BASEBALL / SOFTBALL
This program was created by Jody Gerut. Now residing in Oak Park, Jody was a Major League outfielder with the Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers, and Seattle Mariners over an eight-year period. He was named 2003 Rookie of the Year by The Sporting News, and was named the 12th smartest athlete in professional sports in 2010. He and his wife Mary are Stanford University graduates with three young children active in various park district programs throughout the year.
Here is a list of Jody’s various accomplishments over the years:
-High School Baseball All-American, 1995
-Team USA gold medalist, junior national team, 1995
-Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Tribune Player of the Year, 1995
-Full baseball scholarship to Stanford University, 1995
-Freshman All American, Stanford, 1996
-Two-time Cape Cod Collegiate Baseball League All Star, Harwich Mariners, 1996 and 1997
-College World Series, Stanford, 1997
-Two-time All Pac-10 baseball team, Stanford, 1997 and 1998
-College All-American, Stanford, 1998
-Defensive Player of the Year, Pac-10 Conference, 1998
-Played every inning of every game for Stanford’s baseball team between 1996-1998
-2nd round draft pick, Colorado Rockies, 1998
-Carolina League (High Class A) All Star, 1999
-Stanford University graduate, Class of ’99, Bachelor of Arts-History
-First called up to the Major Leagues with the Cleveland Indians, 2003
-Became the first Indian in 25 years to hit 20 home runs or more as a rookie
-The Sporting News MLB Rookie of the Year, 2003
-City of Cleveland Sports Writers Association Sportsman of the Year, 2003
-MLB Player’s Association Representative, 2003-2010
-Was the first hitter in New York Mets’ stadium’s Citi Field history in 2009
-First player in MLB history to hit a home run in a new ballpark as the game’s first hitter, placed in Cooperstown, New York’s MLB Baseball Hall of Fame for the achievement
-Citi Field’s first hit, first run scored, first RBI, first HR, and first outfield assist (threw out Jose Reyes in the inaugural game’s first inning).
-Named “The Sporting News” 12th smartest athlete in pro sports, 2010
-Hit for the cycle (single, double, triple, home run in the same game) as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers, 2010
-Played under such baseball hitting instructors as Eddie Murray, Clint Hurdle, Don Baylor, Derek Shelton, Buddy Bell, Wally Joyner, and many others.
In addition to Coach Jody, MAPP Baseball has a variety of instructors from different backgrounds. Each coach is carefully considered before being added as a coach. Their character, integrity, and ability to coach MAPP methods are all evaluated and approved. A certified MAPP Hitting instructor is a coach who has consistently shown their ability to evaluate mechanics AND recommend approach to hitters.
Coach Kellen Kmiecik comes to MAPP Sports after a lengthy pro player career overseas. A resident of La Grange, Coach Kellen attended Fenwick High School in Oak Park, then went on to Marietta College in Ohio and Southern Wesleyan College in South Carolina. He played professionally in Australia and Sweden before retiring from the game as a player in 2014. Along the way, he’s maintained a strong position in the community as a high-quality youth baseball instructor. Kellen has worked with thousands of players at every level of the game and is a certified MAPP Hitting instructor. MAPP Sports is privileged to have him as a part of its program.
From the same Kmiecik family, Kyle Kmiecik, Coach Kellen’s brother, is an instructor with MAPP Sports as well. Coach Kyle also attended Fenwick High School and went on to play at Milikin College before joining Kellen at Southern Wesleyan University in South Carolina. Coach Kyle is currently a teacher and assistant varsity baseball coach at Fenwick High School. Like Kellen, Coach Kyle has a strong presence within the Oak Park and River Forest community as a baseball instructor and high-character individual. He is married and resides in La Grange.
Coach Isaac Valdez comes to MAPP Sports as a 15-year veteran of baseball and softball instruction. Coach Isaac has a great reputation as an instructor in the Western and South Suburbs where he has trained players who went on to play collegiately and professionally. His testimonials overflow with strong recommendations as an infield and catching professional, and equally as a hitting instructor. Isaac is a certified MAPP Hitting Instructor and understands the MAPP concept as well as anyone. He’s technically strong in indentifying mechanical flaws of hitters and fixing them quickly in the MAPP Method. He attended St. Laurence High School on the city’s south side, is a resident of Chicago, and is an assistant head coach at Harper Junior College.
Coach Eric Scott has been with MAPP Sports since its inception and his tenure with us has been incredible. Also a certified MAPP Hitting instructor, Coach Eric attended Willowbrook High School in Villa Park and is currently an assistant head coach at Montini High School. Eric’s strength as a coach is hitting and catching. He frequently lectures at coaches clinics on catching instruction and maintains a firm group of followers for catching and hitting instruction. Eric is a resident of Hoffman Estates and covers the Northwest suburbs for MAPP Sports. He is highly regarded as an instructor and has several collegiate players to his credit. We are happy to have Coach Eric as a steady piece to our program.
Coach Angelo Spatoulas has also been with MAPP Sports since its inception. Angelo originally came to us as an intern and he impressed us with his strong baseball instruction skills as well as his impressive administrative skills. Coach Angelo is a student at DePaul University and is co-head of the DePaul Baseball Club Team. He works with MAPP Sports in its clinics and classes. He’s terrific in his interactions with young players and has a patient disposition, which suits his focus on beginning players. He’s originally from Crystal Lake, IL.
Coach Nick Naranjo is a college head coach in the making. Currently the pitching coach at Harper Junior College, Coach Nick co-created the MAPP Pitching Program which we implement into all of our training for both position player throwing and pitching itself. Still very young, Nick has proven himself to be worthy of a collegiate coaching job while still in his mid-20’s. His evaluation skills have been very valuable to the Harper Baseball program, and to his current and former travel teams under his tutelage have thrived in competition. He resides in Lake in the Hills, IL and played baseball at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri.
Coach George Ushela is a well-respected pitching coach that needs no introduction. Coach Ushela is known in Illinois coaching circles for guiding Lyons Township High School’s storied baseball program to its lofty heights. In 2001, Coach Ushela and the Lions finished with a 30-13 record while finishing fourth in the state tournament. Since then he has arguably been the most successful high school baseball coach in Illinois. 348 victories, 7 conference championships, 8 regional titles, 6 sectional championships, 5 Elite Eight appearances, 2 spring IHSA State Championships, and 4 summer IHSBCA State Championships. He is destined for the Illinois High School Baseball Hall of Fame.
Coach Ushela focuses his pitching programs on control and pitch sequencing, while using visualization and mental exercises to hone the pitcher’s mental toughness and ability. He also specializes in teaching the correct way to throw the curveball. Coach Ushela’s programs are very effective, safe, and highly regarded as one of the best in the Chicagoland area. He resides in Westmont, IL and is available for pitching lessons and clinics.
Coach Andrew Godbold is not actually a full-blown coach, he’s still playing as a professional. Drew is a current member of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and contributes to MAPP camps and clinics during his offseason. He attended Oak Park and River Forest High School, and went on to Southeastern Louisiana after a stop at Triton Junior College. He was drafted, signed, and went on to begin his pro career in 2014.
Coach Drew is working to finish his MAPP certification but is a highly valued to us. A local product of the Oak Park system gives Drew a unique insight on youth players within our area. His playing experience is being helped by his coaching experience, and vice versa. Coach Jody works with Drew in the off-seasons on his swing mechanics and approach, and we wish Drew all of the very best for a prosperous professional career. We are lucky to have him when he is home.
Coach Ryan Curry is part of our extended network of MAPP Instructors. Coach Ryan resides in Jupiter, FL and is one of our online video analysis evaluators. Ryan is also the director of MAPP Sports for the southeast United States. Our reach into the southeast is a new initiative and only for baseball.
Ryan’s career in baseball is impressive. Ryan grew up in the Chicagoland area and attended Downers Grove South High School where he was voted an All-State shortstop. He was a scholarship athlete at Bradley University under long time Braves Coach Dewey Kalmer. Ryan holds the all-time hits record at Bradley University. His career at Bradley then led him to a professional career in the Miami Marlins organization from 2007 – 2012 where he was a middle infielder and utility player in the organization. His experience at multiple positions and playing solely for the Marlins led him back into professional baseball in 2014 where he was an infield & hitting coach for the Marlins. For the past 8 years Ryan has been training baseball players in the Chicago area and throughout the country, with multiple going on to play collegiate baseball, and professionally.
Here are some other highlights from Ryan’s career:
• Selected in the 21st round of the MLB Draft by the Miami Marlins in 2007
• 2007 Jamestown Position Player of the Year
• 2008 South Atlantic League Player of the Month
• 2010 Voted Best 2nd Basemen in AA
• 2010 Southern League Champ
• 2010 Arizona Fall League player for manager Don Mattingly
We at MAPP Sports are privileged to have Ryan with us.
Coach Chad Porter is another core part of our extended network outside Chicago. Coach Chad’s playing, coaching, and teaching experience is extensive. He played for Ohio Valley University and Heidelburg University. He went on to earn a Master’s Degree at West Virginia University and has taught college courses in kinesiology, nutrition, fitness, and several other categories. Coach Chad moved into coaching and became head coach of Ohio Valley University and Texas A&M International University.. He currently serves as athletic director of Ohio Valley University, and despite his promotion to the AD position he still serves the baseball team as an assistant coach.
Coach Chad joins MAPP Sports as an online evaluator. His evaluation skills and attention to detail make Chad a clear candidate for future certification as a MAPP Hitting Instructor. His strong technical skills with swing mechanics and his confidence-instilling delivery style make him a highly sought-after evaluator. He resides in West Virginia with his family.
MAPP Coach - Soccer
MAPP Soccer is led by Pedro Loza. Coach Pedro is originally coming to us from Mexico. He was a soccer professional in Mexico for 10 years and has several thriving youth programs throughout Chicago. Coach Pedro’s Douglas Park teams play in competitive tournaments all year long and has enjoyed long-lasting success. He also maintains a soccer program at La Casa Montessori School in Oak Park for very young players, ages 3-6, and 7-12.
Coach Pedro has a big heart for the ‘beautiful game’ and understands how to work with kids and makes the training very enjoyable for them. He has strong emphasis on dribbling, footwork, and individual skills training. He also focuses his players on becoming more aware of the general rhythm and flow of how professional players view the field and their teammates.
Coach Pedro is fluent in English and Spanish. He works with four other soccer coaches to provide instruction. He’s also married with a son and daughter and lives in Cicero.
MAPP Coach - Basketball
MAPP Basketball Programming is directed by former professional basketball player, Arthur Lee. Arthur grew up in Los Angeles, CA and attended Stanford University on a basketball scholarship. He went on to play professionally in Europe for many years and returned to the United States upon his retirement from active play. Because of Coach Arthur’s strong communication skills he transitioned very quickly into coaching and mentoring. He’s worked as a fitness trainer and with the Chicago Bulls Charter School in Chicago.
Coach Art’s focus in basketball is on two aspects: individual skills training and court awareness. Similar to Coach Pedro in soccer, Coach Art tends to first focus on the individual’s skill set before introducing advanced team concepts into a player’s workload. Once that player has sufficient individual skills, Coach Art’s focus will shift toward team movement and team rhythm- working together to create opportunities.
Coach Art’s awards and achievements:
- An Associated Press honorable mention All-American during his senior season
- Gained numerous post-season awards during his senior season including All Pac-10
- Also nominated for the John Wooden and Naismith Awards, and the Oscar Robertson Trophy
- The first Stanford basketball player to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated (college basketball pre-season issue)
- His career free throw percentage of .866 is #2 all-time in Stanford history, and fourth-best in Pac-10 history
- The current NCAA Tournament record holder in free throw percentage … In 12 NCAA games, Lee made 58-of-62 free throws for .935
- Won the Pac-10 free throw title two years in a row
- Ranks in the Top 10 in seven career categories in the school record book
- Scored 13 of Stanford’s final 17 points to lead the Cardinal to a 79-77 victory and a berth in the NCAA Final Four
- Won the Croatian National Championship and Cup in 2000/01 with KK Cibona Zagreb.