Two showcase baseball programs — The Bullpen from Monett and Northeast Prospects from Northeast Oklahoma — have joined forces to form Evo Elite.
Scott Wright, former Missouri Southern pitcher who was drafted in the 41st round by the Cincinnati Reds in 1995, has owned The Bullpen for the last 10 years. He played four years in the Reds’ organization, two years in independent ball and one year in Taiwan.
Donny Pennington, former baseball coach at Neosho and Grove high schools, has owned Northeast Prospects the last six years.
“We decided to come together as one and create Evo Elite,” Pennington said. “By doing this, we’re able to offer kids a lot more opportunities and compete at a national level rather than just a regional level.
“We’ve been talking the last five years about combining and having one ... with all our experience between the two of us. With COVID-19 happening, we had a little more time on our hands. We looked at stuff and decided this is the year to do it. Each organization finished this year, but we’ve merged them into one, expanding into more teams, more age groups, more opportunities.”
“We’re going to make stronger teams when we combine,” Wright said. “It will allow us to play more national events and have more exposure for the kids. ... Right now we’re going to concentrate on 14 (under) through 18 (under). We need to get that fixed up, but I definitely see us doing some youth teams (8-under through 13-under).”
The two 18-under teams played in seven tournaments this year and had a combined record of 46-10, according to Pennington.
“We play in Perfect Game tournaments, Five Tool tournaments, all those high-level national tournaments,” Pennington said. “We are at a lower price than the rest of the showcase teams in the area. We are going to come together, build a program, offer baseball and the same opportunities to kids without them having to spend a fortune to do so.”
Pennington said that Evo Elite also has teamed with World Class Sports, an indoor facility in Pittsburg, Kansas, and it will offer free access to team members.
“It’s baseball,” Wright said. “We’ll have fun playing and try to teach kids as much as we can and get them in front of as many coaches as we can.”