Great Lakes Region NTIS, USA Baseball.

Congratulations to all the players who will be participateing in the event and for giving it your all. the final decisions will not be easy because of the very good players at all levels.

Whether you made the regional team or not you should be very proud for coming out and you will be part of our family for many years to come.

If a player declines the roster spot then we will go on to the next player so check your e-mails all the day 21st of August.

Caliendo Sports for the fourth year in a row to host the Great Lakes Region USA Baseball National Team Identification Series in five states, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota . To register or for more information please go to

NTIS Video Highlight:

Great lakes region coaching staff heading to Cary has 3 High school coaches who are in the American Baseball Coaches Associations Hall of Fame, Jim Hall, Terry Ayers and Tom O’connell, along with former 1999 Team USA Player and former St. Louis Cardinals coach Dan Held. Final coaches are a couple of top professional Instructors from the Chicago White Sox Academy Justin Stone and Play Ball USA Nelson Gord.

A special thank you to a great staff:

Without the help of all these great baseball coaches and men, we would not be able to accomplish the things we do in the Great Lakes Region. They have a love for the game and a love to help young players get better.

The Great Lakes Regional NTIS Staff, USA Baseball

Peter Caliendo: Great Lakes Region Director

Tom O’Connell: Special Assistant to the Director/WI

Jim Richardson: Baseball Operations Manager/Director Recruiting/Indiana

Darin Everson: Director Recruiting, Wisconsin

Bobby Roan, Evaluator, Illinois

Regional Coaches/Workout Instructors:

17 u

Jim Hall     IL

Dan Held   IN

15 U

Terry Ayers        IL

Paul Twenge      MN

13 U

Nelson Gord       IL

Justin Stone       IL

Peter Caliendo

Director: Great Lakes Region

Pete brings unmatched experience and expertise to the development of baseball skills to players and coaches. His vast knowledge and worldwide presence has earned Pete immeasurable respect within the baseball community. His devotion to the game of baseball is greatly admired by those who have crossed his path.

Pete is currently the President of Caliendo Sports International, a worldwide baseball company that trains individuals, teams, coaches and deals in professional baseball operations worldwide. Pete’s company takes teams and players all over the world to experience international and cultural experience. Training volunteer coaches has been a specialty of Caliendo Sports for over 25 years. Pete is an advocate of helping volunteer coaches and assisting them to be better trained.

During his 9 years as Technical commissioner for the International Baseball Federation, Pete served as the head of the technical committee for the 2009 historical World Baseball Cup in Europe which was held in 7 countries with 22 nations participating. Pete also was involved with the baseball Olympics in Beijing China and served on the IBAF Steering Committee.

As a skills development coach, Pete has provided hundreds of youth coaches training programs throughout the world. He is a large proponent of having a national certification program for all volunteers in baseball. To support this knowledge base, he has produced 5 baseball instructional tapes (“Coaching Made Easy”) used as a benchmark resource by coaches across the country. Along with his partner in Canada he has developed an on line coaches certification program. Pete presented twice at the National High School Coaches Clinic as well as 14 additional Association Clinics and has presented in 20 separate countries.

As Director of Baseball Operations and Coach for the Schaumburg Flyers, a professional independent team based in Illinois, Pete had over 20 players sign with major league organizations. The Flyers made it to the play offs in their opening season. As Player procurement Director for the North Shore Spirit, Pete put together the full roster of 22 players that went on to the Northeast World Series.

Internationally renowned, Pete served as the Director of The Pan Am Baseball Association, an organization that won 3 gold medals in the Pan Am Games, including the Gold over Cuba. From the six year program of 16 year old players it had produced over 20 players in the major leagues. His experience also includes coaching the Belgium Baseball Federation National Team and the 1999 Team USA, a team with professionals that competed in Australia’s Intercontinental Cup. Pete also served as Director for USA Athletes International’s Baseball Operations. While living in Europe, Pete became an associate scout with the Toronto Blue Jays for European professional baseball.

Pete completed his European tour as T-5 Sports Agency’s worldwide Baseball Operations Director. The he returned to the U.S. as a Coach and Baseball Operations Director with the Schaumburg Flyers. Following that stint, Pete became Calgary’s Professional Baseball President, a Northern League organization. Pete has also coached in the United States with the Mickey Owen Baseball School, Doyle Baseball and the Billy Williams Baseball School.

As of 2009, Pete is heading up the Great Lakes Region for (NTIS) USA Baseballs National Team Identification Program for possible national team players. The Great Lakes Region consists of 6 states, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Tryouts for potential national team players are held in each state at the ages of 17u, 15u and 13u under.

As a volunteer Pete also served 8 years as President of the prestigious Pitch and Hit Club of Chicago. A professional baseball organization which honors professionals in the game and raises funds for scholarships. Pete is currently a Board Member of the Pitch and Hit Club. As an active community supporter, Pete is also a board member for the Greater Woodfield Sports Council. And the Italian American Association awarded him the prestigious “David Award” which recognizes business excellence.

In January 2011 Pete will receive the American Baseball Coaches Association Meritorious award. The ABCA is the largest baseball organization of college and high school coaches in the U.S.

Tom O’Connell

Baseball Adviser to the Director

The first high school coach ever elected President of the American Baseball Coaches Association, Tom O’Connell has spent 41 years coaching baseball. From 1969 – 2000 he coached at Pulaski High School in Milwaukee, where his teams won more games than any sport in the school’s history. Ten years ago, he took over as coach at Catholic Central High School in Burlington, Wisconsin and continued his success there. His Hilltopper teams have made the State quarterfinals the last seven straight years and have won four Wisconsin State Championships in that time – 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2010. O’Connell was recently named the Diamond Sports National High School Coach of the Year by the ABCA for 2010, the second time he has been so honored. He has also been named Midwest Coach of the Year four times. In 1995, he skippered the USA Baseball North Team in the United States Olympic Festival in Colorado that featured four future major leaguers.

Long involved in the ABCA, O’Connell chaired its High School Division from 1984-1996 and now serves on the Board of Directors and heads the Ethics in Coaching Award Committee. He presided over the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association and organized their successful Clinic and Convention for twenty years and, in 1991, was named their Man of the Year He has been inducted into three Halls of Fame: the Old Time Baseball Players Hall of Fame in Milwaukee, the WBCA Hall of Fame, and in 2007 became only the 16th high school coach to ever be inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame in its 64-year history. An accomplished author, O’Connell has published three books with Human Kinetics Press, Coaching Baseball: Techniques and Tactics, the textbook for coach licensing in the USA, Coaching Youth Baseball, a manual for youth coaches, and most recently the best selling, Play Ball: 100 Baseball Practice Games. For the past eleven years he has been an ISG officer and has organized winter coaching clinics in Germany, Spain, Slovenia, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Ireland and Austria. O’Connell has served as an Envoy Coach for Major League Baseball since 1993 – spending twelve of his summers developing players and coaches in Europe – and is a scout for the Baltimore Orioles

Jim Hall

Head Coach: 17U

Jim served as head coach of the Lockport Porters Baseball Program from 1991?2005. Coach Hall’s teams won Conference titles in ’92, ’93 and 1995, 1997?’01, 2003?’05. The Porters also won 9 regional titles during that time, as well as State Final appearances in ’92 (4th), ’97 (2nd) and ’98. The Porters were IHSA State Champions in 2005 after a 40?3 season. The Porters also finished 3rd in Summer State Tournament in ’96 and ’03. Coach Hall served as President of the Illinois High school Coaches Association. Inducted into the Illinois High School Coaches Hall of Fame, Marist Hall of Fame and the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Most recently coaches Team Illinois.

Dan Held

Assistant Coach: 17U

Dan played professional baseball from 1993-2001 in the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets minor league system. He played in the Chinese Baseball League and with Team USA in Sydney, Australia (Intercontinental Cup). He then spent one year as the hitting coach for the Batavia Muckdogs (Single A) and four years with the St. Louis Cardinals as their Bullpen Assistant, including the Cardinals 2006 World Series Championship team. Dan is currently the Executive Director of the Indiana Bulls and resides in Noblesville, Indiana with his wife Lynn and their two children, Tea and Boston.

Terry Ayers

Head Coach: 15U

Terry Ayers loves the game of baseball and has dedicated his life to coaching. After graduating from Western Michigan University in 1966, where he played for ABCA Hall of Fame Coach Charlie Maher, Terry received his Masters of Arts degree from Northwestern in 1970 and was a graduate assistant in football. His high school coaching career began in 1972 as head baseball coach at Fenton High School in Bensenville Illinois, where he had a lifetime career record of 334 and 231 until retiring in 1989. After Fenton, Terry coached AAU baseball taking them to the National tournament three times and had a lifetime record of 198 and 79.

In 1990 Terry became the regional Director for Doyle Baseball School. As regional director he was the lead instructor in hundreds of baseball schools for players and coaches. Giving coaching seminars in Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Kentucky, and Illinois. He also is a member of the Pitch and Hit Club of Chicago where he serves as Secretary and Board of Directors. He co-chairs the annual Showcase for the Club. In 2009 received the Pitch and Hit Club Charlie Hum Service Award for contributions to the community service in baseball.

Terry has spoken at several state coaches clinics Illinois, Iowa, Oklahoma, as well as the National Baseball Coaches Clinic in 1999, as well as the American Baseball Coaches Association Clinic in 2001. Terry has attended every clinic since 1973. He serves on the ABCA Hall of Fame Committee for the past twenty-one years also, served on the expatiators committee for five years prior to being on the Hall of Fame Committee.

In 1999 Terry was elected into the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He received the Len Diforte Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. Other honors are coaching in the Pan American Games and International baseball in Europe.

In 2006, Terry came out of retirement after his son was finished playing college baseball at the University of Louisville. He is currently the volunteer assistant Pitching Coaching at St. Charles North High School, in St. Charles Illinois. Helping the team win a Conference Championship in 2007 as well as the Regional Championship in 2007 and 2008. The team has compiled a record of 78 and 29 with a team era of 2.15 this past season.

Terry lives in Elgin Illinois with his wife Carole, they have two children, daughter Sarah and son Stephen. Both children are married and he is now a grandfather too.

Paul Twenge

Assistant Coach: 15U

Paul Twenge was named as the Minnetonka High School activities coordinator and head baseball coach starting with the 06-07 school year. Coach Twenge spent the prior 19 years as head baseball coach at Valparaiso University in Indiana, where he also served in various athletic administrative positions. Before his years at Valparaiso, Paul spent six years as director of athletics at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, where he was also head baseball coach. In addition to coaching the Skippers, Paul has joined the staff of the Excelsior Legion baseball team. Coach Twenge has a Bachelor of Science in social science and physical education from Mayville State University in Mayville, ND, and a Master of Science in health, physical education and recreation from South Dakota State University. He and his wife Dawn have three children: Alyson, Alex and Axel.

Nelson Gord

Head Coach: 13U

Gord began his coaching career at Play Ball USA in Des Plaines, IL and purchased the facility from previous ownership in 2008. He has coached at every level of amateur baseball including two years in the college ranks (Harper/2005 & Oakton/2009). Nelson’s coaching career followed a successful playing career which started at Buffalo Grove High School where he was an All-Area player and the Mid-Suburban League East Player of the Year in 1999. The numbers he put up as a senior at BGHS earned him a scholarship to play NCAA Division I baseball at the University of Illinois @ Chicago. While at UIC Nelson was twice named to the All-Horizon League Team and started for the Flames for four years at 5 different positions (C, 1B, 2B, 3B, and SS). The versatility Gord showed as a college player allowed him to sign a professional contract with the Schuamburg Flyers in June, 2004. Nelson found himself playing all over the field in his 3 years as a Flyer and eanred a spot on the 2006 Northern League All-Star team after setting career highs in hits, stolen bases (27), and set a all-time Northern League record by being hit by 28 pitches. After the 2006 season Gord signed a contract with the Houston Astros and went to spring training with the club in 2007 as a catcher. He then finished the season with the Kansas City T-Bones where he set career highs in 2Bs, HRs and RBIs. On September 2, 2007 Gord was honored and played all 9 positions in a 9 inning game. He also went 2 for 3 in the game, capping off what was to many a mediocre career, but to him a “dream come true”. Gord’s passion is in helping kids both on and off the field. His work with groups such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Pitch & Hit Club of Chicago, the ABCA (American Baseball Coaches Association) and the APBPA speaks volume about his love for our national pastime. Nelson and his wife, Sarah, reside in Wheeling and they have a daughter, Lacey Marie, who was born in June 2009.

Justin Stone

Assistant Coach: 13U

Justin is the lead instructor at the Bulls/Sox Training Academy and is in charge of Academy Elite Programming. Justin is a former Division 1 collegiate player and coach and is currently one of the most sought after hitting instructors in baseball. There is nothing that Justin’s trained eye can’t see and that has resulted in hitter after hitter finding their stride under Justin’s tutelage. In fact, 21 of them have signed professional contracts. Justin has spent hours and hours with White Sox Hitting Coach, Greg Walker, either at U.S. Cellular Field or in spring training working with the Major League club while refining the teaching techniques that he employs each day at the Academy. Justin also works very closely with the White Sox scouting department in evaluating talent. As good as Justin is as a hitting instructor, he’s equally magical with middle infielders. His catching and pitching skills are also extraordinary. All this adds up to a teaching package that can handle your every need. It also means that Justin is in very high demand and will often be booked months in advance. Don’t despair; every instructor at the Academy has passed Justin’s personal evaluation so your athlete will be in good hands regardless of instructor choice.

Marc Besteman

Director: Wisconsin

Marc Besteman is a young up and coming baseball professional in Illinois . He was one the youngest Head Varsity Coaches in IHSA history at age 24 when he was named Head Coach at Guerin Prep in 2009. After Guerin he spent two season as the hitting coach at Oakton Community College. In his first season at OCC the raider hitters finished 8th in the nation with a 364 team batting average and broke the school record for team home runs (72) and runs scored.

Marc’s playing career includes spending time with the Canadian Junior National Team, a season with North Central Texas JC, and being a 3 year starter at Northern Illinois University.

JR Richardson

Director: Indiana

Richardson has been coaching amateur baseball since 2001 when he assisted Bill Angelo at Elgin Community College. During his tenure at ECC the Spartans set team records for most wins (54), runs scored (547), hits (680) and stolen bases (188).

Since 2007 Coach Richardson has served as the Varsity Baseball Assistant Coach and Hitting Coordinator at St. Charles North HS (IL). Since joining the program Coach Richardson’s NorthStars have set team records for most wins (33), batting average (.370), hits (394), slugging percentage (.531), on-base percentage (.464), rbi’s (281), doubles (76) and homeruns (27). They have also won 3 regional championships in the last 5 years and 2 Upstate Eight Conference Championships.

in 2010 Richardson helped recruit and select the Great Lakes Regional Teams that participated in USA Baseball’s NTIS Program. He also coached the 15U’s on the field at the National Training Complex in Cary, NC.

Collegiately Richardson played at Elgin Community College where he was a first team All-Skyway Conference selection and a first team All-NJCAA Region IV selection. Richardson continued his playing career at the University of South Carolina-Upstate where he lead the team in on-base percentage and finished second in batting average before a shoulder injury ended his career.

Richardson has his BA in Organizational Leadership from Judson University and his MA in Psychology from National-Louis University. JR currently resides in Elburn, IL with his wife Kathy.


Q. What is USA Baseball

A. Since 1978, USA Baseball has been the national governing body for the sport of baseball. It represents the sport in the United States as a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and internationally as a member federation of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF).

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Q. What is the current international age determination date

A. The current international age determination date states your birthday must fall on January 1 or later of a specified year to be eligible for particular age groups. The age a player reaches during the calendar year of the international competition will serve as his competition age.

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Q. Official Cancellation Policy for all USA Baseball NTIS events

A. Cancellations up to 8 days prior to the start of the event will receive a 50% refund of the registration fee. No exceptions will be made. The participating player or team will receive their refund within 30 days of the time of cancellation.

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Q. What are the rules for bat specifications at NTIS events?

A. For a complete listing of the bat specifications on all USA Baseball events including the NTIS Regional Selection Process please click here.

What they’re saying…

Hello Peter. Hipe all went well at your NTIS event over the weekend— great stuff for the kids. I am sure the experience is one that they will remember for a long, long time (although they are probably a little tired this morning!)