USA Baseball Names 2023 Women's National Team Staff

Eleven-time Team USA player Malaika Underwood set to make coaching debut

CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball today named the coaching staff for the 2023 Women’s National Team. The staff is highlighted by three returning members from 2022, including 2019 Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year and five-time Team USA player Veronica Alvarez as manager. Reynol Mendoza and Alex Oglesby return to their roles as pitching coach and assistant coach, respectively, and 11-time Team USA player Malaika Underwood will make her coaching debut as she joins the team as an assistant coach.

The staff will lead the Women’s National Team in 2023 at the IX World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women’s Baseball World Cup group stage, which will take place from August 8-13 in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The team most recently played on the international stage last year when it defeated Canada in a five-game international friendship series in Thunder Bay.

“We are thrilled to have Veronica, Reynol, and Alex back to guide our Women’s National Team, and to add Malaika to the staff, as we return to World Cup action in 2023,” USA Baseball Director of Baseball Operations Ann Claire Roberson said. “Every one of these coaches brings an incredible amount of baseball knowledge and experience to this program that will be instrumental in not only the pursuit of a gold medal but also the growth and development of all of our athletes both on and off the field. We are confident that they will represent this organization and the U.S. exceptionally well at the helm of Team USA, and we cannot wait to get started.”

Alvarez has been named Women’s National Team manager on three previous occasions (2019, 2020, and 2022). In 2019, she became the first female recipient of the USA Baseball Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year award for her efforts in leading the Women’s National Team to a gold medal in the COPABE Women’s Pan-American Championships. The team finished with a perfect 7-0 record and outscored its opponents 124-20, a performance that led to the team being named USA Baseball’s 2019 Team of the Year.

Beyond just her managerial career, Alvarez has donned the red, white, and blue in several roles. She served as Field Coordinator at the Women’s National Team Development Program and the inaugural USA Baseball Girls Camp in 2021, worked on the 2018 staff as an assistant coach, and played for Team USA on five separate occasions. As a player, she medaled at every international competition she featured in, including a gold medal at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, a silver medal at the 2012 WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup, and bronze medals at the 2008 and 2010 IBAF Women’s Baseball World Cups.

Alvarez, who is currently the Coordinator of Player Development in Latin America for the Oakland A’s, has also continued to help grow the game of women’s baseball through programs created from the collaboration between Major League Baseball and USA Baseball, aimed at fostering the next generation of female baseball players in the United States. She has also been a coach at the Trailblazer Series since 2017, the Girls Baseball Breakthrough Series Showcase & Development Camp since 2018, and the Girls Baseball Elite Development Invitational from 2020-2022.

“I am proud to once again serve as the manager of the Women’s National Team because I am proud of the women that I get to lead,” said Alvarez. “Since our last international competition in 2019, we have taken advantage of every opportunity that we have been given to develop our players, elevate our level of play as a team, and grow the game. It’s been incredible to witness how the players have stayed focused and have continued to challenge themselves and each other during uncertain times. We are eager to finally showcase the work we’ve done, both physically and mentally, on and off the field in pursuit of our goal to be the best in the world.”

Mendoza returns as Team USA’s pitching coach after previously serving in the role in both 2019 and 2022. During the 2019 team’s run to a gold medal at the COPABE Women’s Pan-American Games, he helped coach its pitchers to a collective 3.16 ERA and .255 batting average against in 37 innings of work. Mendoza is also the head coach at Eagle Pass High School (Eagle Pass, Texas), where he has led the Eagles to 15 consecutive playoff appearances and three regional finals appearances in 2013, 2014, and 2021. Prior to coaching, Mendoza played seven seasons in the Miami Marlins’ minor league system after being drafted in the seventh round of the 1992 MLB Draft.

Oglesby also returns to Team USA as an assistant coach after working in the position in 2019 and 2022. Oglesby was a member of the inaugural Women’s National Team that won a gold medal at the IBAF Women’s Baseball World Cup in 2004, where she was named to the All-Tournament Team. Before representing Team USA, she played in the Ladies Professional Baseball League and was the league’s youngest player when it began in 1997. At just 17 years old, Oglesby led the San Jose Spitfires to the league’s first World Series Championship and was named both Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year for her efforts. She also helped form the California Women’s Baseball League in 2002, where she earned MVP honors twice.

Oglesby has also been a member of the coaching staff at the USA Baseball Girls Camp in 2021, the Women’s National Team Trials and Women’s National Open in 2018, and the Trailblazer Series since 2017. In addition to these events, she coached at the first-ever Major League Baseball and USA Baseball GRIT in 2019.

Underwood makes her debut on the Women’s National Team staff as an assistant coach after recently concluding one of the most successful playing careers in USA Baseball history. From her debut in 2006 through her final appearance in 2022, Underwood played on a Team USA-record 11 national teams and medaled at eight different international competitions. She won four total gold medals, including at the 2006 Women’s Baseball World Cup, the 2015 Pan American Games Qualifier and Pan American Games, and the 2019 COPABE Pan-American Championships. In addition to these, she also earned two silver medals at the 2012 and 2014 IBAF Women’s Baseball World Cups and two bronze medals at the 2008 and 2010 World Cups.

Along with all of her team success, Underwood achieved many different individual accomplishments while playing for Team USA. She was named to the Women’s Baseball World Cup All-Tournament Team in both 2008 and 2014, and she earned the USA Baseball Sportswoman of the Year award in 2015. Underwood also holds the Women’s National Team record for most hits, runs, RBIs, and stolen bases in a career, as well as the record for most hits in a single game with five.

The 2023 Women’s National Team schedule begins with the Women’s National Open, which will take place from July 7-9 at Riverview Baseball Complex – the Spring Training facility for the Chicago Cubs in Mesa, Arizona – and serve as the primary identification event for Team USA. Players from around the country will be divided into teams and compete in games and workout sessions, where they will be evaluated by the national team coaching staff. Registration for the event is open to female baseball players born in 2007 or earlier.

At the end of the Women’s National Open, a minimum of 35 players will be selected by the coaching staff to participate in the Women’s National Team Training Camp, which will take place from July 10-13 at Riverview Baseball Complex. Once Training Camp concludes, 20 women will be chosen to represent Team USA at the IX WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup group stage starting on August 8.

The USA Baseball Women’s National Team has medaled in six of the eight WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cups since the tournament’s inception in 2004. The U.S. earned gold in the first two editions of the event in 2004 and 2006, posting a 10-2 combined record. After winning bronze medals in 2008 and 2010, the stars and stripes claimed silver in 2012 and 2014. Overall, the Women’s National Team owns five gold medals in international competition, most recently earning a first-place finish at the 2019 COPABE Women’s Pan-American Championships.