Encounter Teammates

Meet our instructors

Travis Thompson | Baseball Instructor

Travis Thompson was born in Matthews, NC, and attended Providence Senior High School. He was a member of the 1995 4A State Championship Team where he played Shortstop for the Panthers. In 2018, Travis was inducted into the Providence High School Baseball Hall of Fame. After high school, Thompson received a scholarship to attend East Carolina University. For the Pirates, Thompson started at shortstop his freshman and sophomore seasons, where he was a member of the Student Athletic Advisory Council. As a junior at ECU, newly hired Coach Keith LeClair moved Travis from shortstop to the mound as a pitcher. After a successful senior year campaign, Thompson earned All-Conference and All-American honors to close out his college career. In 1999, Thompson signed with the Cincinnati Reds where he did not give up an “earned run” through his first 45 innings of Professional Baseball. In 2000, between stints at Low A, High A, and Double A, Thompson was named Minor League Pitcher of the Year by all 30 major league organizations. He recorded a 17-6 record with over 200 innings pitched (including minor league playoffs) and a 2.6 ERA. He was awarded a spot on the Midwest League All-Star team with notable players: Albert Pujols, Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns, Jake Peavy, and John Lackey. Travis went on to play for 8+ seasons with the Reds, Phillies, Blue Jays, Indians, and Rangers organizations. Travis is married to his wife Mindy and enjoys coaching his 3 sons: Brady, Braxton and Boden.

Zack McCoury | Baseball Instructor

Zack moved to Charlotte, NC, from Canton, OH. He attended Ashland University - a Division II program where he played 3b and Pitcher. The Eagles made two World Series appearances during his time at Ashland. Coach Zack is a PE/Health teacher for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. He has coached at some of the area's top high school programs - Providence High School, South Mecklenburg High School, and was part of the opening staff at Audrey Kell High School winning a State Championship win in 2009. Coach Zack is currently the Head Baseball Coach at JM Robinson Middle School and also coaches travel baseball for Five Star.

Collin Thacker | Baseball Instructor

Collin is an SBA alum (2011-2013) from Wilmington, NC. He graduated from Gardner Webb University in 2013 with a BS in Healthcare Management. He currently holds the record of the highest batting average in GWU Division I history with a .345 average. During his time at GWU, Collin posted 218 hits, 122 RBIs, 16 home runs, and a slugging percentage of .499. He also boasts 49 doubles during his time at GWU, 28 of those doubles occurring during the 2016 season, which led the NCAA Division I. In addition to the stats, Collin was named to the Louisville Slugger Second Team All American in 2016, First Team All Big South 2016 and 2017, Preseason All American in 2017, and Big South Preseason Player of the Year. Prior to joining the staff at SBA, he played independent baseball with the Utica Unicorns of the USPL.

Tomas Cruz | Baseball Instructor

Coach Cruz is a native of Amarillo, Texas, where he graduated from Amarillo High School in 2006. From there, he began his college career at Seward County Community College in Liberal, Kansas. During Tomas’ sophomore year, he anchored the Seward Saints’ pitching staff with an 11-3 record and a 2.22 ERA in 81 innings pitched. He struck out a record high 85 batters and walked only 11, in 14 appearances. Cruz tossed seven complete games and two shutouts while becoming the first Saints pitcher to win 11 games since 2004. While there, he was named the Jayhawk West Most Valuable Player, First Team All-Conference, First Team All-Region VI, and named to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I Baseball 2nd Team All-American. After Seward, Cruz continued his college career by signing his National Letter of Intent to pitch at Clemson University. At Clemson, Cruz served as a bullpen pitcher for the Tigers. During his two years at Clemson, Cruz helped lead the Tigers to two Super Regional Appearances and one College World Series appearance. In his final appearance as a Tiger, at the College World Series, Cruz pitched three scoreless innings in relief. Following the CWS, Cruz went back to the west to pitch for the Liberal Bee-Jays. He posted a 2-0 record with four saves and a 0.56 ERA during the regular season as a closer. In the NBS World Series, he appeared in 5 out of 8 games, picking up two wins and a save. Cruz led the Bee-Jays to a NBS World Series win, with 3 ½ innings of work allowing no hits, no runs and 5 strikeouts. Following the 2010 season, Cruz stayed at Clemson as a student assistant pitching coach and a student assistant strength and conditioning coach. In 2011, Cruz served as the Graduate Assistant for Wingate University. There he was the pitching coach, a recruiter, fitness instructor and the strength and conditioning coach.

Stephanie Hucko | Speed and Agility Trainer

Originally from Melbourne Australia, Stephanie has lived in Charlotte for 16 years. She is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Stephanie has over 25 years of experience as a Personal Trainer and specializes in training youth athletes. She has two teenagers who are baseball players, so she understands the strength and fitness demands of the game for overhead athletes. For the past several years, she has been working with teams at SBA in the off season as their strength and conditioning coach. Stephanie is a lifelong athlete herself, competing in a range of sports including softball, netball, track and field, boxing, and Ironman Triathlons. She is currently ranked number 2 Tower runner in the USA, competing in over 50 stair climbing races!

Nick Davis | Speed and Agility Trainer

Head Coach and Owner of Finest Athletics, Nick Davis, has played organized sports for over 20 years. Davis played quarterback for Moorpark College in California before earning a scholarship and transferring to play for Merrimack College in Massachusetts. Decades of experience in sports has armed Coach Nick with training techniques and sports knowledge that gave him a competitive advantage against his opponents. Now, his goal is to share his knowledge and training techniques to give other athletes a competitive edge. Through this, Finest Athletics was formed.

Register today!
Encounter Baseball will host Summer Camps starting June of 2023, led by some of our baseball community leaders that have accomplished careers at the Professional and Collegiate Level. We will be hosting Encounter Baseball Camps at South Charlotte Old Providence Elementary School. All players ages 6-13 are able to attend. Each camp session will be capped to ensure optimal Staff to Player ratios.  
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