The Strike Zone Baseball Academy
Call 847-710-2932


Joe Knudsen

In his twentieth season with The Strike Zone, Joe is always one of our most preferred instructors. He is rapidly becoming one of the top hitting and pitching instructors in the area. Joe is positive and knowledgeable in all phases of the game. Knudsen pitched at Northeastern Illinois University where his team qualified for the Division 1 World Series in 1996 before the school dropped athletics. He then transferred to Wisconsin-Parkside where he worked under the tutelage of former major-leaguer and renowned coach Sal Bando Jr. His work as a coach with Niles West High School and his outstanding performance with various travel programs on the North Shore have earned him National recognition for coaching excellence. Joe is currently the assistant head baseball coach for Evanston High School and is available for students of all ages September through June. You can book lessons with Joe online at or you can e-mail to inquire about lessons with him.      

General Manager / Instructor

Paul KosinskiPaul Kosinski

Facility Manager
Advanced Pitching / Advanced Hitting

A product of St. Patrick HS and Northern Illinois University, Coach Paul Kosinski enters his fifteenth year as an instructor at the "Zone". A disciple of the legendary pitching instructor Tom House, the former pitcher/centerfielder has established himself as one of the premier pitching instructors in the Chicago area. Dating back to 1992, Coach "K" has a lengthy history as both a high school and youth traveling baseball coach. He has the distinction of having served on the coaching staffs of three IHSA Coaching Hall of Fame Inductees - Kirby Smith at Barrington HS, Dan "Duck" Hogan at Notre Dame HS and Mike Napoleon at New Trier HS. He also serves as Head Coach for the New Trier Thunder and as Director of the New Trier fall ball program. During his six year coaching stint at Notre Dame HS, Coach "K" also ran the Renegades 13YO traveling team. While Coach "K" primarily works with junior high and high school pitchers and catchers, he is also available to work with pitchers and catchers age 10 and up. He currently has over twenty five former players palying at the collegiate level. Please e-mail Paul at if you are interested in taking lessons with him.

Justin Drexler

Advanced Hitting / Pitching / General Skills

Coach Justin Drexler enters his Fourteenth year as an instructor at the Strike Zone.  He's been instructing and coaching baseball to kids on the North Shore for 10+ years and has coached at Glenbrook South High School and was an Assistant Varsity Coach at North Shore Country Day High School under Coach Paul Kosinski. His dedication and commitment to fundamental and instruction is outstanding.  Justin is extremely positive and enthusiastic.  He has been the head coach for 10U-13U for Evanston's Feeder Program for 14 years.  He currently coaches for Top Tier North Travel Feeder Program.  He is now available Monday - Sunday for instruction. Ages - 6 and up. You can book lessons with Justin online at or you can e-mail or contact him on his cell at (847)-624-0614 to inquire about lessons with him.

Brandon Vamarasi

Hitting / General Skills

Brandon is an Evanston native going into his sixth calendar year coaching youth baseball. A graduate of Evanston Township, he studied English and Philosophy at Lawrence University while also competing at the Division III level. A majority of Brandon’s playing career was spent on the infield, but he also played outfield and catcher at Lawrence. He is a head coach for EBSA during the summer and has transitioned into personalized skill training at The Strike Zone.

Beyond baseball, Brandon’s most valuable skill is his ability to interact positively with youth. A former AmeriCorps member and after-school program leader, his desire to promote learning as well as fun have been a constant. You can book lessons with Brandon online at or you can e-mail to inquire about lessons with him.