Eric Greening, Owner, Baseball/Fastpitch Hitting & Infield Instructor... ThunderJaxx General Manager

Eric Greening, Owner, Baseball/Fastpitch Hitting & Infield Instructor... ThunderJaxx General Manager

Baseball/Softball Instructors

ERIC GREENING

Owner/ Lead Hitting Instructor/ThunderJaxx General Manager & Coach

Email: eric@wisconsinbaseballacademy.com

Eric Greening began his college career in Junior College at Ellsworth College in Iowa Falls, IA on athletic scholarship before transferring to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 2002 which has risen to be one of the top Division III programs in the country.  During his ball-playing years at UWW, the team continued to be ranked on a national level and succeeded in claiming the National Championship in 2005 following a third place finish in the previous season at the National Championships.

After his playing career was over, John Vodenlich, 2005 “National Coach of the Year” selected Eric, then 22, as a student assistant coach. During the summer he added to his coaching experience by being selected as the head coach of the Wisconsin Rivercats, a 12-year-old All-Star traveling team based in southern Wisconsin and additionally, began giving private hitting lessons for ballplayers ages 12 to 14. 

Upon returning to Whitewater for his final year of studies, he was hired to be the Head Coach of the High School Junior Varsity team, riddled with freshmen and sophomores, at Edgerton, WI.  With hitting performance being a major objective of Coach Greening, the JV team achieved an impressive 19-0 record with a number of games being determined by the 10-run rule.

 In receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in Health & Human Performance with a minor in Coaching in 2007, he completed his internship at Langlade Memorial Hospital under Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Greg Renfro.  During the internship, he ran the SportFit training program, which included a study on acceleration times in the 40-yard sprint; created and ran a 6-week plyometric camp; and conducted a 6-week speed camp. 

Upon graduation, Eric’s passion for the game of baseball and softball led him to Play Ball USA where he was hired to create detailed, sport-specific, customized fitness and training programs for individuals of all ages looking to take their game to the next level.  PlayBall USA is a premier indoor baseball/softball academy in the Chicago area that has experienced exponential growth under the leadership of former professional baseball player Nelson Gord.  After being promoted to Facility Coordinator, Eric decided it was the right time to pursue his lifelong career goal to move his experience and expertise back to the North Central Wisconsin area where he had started his baseball experience.  Eric’s motivation is based on the term “you don’t lose north” and his desire to change the perception of southern teams’ dominance.

In the summer of 2010, Eric was named an Assistant Coach for the Wisconsin Woodchucks. During his time working with the hitters and outfielders, Eric worked with multiple high level college players as well as many who went on to play professional baseball with the Toronto Blue Jays, San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds, Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, among others.


Gregg Langbehn, Baseball Pitching Instructor

Gregg Langbehn, Baseball Pitching Instructor

Gregg Langbehn

Baseball Pitching Instructor

Drafted by the New York Mets in the 11th round of the 1988 MLB draft out of D. C. Everest High School, Gregg pitched for eight seasons (1988-1995) in the Minors, including three seasons at the AAA level. He ended his career with 403 strikeouts in 547 1/3 innings pitched with a career ERA of 3.32. He won at least 10 games three times during his four year stint as a starting pitcher.

Gregg spent 10 seasons (1999-2008) with the Houston Astros Player Development System, working in various capacities.  He served as a pitching coach for two seasons, hitting coach for three seasons and managed for five seasons.   He spent at least one season at every level of the Astros Minor League affiliates.  While managing in the New York Penn League from 2004-2006 he guided the team to two Stedler Division Championships, advancing to the league finals both times.  

Additionally, following the 2005 season, he joined the Houston Astros Major League staff for 10 days in September as the Astros made their only World Series appearance. As a result, he received a National League Championship Series ring. 

Gregg was inducted into the Central Wisconsin Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.

From 2009-2013 Gregg managed the Traverse City (Michigan) Beach Bums, an independent professional team in the Frontier League. During his five seasons, the Beach Bums made the playoffs three times, including a League Finals appearance in 2010, which was the Bums first ever post-season. 

He was named Manager of the Year after the 2012 season after guiding the team to a 64-32 record during the regular season. 

Gregg spent the 2014-2015 seasons with the Cleveland Indians Major League team, working as their Instant Replay Coordinator. Additional duties included assisting the Major League staff on a daily basis with all early work on the field, throwing batting practice, hitting ground balls or taking throws from the infielders and outfielders. 

In December of 2015 Gregg agreed to become the manager of the Washington (PA) Wild Things, an independent professional baseball team in the Frontier League. The 2016 season will be Gregg's 26th year in professional baseball.

Gregg resides in Rothschild with his wife Shelly.  They have a nine year old son Nathan and a five year old daughter Rayna. 


Zach Wendorf, Baseball Pitching Instructor

Zach Wendorf, Baseball Pitching Instructor

Zach wendorf

Baseball Pitching Instructor

Zach Wendorf was signed by the Schaumburg Boomers out of the California Winter League in January of 2015. The 6’5” lefty from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point finished his senior season with a 2-1 record and 4.98 ERA in 10 appearances out of the bullpen. The 23-year-old from Pine River, Wisconsin, struck out 27 in 34 innings for the Pointers in 2014, adding one save.

In 2015 with the Florence Freedom, Zach went 2-1 with a 2.94 ERA in 10 appearances and 5 starts. In 36.2 innings, he struck out 33 while only walking 20. Zach is currently playing with the Florence Freedom in the Frontier League.

 


Stacie Nelson, Fastpitch Pitching Instructor

Stacie Nelson, Fastpitch Pitching Instructor

STACIE NELSON

Softball Pitching Instructor

Stacie is a 2001 graduate of Montague High School, in Montague, MI. She had a successful career as both a pitcher and hitter. She played on her varsity squad as a floater for her freshman and sophomore year before taking over the main pitching spot her junior and senior year. As a junior, she was a standout clean-up hitter and was ranked in the top five spots with her batting average for her conference and area. Her junior year she also received all conference first team, as well as all area honorable mention. Stacie’s senior year did not disappoint, where she pitched her way into the all area tournament conference championship by pitching 19 straight innings in a single day. She also received all conference first team, all area first team and all region honorable mention. Her favorite out pitch in high school was her change up.

After her high school career, Stacie was recruited to play at Muskegon Community College as a pitcher. Other positions played were Right and Left field. Most notable during her two seasons (2002-2003) at Muskegon Community College was a victory over the national champions that year on their home turf, which broke their 40 game home winning streak. Today, Muskegon Community College still has a top notch junior college program by winning the NJCAA national championship in 2010 and coming in 6th place in 2012.

After her junior collegiate career, Stacie transferred to Michigan State University to pursue a BS degree in Agricultural Science. She has been working in the agricultural industry since graduating in 2006, when her most recent career move brought her to Wausau in June 2013 to work as a Retail Account Manager for DuPont Crop Protection.

As a young teenager, Stacie played many years of summer league sanctioned by Little League. Pitching did not spark her interest until her 8th grade year as something she wanted to pursue. However, there were not many places that offered additional training for softball. Her mother, Marta, and father, Arved, wanted to make sure they were doing what they could to help their children succeed in whatever they chose to do. Since Stacie’s freshman year of high school, father Arved, would drive her and her younger sister over an hour every week to attend pitching and hitting lessons. Stacie has assisted over her Varsity and College career with assisting pitchers in clinics as well as helped her father out who became the Varsity Softball coach at Montague after Stacie graduated. She is very excited to have the opportunity to help young and upcoming pitchers/hitters in her backyard without having to drive over an hour to do so!


Stacey Marcum with Team USA in 2013 in Australia

Stacey Marcum with Team USA in 2013 in Australia

**New instructor!!!**

Stacey Marcum

Softball Hitting & Pitching Instructor

Stacey is a 2009 graduate of Merrill High School, in Merrill, WI.  During her time at Merrill High School she played on the varsity squad as a pitcher and utility player.  With much pitching and hitting success, Stacey was named the Great Northern Conference Player of the Year and was a unanimous vote for First Team Utility Player her senior year.  

After graduation, Stacey went on to play at the University of Minnesota, Crookston (2009-2013) as a pitcher. She has played in one of the most competitive Division II Conferences (NCAA) in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference with schools based in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa.  After becoming a starting pitcher her freshman year, she also played a vital role in the heart of the batting line up as well.  She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication with an emphasis in Sport Marketing

Stacey was nominated to play for the USA Athletes International program where she was a member of the softball team who represented Team USA, in Australia, in the summer of 2013. She was a pitcher and a catcher for that team who played at the Olympic Stadium in Sydney, Australia.

In 2014, Stacey went to graduate school to pursue a Master’s degree in Kinesiology and Sport Studies at East Tennessee State University (ETSU).  She was a graduate assistant for athletic academics and interned for the ETSU softball team (Division I, Southern Conference) helping with bullpen and hitting sessions for the past two seasons.  She has also taught softball skills for RBI Tri-Cities camps in Johnson City, TN.  


Dan Bastle, Baseball/Fastpitch Hitting & Infield Instructor

Dan Bastle, Baseball/Fastpitch Hitting & Infield Instructor

Dan Bastle

Baseball/Softball Hitting & Defense Instructor

Dan attended and played baseball at Triton Junior College from 1990 to 1992 and finished his college playing career at UW-Stevens Point in 1994.  Dan played for the Antigo Cardinals from 1992 to 1997 – he says the highlight of his career was playing with Greg Langbehn and Andy Augustine.  He has coached all levels of baseball starting in 2003, most recently as the Antigo Varsity Head Coach.  Dan is married with three kids, he loves the outdoors and is passionate about learning and studying the Bible.   I like to focus on the fundamentals, keeping the game fun and simple. 


Bill Held, Baseball Pitching & Baseball/Fastpitch Hitting Instructor

Bill Held, Baseball Pitching & Baseball/Fastpitch Hitting Instructor

Bill Held

Baseball Pitching & Hitting Instructor

Bill is a graduate from Whitewater High School where he played all four years for his Father and WIAA Coaching Hall of Fame Inductee; Lynn Held.  He earned All-State Honors as a Utility player in his Sophomore year and Honorable Mention All-State Pitching honors both as a Junior and Senior.  Bill accepted a scholarship to play collegiately as a pitcher and 3rd baseman for Winona State University in Minnesota.

After two years with Winona State, a shoulder injury cut short his time with the Warriors and Bill took an opportunity to sign a 3-month commitment to play internationally for the Hamburg Stealers in the German Baseball-Bundesliga.  While playing in Northern Germany he was invited to represent Germany in an international tournament in Oldenzaal, Netherlands.  He then finished both of his degrees at Winona State in Business Administration and Human Resource Management.

After graduating, Bill launched his coaching career spending two years as 9th grade Head Coach for Owatonna High School in Minnesota.  In 2012 Bill moved to Stevens Point and has now settled into Central Wisconsin.  Today he continues to actively pitch and play 3rd base for the Plover Pterodactyls in the BABA League.


Alex Bembenek, Instructor/ThunderJaxx Coach

Alex Bembenek, Instructor/ThunderJaxx Coach

Alex bembenek

Baseball/Softball Hitting Instructor/ThunderJaxx Coach

Alex grew up in Rosholt, WI where he played varsity baseball for Rosholt High School for 4 years. In 2 of those 4 years, Alex's team made it to the state tournament. In the summers, Alex played 2 seasons with the ThunderJaxx in 2010 and 2011.

After high school, Alex played collegiate baseball at Triton College in River Grove, Illinois (D1 junior college) as a 3B/SS. Alex continued playing baseball in the summer in a local amateur baseball league.

His previous coaching experience includes working as an assistant for Rosholt High School baseball for 3 seasons as well as an assistant varsity basketball coach for 1 season.

Alex currently works full time for Asplundh tree expert company. Baseball has always been his passion and he also enjoys hunting and fishing.
 


Charlie Hessil

Baseball/Softball Hitting/Catching Instructor

Charlie Hessil, a Wausau West graduate of 2015, played four years of both baseball and soccer. He played one season with the Thunderjaxx in the fall of 2013 and summer of 2014.  

He spent three summers playing American Legion Baseball (2014-2016) with the Wausau Post

10 Bulldogs.  He played his two seasons of varsity baseball at Wausau West under Head Coach

Eric Greening in 2014 and 2015.  In Charlie’s senior season he was the epitome of a utility

player making an appearance at every position, except centerfield, in a conference game.  He 

was fifth in the conference in batting with a .421 BA in 38 AB.  He also led the team in multiple 

hitting categories including hits (16), doubles (3), and RBI (9). 

 

After high school Charlie went on to play one year of college baseball at Lackawanna College, a

D-II Junior College located in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  He played in 30 games with the Falcons 

hitting .264 in 53 at-bats.  He contributed offensively by hitting 2 home runs, driving in 10, 

scoring 9, and stealing 4 bases. 

 

Charlie is currently enrolled in the Criminal Justice Program at Northcentral Technical College 

with hopes of becoming a Law Enforcement Officer in the near future.  During his free time he 

enjoys hunting, disc golf, playing sports, and basically anything outdoors. 


Justin Berg, Pitching Camp Instructor

Justin Berg, Pitching Camp Instructor

JUSTIN BERG

Camp Instructor

After getting called up to the Chicago Cubs late in the year, Justin proved he deserved to stay. In his first year as a Major League pitcher, Justin was one of the most dependable arms coming out of the Cubs bullpen appearing in 11 games, giving up only 1 run, striking out 7, while facing some of the best hitters in the world, including the 2009 World Series participant, Philadelphia Phillies.

* Acquired by the Chicago Cubs from the New York Yankees for OF Matt Lawton on Aug. 26, 2005.
* Originally selected by the Yankees in the 43rd round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft out of Triton (River Grove, Ill.) Junior College...scouted by Steve Lerake.
*Justin Berg made his major league debut on April 3rd, 2009 against the New York Yankees at the newly built Yankee Stadium.
*Pitched in 60 games over 3 seasons of Major League Baseball with the Chicago Cubs.
*Just completed his first season with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, compiling a 2-2 record with a 3.19 ERA and 6 saves in 25.1 innings.


Brett Ziegel, Camp Instructor/13u Jaxx Coach

Brett Ziegel, Camp Instructor/13u Jaxx Coach

BRETT ZIEGEL

Camp Instructor/13u ThunderJaxx Coach

Email: brett@premiersportsacademy.org

Brett is a graduate of Wausau West High School where he enjoyed a successful career in baseball.  In his Junior season he was named First Team All-Conference as an Outfielder and also went on to earn All-State honorable mention as an Outfielder as well.  During his Senior season he was named First Team All-Conference as a Pitcher and as an Outfielder.  Brett was also named Wisconsin Valley Conference Player of the Year, along with District 2 Player of the Year and then went on to earn Second Team All-State as a Pitcher.  Brett was captain of the team and led West to the state tournament his Senior year.

After graduation, Brett went on to play at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point as a Pitcher.  He played one year before arm problems ended his career.  Currently he is enrolled at UWSP as a student.

Brett was also a member of the first Wisconsin Baseball Academy Thunder Jaxx team.  He trained at the academy his Junior and Senior year where he participated in Velocity Camp and also pitching and hitting lessons.  Brett claims that the Wisconsin Baseball Academy had a huge impact on his successful career and is looking to give kids the same opportunity that he had.

Brett is entering his 2nd full year as instructor/facility coordinator at the Academy and looks forward to continuing to work with all of the boys and girls who he's helped over the last year.


Matt Steingraber, Football Instructor

Matt Steingraber, Football Instructor

Football Instructors

Matt Steingraber

Football Instructor / Facility Coordinator

Email: matt@premiersportsacademy.org

Matt went to high school at Fox Valley Lutheran High School in Appleton, WI. At FVL he was the starting fullback. He also played safety and linebacker on defense. 

After high school Matt went on to play at Martin Lutheran College where he played primarily running back. He also played as a reserve quarterback during an injury filled freshman year seeing action in two games as a backup quarterback. He was also a big contributor on special teams as a punt returner and on kick and punt coverage.

After finishing as a player, Matt continued to give back to the sport as a high school official while attending Minnesota State University - Mankato where he earned his Masters in Sport Management. As part of his Master's program he spent 6 months working in New Zealand with University Sport New Zealand, the collegiate governing body for New Zealand athletics. Returning to the US, Matt became an athletic director at St. Andrew Lutheran School in Chicago, IL.

Currently Matt has married to his wife Stephanie for two years. He is the varsity running backs coach for Antigo High School. He is also currently working towards his Doctorate in Sport Management with an emphasis in Coaching.