David Lotti (16U National Lotti – Head Coach)
In a time when new travel organizations pop up with greater frequency each season, Coach Lotti and his Thunder organization have been around for over 22 years and remained true to the Northeast organization’s overarching principles: 1) teaching young athletes to be responsible and accountable in every facet of their lives, 2) to respect coaches, teammates, parents, the game and the opportunity the game can give prospective student athletes, 3) to give to the game of softball and the team the very best of themselves – whether it be parents, coaches or players – instilling work ethic, pride and a sense of team first. Over the span Thunder has seen our 2012 18U National team tied for 3rd at the prestigious Boulder IDT and the 2019 14U National team ranked 1st in the Northeast and 8th nationally. This past summer our 16u National team finished 5th at PGF Premier Nationals considered the top National event in the country and the 14u National team 17th. Rhode Island Thunder is considered the top program in the New England/Northeast corridor. Altogether, there have been over 1,000 young athletes coming through the RI Thunder program over the last 22 plus years. Says one current club coach: “Dave Lotti was meant to coach in the truest sense of the word. Dave is an ‘old school’ coach, straight shooting, extremely intelligent and precise about the game, and ready to capitalize in any game situation, possessing insatiable desire to compete and relentless in his pursuit of success.” One parent of a top player added: “Dave and RI Thunder have competed at the highest levels of travel ball and have done so largely with New England kids and without wholesale sponsorship. Dave doesn’t poach or try to create all-star teams from other kids’ and teams’ successes—it is home-grown. These kids come to practice not only to learn the game from but to learn how to best function as a team. Our teams have had success because they know each other, trust each other and function as a team vs. a collection of capable individuals.
Bob Rossi (16U National Lotti – Asst Coach)
Bob Rossi has been coaching Rhode Island Thunder softball for 17 years with Dave Lotti. He currently is an Asst. Coach on the Rhode Island Thunder Gold 16 U National Lotti team that finished 5th at PGF Nationals this summer. The highest finish by a Northeast Team ever. His duties include but not limited to working with catchers and being the recruiting coordinator for all Thunder Teams in the organization.
Frank Lieto (18U National Lotti – Head Coach)
Manny Moitoso (14U National Lotti – Head Coach)
Joe Coupal (16U National Lotti – Asst Coach)
Coaching Experience – 15+ years – Softball, Basketball, Baseball – ages 5-18. 10 years coaching club softball including 2022-23 (RI Thunder 16U National) and 2020-21 with Rhode Island Thunder 14U National team (finished 17th at PGF National Premier). Previously, Dirt Dawgs (12U – 18U over 6 years) and also served as softball director for 3 years.
Previous Certifications – NCAA Certified Coach, ACE, PCA
Coaching Philosophy – teach and develop progression in all areas including gratitude, humility, respect, integrity, communications, competitiveness, Game IQ, and skills. “Be a better human being each day and compete at the highest level you can – Be the best you.”
Personal – Married with 4 children Interests – Coaching, Music, Technology, Fitness, Humor
Education – BSEE, MBA – URI
Professional – Owner of a Digital Marketing Agency (WSI PM)
Ames Kaiser (18U Gold – Wilson Head Coach)Coaching Experience: 14 years softball; (4th season with RI Thunder); 8 years baseball. Coached RI Thunder 14 National (1 year), placed 5th at PGF Nationals in 2023; RI Thunder 14U (2 years) placed 4th at USSSA Eastern Nationals. 4 years with Coventry Crush. ACE Certified
Coaching approach: Find a way to get the most out of each player. Practice is where all of the work gets done, where the team is built, where we find player’s strengths and weaknesses and work on them. Games are where we showcase all of the hours of team and individual practice. Mistakes are made on the weekends, and we build practices to improve during the week. Never stop trying to improve, whether its softball, school, work, or family.
Lives in North Kingstown, RI, 3 Children
Owned a tree service for 20 years, now property management.
B.S. Forestry, University of New Hampshire
Enjoy Fishing, Spearfishing, Skiing, Sailing, watching baseball (Red Sox), football (Patriots)
Mark Hernandez (18U Premier Hernandez – Head Coach)
Started his coaching career at St Mary Catholic Central High School. He was the JV baseball coach for 3 years. He then became the Varsity Softball coach. Mark spent 4 years as the Varsity coach before becoming the Assistant coach at Hillsdale College. Mark was also the 18u coach for Michigan Generals showcase helping many athletes play at the college level. Mark moved to Massachusetts and quickly took over the Central Mass Thunder showcase team for 9 years He then started Metro West Thunder out of Sluggers Academy. Mark Also, pitched for little Cesar’s men’s fast pitch team. Mark is currently the Asst Varsity Baseball Coach at Lincoln Sudbury High School.
John Gniadek (18U Premier Gniadek – Head Coach)
John joined the Thunder organization as a Head Coach in the fall of 2020. Since then he has led 12U and 14U teams to successful seasons following the Thunder playbook. This year John will be leading one of the 18U Premier Teams. His previous experience in coaching includes many years in baseball, basketball and softball at various competitive levels. John is also currently the Head Coach of the Varsity Girls Basketball team in his hometown of Uxbridge, MA. Professionally John is employed by VETRO Fibermaps as the SVP of Customer Success.
David Alves (16U Gold Regional – Head Coach)
Coaching Experience – 10+ years softball, basketball, baseball. 5
years club softball. 5 years Interscholastic Coach including 4 Division
Championships and 1 state championship. 1+ years AAU baseball
coach, youth basketball coach.
Previous Certifications – NFHS certified Coach
Coaching Philosophy – Hustle/Focus – Never give up and always outwork your opponent. Focus on fundamentals and game IQ.
Personal – Married with 3 children Interests – Coaching and hanging out with family
Education – BA Business Mgt/Economics – Assumption University, MBA – Bryant University
Professional – Director of Finance & Operations – Beacon Charter School
Chris Leclair (14U Gold- Head Coach)Coaching Experience – 15+ years coaching softball, 11 with RI Thunder. Had the privilege to coach 12’s, 14’s and 18’s and see many former players compete at every college level.
Coaching Philosophy – Teach, develop, and support these student athletes in their journey
Personal – Married with 4 daughters. Enjoys coaching, watching, and playing all sports. Time spent with family. Learning new things.
Education – EE Wentworth, MBA-Babson
Brad Ricci (14U Gold- Head Coach)