Meet our instructors

Chris Deleo

OWNER
PITCHING, HITTING & GENERAL SKILLS

PLAYING / COACHING EXPERIENCE:

  • Started playing baseball at age four.
  • Starting attending Cooperstown annually during hall of fame induction weekend when I was four years old.
  • Met many professional ball players, some of which I am still in contact with to this day.
  • Was in Auburn Astros dug out at seven year old-attended annual clinics with Auburn Astros. My sister sung the national anthem at that time.
  • Won Auburn Boys and Girls Championship for Rockies
  • Won city championship in Auburn little league.
  • Played All-star baseball for Auburn little league.
  • Attended LeMoyne winter and summer clinics and camps to better learn the game and later teach it.
  • Played Collegiate baseball at OCC for Brian Gall.
  • Played Collegiate Fall baseball at CCC for TJ Gamba
  • Played baseball in the city of Syracuse and currently in Rochester MSBL.
  • Affiliated with several Semi-Pro and some Pro ball players that will be available at various times to assist with Camps, Clinics, etc. – More on that come later!

GAME KNOWLEDGE AND PHILOSOPHY:

I currently play baseball in a very competitive Adult Baseball League in Rochester, NY. I have extensive knowledge of the sport of baseball and softball from youth to the professional end of the game. I have people I am in contact with that are professional baseball and softball players, both professional and Olympic level. I am a current and constant student of ergonomics, mechanics, fundamentals, etc. I am flexible, make training fun and love the game of baseball and softball and want to pass that on to my student athletes and parents. I am a father of an aspiring softball star someday that is ten months old and already has her own glove and bat! Associated with Jeff Spada, creator and current owner of HitZ Ithaca, we are working currently on our mission to have a very fun, safe, and effective baseball academy training program as well as a facility that helps young players new to baseball/softball find their way to the game. I have plenty of experience and enthusiasm and will make your athlete’s development a priority by maintaining the excellent facility and coaching reputation while growing that further with some great new things upcoming in 2020. Please contact me at hitzbaseballny@gmail.com with any questions or call me at (Cell) 315-567-3051.

I am in the final stages of becoming the new owner of HitZ Ithaca Batting Cages and am very excited to work with Jeff during the next few months for transition of the business while I continue doing the great things he started in this business and grow the hours and offerings, programs, etc. to best serve our baseball and softball communities.  I look forward to meeting each of you to answer any questions or to share in some open dialogue about this great game! You’ll find in short order I love this sport and want all the athletes to accomplish their goals of which hopefully HitZ and my abilities can be helpful in doing so! Looking forward to getting past this crazy start to 2020 and get our athletes back out playing baseball and softball as soon as possible!

Coach Katie Hickey

SOFTBALL PITCHING & SKILLS COACH

SOFTBALL & COACHING EXPERIENCE:

  • Played Division II softball for Texas Woman’s University in Denton, TX.
  • 2017 Regional Champions
  • Named to the 2016 Lonestar Conference All Tournament Team
  • 4 year varsity starter in high school with all-district accolades every year

About: I’ve played softball since I was 7, and began pitching my very first practice. Throughout high school, I played other positions too, mainly first base and outfield, before exclusively pitching in college. My biggest strength pitching-wise was my ability to control the ball and have great spin. I know, and can teach, nearly every pitch you can think of!

Coach Josh Mitchell

PITCHING & HITTING & GENERAL DEFENSE COACH

BASEBALL & COACHING EXPERIENCE:

  • Playing Experience:
  • Ithaca HS Varsity Baseball
  • Upstate Chill (Corning based ECTB team)
  • Brockport Club Baseball
  • Freshman Year – Finished 8th in the nation for NCBA Div II.

BACKGROUND:

I am a 2014 graduate of Ithaca High School. I played baseball for Ithaca High School’s baseball program. I have since moved on to SUNY Brockport to pursue a degree in both Exercise Science and Kinesiology with a minor in Coaching. I also was a member of their Club Baseball team. Now that the finish line is in sight, I’m very eager to make my first steps into the world of coaching and training.

COACHING EXPERIENCE:

I have spent a good deal of time giving instruction to younger athletes throughout my HS and College years. I used to be a part of the Pitch Doctor pitching clinics that were held weekly at BJM elementary before I left high school. I also have taken a slew of courses in coaching philosophy and strategy from some of the best college coaches in NY. I was one of the primary players on the Brockport Club Baseball team that worked with pitchers and their mechanics during practices as we were a self-governed organization without an adult coaching staff. I have also recently joined Ithaca Babe Ruth League as a coach,  I was assisting the 14u Ithaca Inlet Monsters throughout their 2018 summer tournament season and am head coach of 13U Travel Team for 2019.

I understand the mechanics and roles of every position on the diamond as I was a very versatile player and spent time at every position at every level. My first love was pitching, and that is also the position with which I have the most instructional experience. I had some of the best hitting and pitching instructors in the area work with me throughout my career which have given me a wealth of knowledge regarding mechanics, strategy, and drills to pass along that will give the athletes the tools they need to reach their full potential.

One thing other than my extensive baseball knowledge that I bring to the table is my background in strength and conditioning as a future exercise physiologist. I can bring a quality training program that is baseball specific to improve strength, speed, power, and therefore performance. Also, my program will be effective in preventing injuries as the most frequent cause of injury is being under-conditioned.

I generally can address the needs of my athletes without weights (the classic sense of weightlifting) and can be recreated at home with minimal equipment. I am also extremely mindful of the age of the players as I create these programs as to not over-stress their developing joints. My preferences tend to be plyometric exercises for explosion and power, agility and speed drills, and strength training using body weight, medicine balls, kettle-bells, J-Bands, and occasionally dumbbells.

Coach Ray Ackerman

CATCHING – BASEBALL & SOFTBALL

As a youth growing up in Upstate NY, I played several sports. However, by far, my favorites were baseball and hockey. They seemed like great complementary sports; baseball in the summer and hockey in the winter. As a ball player my main position was catcher, where I played through youth sports, although, at times, I played third base and center field. I was very fortunate to have great coaches that took the time to teach me the proper mechanics of catching.

During my early years, and while working for my home town’s Parks and Recreation Department I coached youth baseball in the summer time, as well as, umpired baseball games. My favorite umpire position was calling balls and strikes from behind the plate.

While in college my attention turned to golf but baseball was still dear to my heart. So, in order to stay close to the game I took on an internship on the New Paltz College baseball team, helping out the coaching staff while learning how to manage teams, as well as coach ball players on the fundamentals and mechanics of baseball, primarily focusing on catchers.

After graduating from college my attention shifted and building my career in Social Work became my primary focus. However, sports continued to be a touch stone in my life. Today I remain active in hockey as a player and coach, cycling and golf.

After marrying and starting a family my children re-engaged me into the world of coaching baseball. Over the past 4 years I have served as an assistant coach for one of our local Cal Ripken baseball teams. My primary role has been to work with catchers and, in a progressive way, introduce them to the world of catching. Coupled with this, in 2016, I was the catching coach for the 13U Cal Ripken girls’ softball team, as well as, worked with youths in groups and individual sessions to help build proper skills, mechanics and to excel as a catcher.

My coaching philosophy is simple, respect everyone’s learning curve, teach proper mechanics, make it challenging and fun and create great athletes and team mates.

Sports are truly a wonderful tool to build physically fit and emotionally resilient kids. It provides for them experiences that prepare them for the challenges of life. When kids are afforded the proper instructions to achieve in sports it sets them up for success, thus setting the stage for positive experiences and continued success.

Coach John Rizzo

HITTING & FIELDING COACH

BASEBALL COACHING EXPERIENCE:

  • Assistant coach Ithaca College Varsity Baseball
  • Head Coach Ithaca College JV Baseball
  • Previously coached at Cayuga Community College
  • Previously coached at Keuka College
  • Summer coach in the ICBL (Collegiate) and UBL (High School)

AS A PLAYER:

  • 4 year starter Keuka College
  • Held 8 school records at time of graduation
  • 1st team all conference
  • 3rd team all region
  • .538 OBP ranked 10th in the nation (2018)

PHILOSOPHY:

Most importantly whenever coaching a team or helping an individual my philosophy is helping them develop as better men. I feel the game of baseball is an excellent teacher of the game of life. I focus on minute details and developing players a feel for my teachings. It’s much easier to make adjustments if you can feel or see that adjustment. My expertise is hitting and infield work as I’ve done both at the collegiate level.

Coach Seth Cameron

HITTING COACH, OFFENSE & DEFENSE

Ithaca High School JV Head Coach
Former IHS Varsity Asst. Coach

BASEBALL COACHING EXPERIENCE:

  • Assistant coach Ithaca College Varsity Baseball
  • Head Coach Ithaca College JV Baseball
  • Previously coached at Cayuga Community College
  • Previously coached at Keuka College
  • Summer coach in the ICBL (Collegiate) and UBL (High School)

AS A PLAYER:

  • 4 year starter Keuka College
  • Held 8 school records at time of graduation
  • 1st team all conference
  • 3rd team all region
  • .538 OBP ranked 10th in the nation (2018)

PHILOSOPHY:

Most importantly whenever coaching a team or helping an individual my philosophy is helping them develop as better men. I feel the game of baseball is an excellent teacher of the game of life. I focus on minute details and developing players a feel for my teachings. It’s much easier to make adjustments if you can feel or see that adjustment. My expertise is hitting and infield work as I’ve done both at the collegiate level.