Baseball Heaven Staff

As the owner of Baseball Heaven, Joe has extensive experience in what it takes to teach the fundamentals of winning baseball. Over 20 of his former players have signed professional contracts with both Zack Minor and Chris Stynes reaching the Major leagues.   He also does private lessons and operates baseball camps both in Michigan and Florida. Prior to joining Northwood, Coach "D" was a scout in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.


  • 28 Years of experience as a Head College Baseball Coach

  • Coached over 1,000 College Baseball Games

  • Has won 616 games as a Head Coach

  • Over 20 of his former players have signed contracts in Professional Baseball

  • Worked as a scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates prior to Coaching at Northwood

Joe Di Benedetto

Eric Cotton - Former college standout at Jackson Community College and Northwood University.  Eric both pitched and played first baseball while in college.  Following his college career, Eric has numerous tryouts with Major League clubs.  Known for his quick bat and excellent power, Eric will be working with both the hitters and pitching while here at Baseball Heaven.



Shawn Larner - Shawn comes to Baseball Heaven after a 3 year career as a relief pitcher at Northwood University.  As an All Conference performer, he led Northwood in saves in both 2015 an 2016. Having trained with Coach D since he was a youngster, Shawn will bring his hitting and pitching knowledge to the young players at Baseball Heaven.

Ben Blake -  As a local standout first baseman and pitcher at Meridian, Ben furthered his baseball career at Alma College for two years, where he led the team in appearances. He will be transferring to Northwood starting Fall 2019. He has trained with Joe D at Baseball Heaven since he was 10, and will pass along that knowledge as a member of the BH staff.

Connor Smith - A Midland native, Connor graduated from Dow High and went on to excel at Western Michigan University. At Western, Connor was named MAC Freshman of the Year and was named to the MAC All-Conference Team all three years. In June 2018, the Cleveland Indians drafted him in the 30th round and he continues to work out and give lessons at Baseball Heaven.

Jeff Kinley -   Jeff, a left-handed pitcher, graduated from Saginaw Heritage and then played at Michigan State before being drafted by the Miami Marlins. He was a AA All-Star in 2018 and was promoted to AAA shortly after. Jeff will continue to give individual pitching lessons while at Baseball Heaven.

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