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Baseball Institute at a Glance

Company Name

Baseball Institute


Mokena, Illinois

Year Founded



Youth Sports Education and Training

Market Reach

Recent Growth


Hitting a home run. We made it happen.

Baseball Institute

Mario Ortiz, Business Manager, Baseball Institute

Mokena, Illinois

I’ve been a customer of First Merchants Bank for more than seven years. They’re the bank I trust with my family business, Bella Flowers & Greenhouse. When my friend Chris Pack asked me to become a partner in his business, Baseball Institute, I was honored. I have been involved in baseball as a coach and instructor ever since my three sons began taking an interest in the sport. Chris had a very long and distinguished career as a college and professional baseball player, so when it came to running a business that trained and conditioned young baseball players I trusted he would excel at it. Becoming a partner with Chris in Baseball Institute meant a lot of big changes, including purchasing a training facility. Baseball Institute already rented a facility, but Chris and I knew that by purchasing our own building we would build equity and a reputation for ourselves in the Mokena area for years to come. 

While I’ve been a longtime customer of First Merchants Bank, Chris didn’t have a personal relationship with a bank. However, I’ve known Kevin Wagner, Vice President of First Merchants Bank in the Lakeshore Region, for years. When I came to Kevin, interested in getting a loan to purchase the training facility, he and First Merchants Bank were immediately on board.

Kevin knew the best way to secure financing for the training facility was to use the Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 program. While this approach made taking out a million dollar loan more reasonable, it still took a lot of hard work and dedication on behalf of Kevin and First Merchants Bank. Thanks to First Merchants Bank’s trust and belief in our business, our loan was approved and purchasing the facility was a home run. We knew we needed a facility that could house our gifted instructors like Erik Lis who has been an integral part of the Baseball Institute since 2012.

Today, Baseball Institute helps young athletes realize their potential by setting realistic goals while still pushing them to do their absolute best. First Merchants Bank is the same way with us. They help us understand our financial situation in a very realistic way, but always do everything they can to help us continue growing. We needed a space we could call our own for years to come, First Merchants helped make it happen.  

Stop in or call 1.866.833.0050 to learn more about our commercial banking solutions.

View more stories of how First Merchants has made it happen.