OTTAWA - Baseball Canada is thrilled to reveal the names of four athletes who have been selected as award winners for the 2019 edition of the Women’s National Team after the squad earned a bronze medal at the COPABE Women’s Baseball World Cup Qualifier in Aguascalientes, Mexico last year.
Rookie manager Aaron Myette who took a young team to Mexico following the retirement of key veterans Nicole Luchanksi, Kate Psota and Ashley Stephenson, while 2018 MVP Daphnée Gélinas and standout Mia Valcke were unable to play led the team to a top four finish and a spot in the 2020 WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup.
Myette will appear on Baseball Canada’s Instagram Live feed on Friday, April 3rd at 2PM ET to discuss the awards winners, last year’s qualifier and a look ahead to the Women’s Baseball World Cup which is currently under postponement with dates to be determined as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Most Valuable Player - Kelsey Lalor
A six-year veteran of the Women’s National Team program, Kelsey Lalor was an integral part of the team's success in Mexico. The Red Deer, Alberta native batted .563 with eight runs scored, nine hits including a home run, while hitting in the heart of Canada’s lineup. A multi-dimensional talent, Kelsey's speed and aggressiveness made her a threat every time she was on the base paths along with her outstanding play in the field where she was counted on to round out a defensively sound outfield group. Her game was truly impressive in all aspects throughout the qualifying tournament.
Ashley Stephenson Award - Amanda Asay
With the retirement of key veterans Nicole Luchanksi, Kate Psota and Ashley Stephenson following the 2018 seasons, Amanda Asay took on an important leadership role for the 2019 club. Using her 14 years of experience, the Prince George, BC native captained the squad on and off of the field. She was outstanding at the plate, batting and astronomical .700 with two doubles, one triple and a home run. She also pitched in two games and finishing with a 1-1 record. Stats aside, it could be argued that her greatest asset was her leadership of such a young team. She is a great role model for her teammates; her effort, attitude and execution always gives her team a chance to win.
Futures Award - Ellie Jespersen
The youngest player on the squad at just 16-years-old, Ellie Jespersen had a great first year with the Women's National Team. As the starting second base player, the Spruce Grove, Alberta native solidified the middle infield and showed maturity beyond her years in the leadoff role batting .471 with three runs scored and seven hits including a double. Ellie's positive attitude, work ethic and eagerness to improve makes her future with the National Team incredibly bright.
Special Recognition Award - Nicole Luchanski
The heart and soul of the Women's National Team program since 2006, Nicole Luchanski capped a 13-year run with the program in 2018 with a bronze medal at the WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup. Her work ethic was second to none and if you were ever lucky enough to watch the Edmonton native play, you'd witness her passion for the game every time she stepped onto the field. Nicole had elite baseball IQ, could bat for average and despite her smaller stature, she had loads of power. In the field, Nicole's quickness gave her range that most infielders envied and her speed on the base paths created havoc for opposition catchers regularly. It is without a doubt that Nicole's dedication to the National Team program is something that should be celebrated and used as an example for future players.