is currently attending Malcolm X College for Athletic Training.
Max's Area of Expertise: Youth Skill Development
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