The U Deserve a Chance Foundation (UDACF) Evolution team not only made its first-ever appearance at the National Team Championships at the 2023 14U National Team Championships in North Carolina, but its debut as a team.
The UDACF Evolution Team is the result of a collaborative effort by AthElite Player Development – an organization that focuses on training and developing youth baseball players – the U Deserve a Chance Foundation, and coaches Chris Reyes, Jason Ferber, Dan Corona and Bob Glennerster.
The U Deserve a Chance Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Charlotte, North Carolina, that is dedicated to leveling the playing field for youth baseball players and organizations and growing the game of baseball in under-served communities.
With the help of the experienced coaching staff, AthElite Player Development and the U Deserve a Chance Foundation curated a roster of some of the most talented baseball players at the 14U level from across the country. Additionally, as a result of their efforts, organized sponsors and financial support has allowed the team to travel to and participate in the 14U National Team Championships in North Carolina this past week.
Among the four UDACF Evolution Team coaches is Bob Glennerster, a former college baseball player and experienced college and high school baseball head coach who is currently in his sixth season as the head coach at St. Peter’s Boys High School in Staten Island, New York.
Chris Reyes, the founder of AthElite Player Development, reached out to Glennerster about being involved in the UDACF Evolution Team, and Glennerster was drawn to the team because of the values behind it and the dedicated roster of coaches.
“The mission of the UDACF Evolution Team, really in one sentence, is to leave the game of baseball better than we found it,” Glennerster said. “That was our goal going into this and I think we’re capitalizing on that. The staff that we’ve put together, I say it all the time, is like a mini dream team. Guys know how to stay in their lanes and do what they do best, and we all know what we do best. I think when the players see that, it really reflects on their play on the field.”
That certainly has proven true at the 14U National Team Championships in North Carolina where the UDACF Evolution Team picked up a win against SBA National 2027 and tied Top Tier Select and Canes National 14U.
“The players all have different personalities and come from different states, and have meshed really well,” Glennerster said. “It’s been amazing to see everybody come together to be on the same page and compete at the highest level for their age group.”
Despite coming into the tournament as underdogs compared to many of the other participating teams that have played and traveled together in the summer for years, the UDACF Evolution Team had only met once before in-person and is playing in their first-ever event as a team.
“Although we’ve only been together once in-person, we’ve had many Zoom calls and we’re all in a group chat together. These guys got a chance to get to know each other, we made sure of it,” Glennerster said.
“As far as us with the research of the players, there’s so much data now on the internet. We were able to see their measurables, videos, and their Instagram pages, so we were able to do some really good research before getting here.”
The team was able to perform well enough in pool play – compiling a 1-1-1 record and tying reigning champions Canes National 14U – to earn a spot in the quarterfinals. Although the UDACF Evolution Team was defeated by Stacked Baseball in a closely matched, 6-5, back-and-forth quarterfinal game, the team has made a statement at the National Team Championships and put its players on the map for members of the USA Baseball Task Force, coaches, and scouts in attendance.
The team has also provided opportunities for members of their team to develop as players by competing against some of the best 14U teams in the country and participating in Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) performance assessments..
“The UDACF Evolution Team gains from this event by being able to see the best players in the country and really get an honest evaluation of themselves as players moving forward in their baseball careers,” Glennerster said. “The best way to evaluate yourself is to go against the best to have self realization of how you are as a player, and this tournament really does that.”
These opportunities may not have been available to many of the team members if not for the UDACF Evolution Team and the people and organizations that support it, including USA Baseball.
“Having sponsors for this event to be able to serve our players is huge financially for our guys,” Glennerster said. “The sponsors alleviate that burden on the parents to spend that money because hotels, travel, uniforms, and gear, among many other things, are expensive, so it’s huge to be able to get sponsors for this event.”
Two members of the UDACF Evolution Team that have made a splash this week at the 14U National Team Championships are twin brothers Ryan and Derek Yormack.
The Yormack brothers are members of the Class of 2027 from Merrick, New York, and are both committed to Duke University.
“It was amazing [to be selected for the UDACF Evolution Team],” Ryan said. “We have a bunch of great coaches who invited a bunch of kids that are going to compete at a high level. I was honored to be able to do it with my brother.”
Other than getting a taste of where they will be spending their college years, the brothers have performed strongly at the plate and on the mound in the tournament.
Derek, an infielder and right-handed pitcher, started the week strong for UDACF Evolution, allowing one run while fanning seven batters in four innings, the bump to pick up the win in the team’s first game of the tournament against SBA National 2027.
“It’s a much bigger stage than what we’re used to, but I think I did well,” Derek said. “I just tried to attack the zone and make hitters uncomfortable.”
Ryan stepped up for the team when it needed him most in the quarterfinal game against Stacked Baseball, as the right-hander/third baseman/outfielder went 2-for-3 with two hits and an RBI.
“My experience has been amazing so far,” Ryan said. “We’ve got a bunch of great kids. We’ve been playing against all this high-level competition and we’re trying to be the best.”
In between games, UDACF Evolution found time to give back to the local community in Cary, North Carolina, by participating in a food drive in which the proceeds went to Dorcas Ministries.
“It’s all about giving back,” Ryan said. “It’s about helping other people. We’re just trying to be the best we can and help other people off the field too.”
Through the team’s actions on and off the field, UDACF Evolution has kept its focus on not only performing to the best of its abilities but also living out the values of the team and making a memorable National Team Championships debut.