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MEET THE COACHING STAFF

The high level of baseball performance at Crush would not be possible without experienced coaches who know the game backwards and forwards.

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Jared Benham

Jared played was a Crush player from 11u through 18u, starting in 2014. He graduated from Poway High in 2020, where he played catcher. He received an offer to play at Lyon College in 2021 and is currently playing for the University of Saint Katherines. 

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Chris Brigham

Chris played as a catcher at Rancho Bernardo High School, where he graduated in 2002. After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was deployed in Iraq where he served for 14 months. 

In 2004, Chris attended San Diego Mesa College and was a walk-on for the Olympian baseball team. In 2006 Chris received an athletic scholarship in baseball at Patten University where he was the starting catcher, and team captain while studying Psychology. While there, Chris led the team to their first-ever Regional Tournament. Before his senior year there, Chris was called back to continue serving his country. Brigham has spent a total of 3+ years in combat zones with the US Army units such as the 160th SOAR, 18th Military Police Brigade, 82nd Airborne Infantry BCT, and the 101st Infantry BCT. In doing so, SGT Brigham earned 3 Army Commendation Medals for his role as an Instructor at the Baghdad Police Academy and as a Team and Patrol Leader. Chris was also the key factor in the largest covert arms trafficking case in this War’s history. During his tenure with the US Army, SGT Brigham has also been awarded the Global War on Terrorism Medal, GWOT Expeditionary Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghan Campaign Medal, National Defense Medal, and 2 NATO-ISAF Medals, and an Army Achievement Medal. Patten University has retired Chris's number. 

Chris has coached locally since 2018, he is a San Diego Sheriff, and is a Crush catching as well as 11u coach. 

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Jason Brunansky

Coach “Bruno” lettered three years in High School, hitting .371 and .331 during his junior and senior seasons as the team’s lead-off hitter. He was named All-Palomar League in 2007 and was a Tampa Bay Rays Scout Team member. He was also a member of the all-academic team, graduating in the top five percent of his class with a 4.0 GPA. Jason played at The University of Kansas for four years playing 137 games with a .968 fielding percentage and a batting average of .310 in 2010. Outside of Crush, Coach Bruno coaches High School baseball. His father, Tom, played 14 seasons in the majors with the California Angels, Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox and Milwaukee Brewers, and has also served as the Minnesota Twins hitting coach. 

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Nick Carmichael

Coach Nick Carmichael is a Rancho Bernardo High School alum lettering in baseball, track and field, and football while there. Following graduation, Nick continued his education at the University of Redlands where he played football as a tight end. In 2011, he transferred to Palomar College and was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 17th round. Opting to return for another year at Palomar, he was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 24th round of the 2012 draft and signed. While at Palomar, Nick was on the 2011 and 2012 All-Pacific Coast Conference team with a combined ERA of 2.76. Nick was with the Detroit Tigers from 2012 to 2014 and posted a career ERA of 3.25. Nick graduated from CSU San Marcos with Dean’s List and Cum Laude honors and holds a degree in Business Finance. 

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CJ Cecil

Coach CJ played high school ball with Coach Pizzo at Horizon Christian Academy. While there, he had a 2.19 ERA pitching as a senior. Following high school, CJ played baseball at three schools: Oklahoma Baptist University, Ottawa University, and University of South Carolina Beaufort. CJ also played basketball in high school.

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Scott Elitzky

Scott played baseball at Crowder Junior college in 2008-2010. He made a Junior College World Series appearance in 2010 and was voted Pitcher of the Year. He then attended Lander University from 2010-2012, where in 2011 his team made the conference and regional tournament. Following his college career, Scott played professionally in the IBL (Canadian) baseball league, he played in the Pecos League, and in the Liga Del Norte de Coahuila (Mexican) league.  

Scott coached travel ball in Texas from 2013 - 2018 before moving to San Diego with his wife. He is currently a Radiation Therapist at California Protons Cancer Therapy Center. He coaches 12u and 13u Crush teams. 

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Caleb Guy

Coach Caleb Guy graduated from Christian Life Academy in 2013, after playing 4 years of baseball and also lettering in basketball and volleyball. He began coaching with the Crush in 2014. He currently attends CSU San Marcos and is working towards a degree in business administration. Caleb also plays for the club team at CSU San Marcos. He is the team's Game 1 starter and also plays 1st base and outfield. In the 2018 season, he batted .317. You will see coach Caleb coaching any of our teams from 11u to 16u. Coach Caleb also currently coaches high school baseball. 

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Colten Jackson

Colten is a Rancho Bernardo High School Alum, where he played centerfield and third base. Colten's career highlights include an errorless season as a starter. Colten is currently attending Mesa college and plans to gain his teaching credential. He aims to teach elementary school and be a high school baseball coach. 

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Deron Johnson Jr

Deron Johnson Jr was a 3-year varsity catcher at Poway. He hit a career .336 with a .408 on-base percentage. He went on to play D1 at San Diego State University for three years, where he had 22 starts and over 100 ABs. Deron is a Crush alum.

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JD Lawrence

Coach JD played high school baseball at San Fernando High School in the San Fernando Valley where he was a 3-year varsity catcher and an all-city catcher his senior year. After finishing up his playing career, he began his coaching career at San Diego State University where he was the student manager for the baseball team. JD also received his communications degree there and was teammates with our Coach Deron Johnson Jr.      

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Kennan Olsen

Coach Kennan grew up and played in Ramona. He was a catcher and worked closely with MLB pitchers Cole and Beau Sulser. Outside of baseball, Kennan works as an ABA therapist for children and young adults with developmental issues. He currently and lives with his wife in Valley Center.

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Anthony Pizzo

Coach Pizzo played four years in high school as a utility player at Horizon Christian Academy. He then played two years at San Diego City College as one of the team's starting pitchers, and then transferred to University of Saint Katherine where he was coached by Dominick Johnson. During his time at St Katherine, he became a key reliever in their bullpen racking up the most appearances each season. During his last season at St. Katherine, his team won the Conference Championship which was also the first season his team was in that conference. Coach Pizzo graduated with an undergraduate degree in business and is currently one semester away from receiving his masters degree in Organizational Leadership. 

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Nick Rodieck

Nick attended West Hills HS where the baseball team won the league title in 2003, the first in school history. As a senior, Nick went 7-4 as a pitcher and notched the highest batting average of .450 in the league in 2003. Nick attended San Diego Mesa College where he was Pitcher of the Year, an all-conference honorable mention, and Athlete of the Week in 2006. In his 2006 season, he recorded an 8-4 record while yielding 18 walks in 100 innings pitched, and an ERA of 2.90. He also recorded the most stolen bases in 2006 while at Mesa. Nick went on to play at the University of San Diego in 2007 and 2008. While there, he had a career pitching record of 7-2 in 105 innings with 62 strikeouts. Nick previously coached travel ball with the San Diego Deacons and currently is a varsity baseball coach at Mt. Carmel High School. 

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Max Smith

Max was born and raised in Kennesaw, Georgia. He attended high school at Mount Paran Christian School, where he lettered in baseball all four years. He was named First Team All-Region as a pitcher his junior and senior year, and Third Team All-Region as a 3rd baseman his senior year.  After high school, Max attended Lenoir-Rhyne University, where he received a scholarship as a pitcher. He then coached travel baseball with an 18u team in Georgia, before moving to California in 2022. 

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Brett Tomko

Coach Brett joined Crush in 2021 as a 12u coach. Before coaching, he played in the MLB from 1997 to 2011. In this span, he played for the Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Texas Rangers, and Kansas City Royals accumulating 100 Big League wins and over 100 strikeouts. 

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Brady Ware

Brady is a current sophomore pitcher and utility player at the University of St. Katherine. Brady played with Crush from 8th grade through high school and played with the college Crush team this summer. He played under coach Deron Johnson at Poway High School for 4 years. Brady is majoring in Business Management at St. Katherine. 

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