Meet the Coaches

Coach Mamon Tucker, Owner, Tier 1 Baseball

Mamon Tucker grew up in Austin, Texas and graduated from Austin High School in 1998. While at Austin High he was a 3 year starter on the varsity baseball team. During this time he achieved many honors such as two time District MVP, two time All CenTex, two time All State, and Rawlings All American. He was also a candidate for the Louisville Slugger High School Player of the Year in 1998.

 

Coach Tucker was a top 50 college recruit and signed a letter of intent to attend Oklahoma State University. In 1998, Coach Tucker was selected with the 39th overall pick of the MLB Amateur Draft by the Baltimore Orioles. He chose to pursue his dreams of becoming a major league baseball player and went on to play 8 seasons of professional baseball. He played in the Orioles, Phillies, Cardinals, Cubs, and Astros organizations.

 

After his playing career, Coach Tucker continued to follow his passion for baseball and began coaching select baseball in the Austin area. His goal is to continue to share his love and knowledge of the game of baseball with kids of all ages.

Coach Michael Mertz, Pitching Coordinator, Assistant Director of Player Development

Michael Mertz graduated from Pflugerville High School in 2012 and was a two-year letter winner and an all-district performer. Mertz signed a letter of intent to play at Cisco College following his high school career.

 

During his Freshman year at Cisco, Mertz went 6-5 with a 3.77 ERA in 80 innings. Prior to Sophomore year, Mertz was named as the 18th ranked Junior College player in the country. Sophomore season was eventually cut short after 3 starts due to a season ending injury.

 

Mertz was recruited by SEC and Big12 schools, among others. Mertz decided to play at Oklahoma State. In 2016, Mertz returned to full health and posted a 4.33 ERA in 52 innings racking up a total of 58 strikeouts. Progressing to postseason that year, Mertz became a Regional and Super Regional champion with OSU earning a birth to the College World Series. That June, he was drafted by the Miami Marlins in the 14th Round.

 

Finishing his first full season in Class A Greensboro (Miami Marlins Affiliate), Mertz had 40 appearances and had a record of 9-1 with a 1.80 ERA in 75 innings pitched with 78 strikeouts. After his 2018 season, Mertz decided to retire from professional baseball and transfer to coaching full time.

He is currently finishing his Degree in Management with minors in Finance and Sports Management through Oklahoma State University.

Email: mmertz@t1baseball.com

Coach Gable Whitacre

Gable Whitacre is an Austin native, graduating from Bowie High School in 2013. A two-time letter winner for the bulldogs, he was named second team All-District as a junior and first team All-District as a senior.

After high school, he went on to attend and play baseball at St. Edward's University. Whitacre helped the Hilltoppers to 4 straight Heartland Conference Championships and an appearance in the South Central Regional Championship game in 2016. He was a 4-year starter, hitting a career .324 in 199 starts. As a senior, he led the conference in home runs and RBI’s. He was named first team All-Conference, first team All-Region, and second team All-America. He finished his career with the Hilltoppers as the record holder for career doubles with 58.

He received his degree in Business Marketing from St. Edward's with hopes of owning a baseball facility one day. Though his playing days are over, Gable still has a passion for the game of baseball and is grateful he was offered the coaching opportunity with Tier1.

Coach Sam Smith

Sam Smith is a graduate of McNeil High School where he was a two-year letter winner. He began coaching while attending Texas State University where he graduated with a degree in Mass Communications and Business Management. 

Coach Smith has been coaching at Tier 1 for more than 5 years and has a vast knowledge of the game. 

Coach Gary Amato

Gary Amato was born in Austin, TX in 1986. Amato graduated from Cocoa Beach Jr/Sr High School in Cocoa Beach, FL in 2004. In high school, Amato was a team captain, two-time team MVP, and a Cy Young winner at his school. He was a two-time All-Space Coast and member of the 2004 Central Florida All-Star game. He led his team in hitting both junior and senior year with a .407 and .362 AVG. His junior year he recorded a 1.64 ERA in 55 IP and 77 K’s. His senior year, Amato threw for a 1.08 ERA with 65 IP and 129K. Gary accounted for 2 one-hitters and 1 No-hitter his senior year as well as a 5 inning 15 K game.

 

After high school, Amato received a scholarship to play for the Pennsylvania State University where he earned a place as a starter in Big Ten play by the end of his Freshman year.

 

After his junior year, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected him in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft where he would spend 3 seasons in the Pirates System, before playing 1 more season with the Washington Nationals. In Gary’s last season he placed top 3 in the Nationals system for ERA.

Coach Zach Noska

Zach Noska attended Leander High School where he was a 3 year letter winner. Noska was a stand out performer earning him All- District honors for 3 consecutive years, LISD Dazzling Dozen, Offensive MVP, and Central Texas All Star Team. Noska was also invited to the Area Code games. Not only was he a stand out in baseball, Noska was an 3rd Team All- State and 2 time All- District performer in football. After graduating in 2014, Noska signed a letter of intent to continue his baseball career at The University of  The Incarnate Word.

Noska decided to end his baseball career and finish his schooling at Texas State University where he graduated with a degree in Marketing.

Coach Nik Castilleja

Nik Castilleja attended Pflugerville High School where he was a 3 year letter winner, graduating in 2011. Before his senior season he was named a Perfect Game Rawlings pre- season All American and was recruited by D-1 programs throughout Texas eventually signing his letter of intent to play at Texas A&M University.

His freshman year he was a part of an A&M team that at one point be ranked the #1 team in the country. Following that year, Nik decided he would transfer to San Jacinto Junior College where he would learn to play the outfield. That year the San Jacinto Gators went on to win their conference going 22-8. After the conclusion of the 2013 season, Nik transferred to Hill Junior college finishing his last year of collegiate baseball.

Nik went on to receive his bachelors degree in Mass communications- advertising from Texas State University in 2017. 

Coach Justin Montaña

Justin Montaña is a graduate of Hays High School, where he played baseball, basketball, and ran cross country. He recently received his bachelors degree in Exercise Sports Science with a minor is Business Administration from Texas State University and has moved into South Austin. 

Justin started coaching speed and agility as well as personal training before coaching baseball, and now is glad to be apart of Tier 1. 

Coach Sam McDonnell

Sam McDonnell attended Georgetown High School where he was named with 2012 5A First Team All- State honors and 2013 5A All- State Honorable Mention. After graduating in 2013, McDonnell signed a letter of intent to continue his career at Navarro College. While playing there he received numerous honors including First Team All Conference in 2014 and was picked to play in the Division 1 TX Junior College All Star game. After 2 years at Navarro, McDonnell signed his letter of intent to play at The University of Arkansas. That June, McDonnell's name was called in the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft by the LA Angels and decided to forgo his commitment to Arkansas to play professional baseball. McDonnell played 3 years of professional baseball with the Angels before deciding to retire from the game and pursue other passions. 

McDonnell is currently a student at Texas State and we are very excited to have him be a part of the Tier 1 staff!

Coach Kenneth Sparks

Kenneth Sparks is an Austin native, and graduated high school in 2013. As a catcher, he went on to play at Concordia University.

 

There, Sparks received his degree in Environmental Science and Chemistry, working in the outdoors and creeks of the Austin area. Even though his playing days are past him, Kenneth’s love and appreciation for the sport drives him to share his knowledge and skills with the next generations.

 

Coach Alex Phillips

Alex Phillips was born and raised in Nacogdoches, TX. He attended Central Heights High School and was a State Finalist in 2011. Phillips was named to the THSBCA All Star game following his senior year in 2013. Following his senior year, Phillips signed his letter of intent to play baseball at the University of Arkansas. Freshman year, he made a total of 8 starts throughout the season. In the 2015 season, Phillips transferred to San Jacinto Community College and aided the Gators to the Junior College World Series. After a great year at San Jac, he signed to finish his collegiate career at Baylor University. His final two season, he pitched as both a starter and reliever for the Bears and helped his team win the Big 12 Championship in 2018. After going undrafted, Phillips went on to play Independent Ball and eventually signed with the Minnesota Twins. Phillips is currently a reliever in their system and finished his 2019 campaign with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. 

Alysia Bedgood, MD

Dr. Bedgood is a fellowship trained Primary Care Sports Medicine physician.  She grew up in South Austin where she found a love of the outdoors and even Texas heat.  She completed her undergrad at The University of Texas at Austin then went on to Medical school at The University of Texas Health Science Center Houston. She did her family Medicine training in Sugar Land and completed her fellowship at Methodist Willowbrook while working with the Athletes of Rice University. After fellowship she was hired as one of the first primary care sports medicine physicians in the UT Orthopedics physician group in Houston.  As part of UT Ortho she served as the Head Team Physician for Houston Baptist University and on the Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute's concussion team. She returned to Austin in 2016 with her family to pursue her dream of having her own practice. She believes you don't have to be a professional athlete to deserve high quality sports medicine care and understands that each patient has a unique set of goals and circumstances that are just as important as their x-rays and physical exam.

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