A native of Belmont, N.C., Lawing graduated from South Point High School in 2010. He was honored as a 3A All-State Player in 2009 and was a 3-time All-Conference selection.
Lawing then went on to play at Lander University and was part of the Bearcat team that reached the NCAA Division II College World Series in 2014. During his time at Lander, Lawing earned 3 All-Conference Selections in the Peach Belt Conference, was selected to the All-Southeast Region team his Junior year and also holds the Lander school record in career doubles and RBIs.
In the summer of 2013 and 2014 Lawing played for the Gastonia Grizzlies in Gastonia, NC. In 2014 he was selected to the CPL all-star game and was awarded the 2014 CPL Defensive Player of the Year. Lawing holds several Gastonia Grizzlies franchise records as well as the single season batting average record of .365 (2014).
Lawing graduated from Lander University in May of 2015 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science and a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist. Upon graduating Lawing joined the Belmont Abbey College coaching staff where he worked with the Crusader hitters and outfielders during the 2015-2016 season.
Weston took over full ownership of 704 Sports Academy in the summer of 2021. He and his wife Bridget reside in Gastonia, NC with their daughter Hattie Sue and chocolate lab Jackson.
Head of Strength & Conditioning/ Facility Manager
Mitchell Painter graduated from South Point High School in 2013 where he played baseball and football. He decided to further his education and baseball career at North Greenville University, where he studied Exercise Science in Sports Management. Painter was apart of the Crusaders campaign that made NCAA Division II SouthEast Regionals in 2015 and 2018. In 2016 Painter led the North Greenville Crusaders in batting average finishing at .363 and was second on the team in doubles. After graduating from North Greenville he did an Internship at Furman University as a Strength and Conditioning Coach.
Mitchell was hired as a full time staff member of 704 Sports Academy in October 2021 as Head of Strength & Conditioning and Facility Manager. He and his dog Kilo reside in Gastonia, NC.
Garrett Browder attended Fike High School in Wilson, NC where he graduated in 2018 as the 3rd ranked catcher in North Carolina by Perfect Game. Browder went on to play at Davidson College where he was a mainstay catcher during their 2021 and 2022 season. Graduating this fall, he hopes to continue his playing career as he obtains his Masters Degree.
Evan Wise has spent the past two seasons as the Pitching Coach and Recruiting Coordinator at NAIA National Power, Georgia Gwinnett College. Over his two seasons with GGC, the Grizzlies had 9 pitchers sign professional contracts to extend their playing careers.
Preceding his position at GGC, Wise was the Pitching Lab Coordinator for the NCAA Division I program within the Atlantic Coast Conference at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.
Before Wake Forest, Wise was the Summer Director of Pitching at 108 Performance Academy in Tustin, California.
In 2018, Wise was an area scouting supervisor for Southern California within the New York Mets organization.
From 2014-2017 Wise was the Pitching Coach/Recruiting Coordinator for Lenoir-Rhyne University. During his time at Lenoir-Rhyne, Wise assisted in the development of six pitchers who signed professional contracts with MLB organizations.
Wise also served as a Pitching Coach at University of South Carolina Sumter for four seasons (2010-14).
In the summers of 2014-17, Wise was head coach of the Gastonia Grizzlies of the Coastal Plain League where he finished his tenure as the Grizzly’s all-time winning Manager in franchise history.
Wise is a 2004 graduate of Lincolnton High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in history from Lenoir-Rhyne in 2009 and currently also serves as Director of Player Development for Belmont Abbey College.
Nick Wells is from Haymarket, VA. During his high school playing years he was named Baseball America All American Honorable Mention, Perfect Game All American, and Perfect Game Top LHP VA. In 2014, Wells was selected 3rd round (83rd overall) to the Toronto Blue Jays in the draft. He was traded to Seattle Mariners in 2015 and then traded to Washington Nationals in 2019. Wells just finished his 9th year of professional baseball. Some highlights and awards in his professional career include Northwest League Pitcher of the week, Appalachian League Pitcher of the Week, and Appalachian League Top 20 Prospect.
Josh Benfield attended East Gaston High School from 2013-2017. Benfield was a 4 year varsity starter for the Warriors and earned All-Conference honors in 2016 and 2017 along with being his teams Most Valuable Player in back to back years. After High School Benfield attended St. Andrews University, where he earned back to back 1st team All-Conference Honors and in 2022 earned All-American honors. In back to back seasons at St. Andrews Benfield hit a combined .391 with 29 HR’s , 97 RBI’s and a 1.291 OPS. Benfield is currently a head coach in the Charlotte Megastars Organization, an Assistant Coach at Highland Tech, and teaches at Holbrook Middle School.
Matt “Big Tuna” Alberghini comes to 704 Sports Academy after having served on staff at five different Division 1 softball programs across the country. In his most recent position, Matt served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Texas Arlington from September 2020 through June of 2022 where he oversaw recruiting, and player development programs. Prior to that he was an assistant coach at Boston College where he oversaw the offense, outfield, and catchers. Preceding his time in Boston, Alberghini served as a Graduate Assistant at the University of Washington where he was instrumental in helping the Huskies reach a Women’s College World Series appearance finishing 3rd overall in 2019. Before UW, he was a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Pittsburgh having been an impactful contributor to the teams regular season ACC championship in 2018. Alberghini got his start at Coastal Carolina University where he served as a student manager for multiple seasons. Alberghini is a 2012 graduate from Hickory High school in Chesapeake, VA. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Recreation and Sport Management from Coastal Carolina University in 2017 and a Master’s Degree in Athletic Leadership from the University of Washington in 2019.
Jaime Honbaier is from Lincolnton, NC but currently resides in Mt. Holly. Jaime attended Lincolnton High School where she was a three sport athlete; playing volleyball, basketball and softball. Jaime continued her basketball career at Gardner-Webb University. Upon graduating, Jaime began coaching and instructing softball athletes in the greater charlotte area and has coached travel ball for several years. Jaime is committed to developing the skills of softball players of all ages through private training as she continues to build her softball resume through continued education.
Taylor Cheek is from McColl, SC where she attended Marlboro County High School. After graduation Cheek went to Queens University where she played for the Royals as catcher/utility. Cheek is our lead softball instructor and has been working as an instructor at 704 Sports Academy since winter of 2021.