Meet Your SPW Baseball Instructors

Jason PearsonBaseball Pitching

Pitched professionally with the Orioles, Padres, and Cardinals and is now one of the lead pitching instructors at SPW.  Mr. Pearson is well known in the Des Moines Area for his ability to teach the art of pitching and provides his clients with the extra edge that they need.  He comes highly requested so book your time with him early in the off-season!

Evan Romanchuk: Baseball Hitting

Evan grew up in Vancouver, Canada his senior year in high school he was a member of the Canadian Baseball National Championship team. He went on to Santa Rosa Junior College where he was a member of 2005 California State Championship team. Evan went on to play at San Francisco State University where he lead his team in hitting his Junior year and Graduated with a degree in Psychology. Evan went on to play professionally in the Golden and Continental Leagues and also played a year professionally in Belgium. Evan was a member of the Great Britain National which played in 2009 Baseball World Cup. During lessons Evan really focuses just not on the mechanical part of baseball but also the mental side of the game.

David Conrad: Baseball Pitching

Originally from Polk City, IA, David attended North Polk High School and was a first team all conference, first team all district, first team INA all-state, first team IHSCBAA all state selection and Mid-Iowa Pitcher of the Year going 11-0 as a senior and leading the state in strikeouts. He went on to pitch collegiately, setting school records in strike outs, innings pitched, fewest doubles, pickoffs and wins (tied) in helping DMACC to their first NJCAA World Series in nearly 30 years. David then went on to the Division 1 level (UNI) striking out 1.3 batters/inning and was a starter for Division 2 NCAA national tournament qualifier (UNO). 

David serves as the baseball director of Next Step Sports Advising. He has spent time coaching and/or recruiting at both the high school and collegiate levels. With his background, Conrad has seen firsthand what it takes to succeed at each unique level of play and intimately understands points of view from both athlete striving to get noticed and the college coach attempting to find & sift through those athletes. For more information visit

David Stagg – Baseball Pitching

David is from West Des Moines, IA and attended Heartland Community College for 2 years before graduating from Indiana State University. At Heartland David received 1st team All-Conference and 1st team All-Region honors. At Indiana State David received second team All-Conference honors for the Missouri Valley Conference. Graduated with a degree in Exercise Science from Indiana State. After Indiana State David played professionally in the Frontier League for the Normal Cornbelters.

Chris Zrostlik – Baseball Hitting and Fielding

Chris grew up in Surprise, Arizona where he attended Willow Canyon High School.  Chris was named First Team All-Region during his junior and senior season as well as First Team All-State during his senior season.  After high school he attended Glendale Community College in Glendale, Arizona where he played for NJCAA Hall of Fame Coach Dave Grant.  Chris was named an ACCAC All-Star as a freshman.  He continued his playing career at Truman State University where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science with a concentration in Strength and Conditioning.  While at Truman State, Chris led the team in homeruns and RBI’s during his junior year and tied a school record for most hits during a game when he went 5 for 5 with 2 homeruns and 7 RBI’s.

Blake Marchant – Baseball Hitting/Baseball & Softball Catching

Blake is from Indianola, IA and attended Grand View University for 4 years. At Grand View, Blake was selected as the 2013 Midwest Collegiate Conference Player of the Year, 2013 2nd team All-American and 2014 Preseason All-American. He was also a 3x All-Conference selection. Blake compiled a career stat line of .330, 174 hits, 125 RBIs and 11 HRs.

Jake Yacinich– Baseball Hitting/Infield Play

This central Iowa product was recruited by some of the finest Division I schools in the Midwest including the University of Iowa and national power Wichita State. During Jake’s Junior year at the University of Iowa he was named first-team All-Big Ten while batting .365, hitting 32 RBIs, stealing 25-of-29 bases, and being featured on Sportscenters top-10 plays when he stole home in the Big Ten Tournament. Following Jake’s Junior year at Iowa he was drafted in the eighth round of the Major League Draft by the Los Angeles Angels.


Joe Murphy – Baseball Hitting/Player Advisor

Joe Murphy has extensive knowledge and experience in collegiate and professional baseball spanning more than 45years. Joe has been a scout for the Phillies, Royals, Indians, Rangers, Reds, Rays and Mets. He played college  baseball. He was Scouting Director for Canadian Major League Baseball before it failed in its inaugural season. Joe also was a MLB Agent with Star Performers Agency, a College Baseball Head Coach and a Summer Collegiate Head Coach. 

From ‘1973-’84 Joe was an Associate Scout, Part time Scout and an Area Scout in the Midwest for the Phillies. He went to work with the Royals covering the Carolinas and Virginia until 1992. From 93 to 99 he was a Part time, Area Scout for the Indians covering Iowa, Minnesota and part of Illinois. In 1999 he went to work for Star Performers as an agent working with former major league player Dave Roberts and long- time West Coast Scout, Steve Avila. After a short tenure as an agent, he accepted a position with the Tampa Bay Devil-rays as an Area Scout in Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas from 2003 to 2009. He accepted a position as a scout and evaluator for the Baseball Factory out of Baltimore working for former East Coast Scouting Supervisor with Tampa Bay, Mac Seibert. When Seibert was hired as a Cross Checker for the NY Mets, Joe went to work for the Mets as well serving as their Big 10 Scout covering much of the Big 10 conference.  He has been a scout for the Mets ever since. 

Joe has drafted and signed or been involved in signing a number of players over the years several that have played in the major leagues. Jeremy Hellickson out of Hoover High School in Des Moines, Ia. and American League Rookie of the Year in 2011, is the most notable.  

Joe has been a scout on the staff of two World Champion Teams the Phillies in 1980 and the Mets in 1986. He was on the staff with the Indians in 1995 and 97 when they appeared in the World Series and in 2015 with the Mets. 

 In 1975 Joe was hired as the Head Baseball Coach at St. Ambrose College (now St Ambrose University).

Joe has a very broad network of contacts from high school coaches, college coaches and recruiters across the country, Independent League Coaches and owners, MLB General Managers, Scouting Directors and many, many Scouts. Joe has been able to help many players to get into some of the better colleges, junior colleges and into professional baseball either as a drafted player or as a free agent.  

 Joe is currently a private hitting instructor for over 20 years and has advised baseball players attempting to go to “the next level” wherever that level may be. His many years in the game evaluating players for major league organizations, Baseball Agents, college recruiters and recruiting services make him a valuable commodity to the student/athlete attempting to play in college, but not knowing how to get there. Since the 1970’s, Joe has established an outstanding network of baseball professionals at virtually all levels. Joe has relationships that allow him to discuss players and player potentials with some of the best D1 programs as well as the best Junior College Programs  and of course professional baseball organizations. 


Ed Kohl – Baseball Hitting

Ed Kohl played college baseball at Maple Woods CC in Kansas City, MO and at Benedictine College in Atchison, KS. In 2001 he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education with a minor in Sociology. From 2002-2008 he worked for the Los Angeles Dodgers as a Strength and Conditioning coach. From 2010-2016 he worked for the Chicago Cubs, also as a Strength and Conditioning coach. In both positions, he coached and educated minor and major league baseball players. Ed has worked with and taken tips from some of the finest baseball instructors in the game and has the ability to combine biomechanical aspects of training into a solid hitting approach. He is a certified Strength and Conditioning coach through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Spencer Navin – Baseball Hitting / Baseball & Softball Catching

This Vanderbilt University and College World Series star was also awarded with 1st team All-State, 1st team All-Conference as a prep. At Vanderbilt, Spencer was selected as 2013 Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American. In 2013, the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 11th round drafted Spencer.

Mike Mahoney – Baseball/ Softball Hitting and Catching

Mike is the Co-Owner of SportsPlex West and lead hitting and catching instructor at SPW. Mike is a DSM native and has numerous years of playing and coaching experience.  He attended and played baseball at Creighton University then went to the professional baseball level.  He has played for the Braves, Cubs, Cardinals, and Blue Jays organizations.  In 2007, Mike was a catching instructor for the Iowa Cubs here in Des Moines.  He is the best catching/hitting instructor in the area for both baseball and softball.

On August 14, 2005, Mike Mahoney got St. Louis on the board in the second inning with a solo homer against the Cubs’ Mark Prior.