Lead Instructor and Youth Coordinator
Travis Thompson has succeeded across all levels of the game and is joining PTA to share his expertise in pitching and catching as a lead instructor and youth coordinator.
At the start of his career, Travis spent two seasons playing with Madison Area Technical College (MATC). In his first year, he helped his team win two national tournament games and led them to their first-ever national championship. He also earned recognition for his outstanding pitching with honors such as National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) World Series All-Tournament in his first season and All-Conference, All-State, All-Region and All-American honors in his second season.
In 1996, Thompson went on to be drafted in the 12th round by the Colorado Rockies, where he played for the next eight seasons. After playing in the Rockies minor league system for another four years, he signed a free-agent contract with the Florida Marlins. During this time, Travis was also selected to play for Team USA in the 2005 Pan Am Games in Mexico.
Lead Instructor and High School Coordinator
With 15 award-winning years on the field and eight years of coaching experience, Mike Thrun brings his expertise and love of baseball to Prospect Training Academy. Mike started his baseball journey at Franklin High School, then moved through the ranks at UW-Stevens Point, Thunder Bay Border Cats and West Allis Nighthawks (Land O’ Lakes).
Throughout his career, he earned three WIAC Conference Tournament Championship titles, a Regional Championship title, trips to the 2006 and 2007 World Series, UWSP’s record for most strikeouts in a game and First Team All-Conference and Second Team All-Midwest-Region in 2008.
Mike has coached a range of athletes: from 9U, 11U and 14U teams to athletes at Franklin High School and UW-Stevens Point. Now, he’s become an integral part of our team. In 2015, Mike started as an instructor and baseball coach for our 14U team before becoming PTA’s High School Director and Business and Communications Director.
Sal Bando Jr.
Salvatore Bando Jr. will serve as our Hitting Coordinator. Sal has 19 years of experience as a head coach at various levels, from high school through college.
Sal was the head coach at UW-Parkside for three years, where he transformed an underperforming program into a nationally- ranked program in 2000. From there, he coached Division 1 High Point University for seven years, while recruiting and developing eight draft picks. He was also voted Big South Conference Coach of the Year in 2006. Most recently, Sal served as the head coach at Marquette University High School, where he was named the Greater Metro Conference Coach of the Year in 2014. Sal will continue to serve as head coach at Marquette University High School.
On the field, Sal played with the Midwest League and won a New York–Penn League Championship with the New Jersey Cardinals in 1994. As a nationally-ranking NCAA Division I student athlete, his college career included multiple conference championships, the 1993 College World Series and Big Eight All-Conference honors under Hall of Fame Head Coach Gary Ward.
When it comes to helping athletes play their best, Anthony Barone is no stranger to the game. The PTA Program Coordinator has over 10 years of coaching experience, during which he’s sent eight players to the pros and changed the future of the game with his mentorship. Anthony’s athletic career started in Jamestown, New York. As a shortstop, he was named an All-Conference player and voted one of Jamestown’s Top 50 Athletes.
Anthony then went on to coach the very team where he began. From 2007 to 2012, he led the Jayhawks to 207 victories and a 101- 62 regional record. He coached 33 All-Conference athletes, 15 All- Region athletes, and one All-American athlete. He was also named National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 3 Coach of the Year while at the helm of the Jayhawks.
For the past three seasons, Anthony has coached the Jamestown Jammers in the Prospect League. There, he earned the opportunity to serve as a coach in this year’s All-Star Game.