Red Deer’s Kelsey Lalor won bronze with Canada at the Women’s Baseball World Cup. (Advocate File Photo)

Kelsey Lalor commits to play softball at Boise State

Red Deer’s Kelsey Lalor will dawn a different look this fall.

The multi-sport athlete is set to join the Boise State Broncos softball team in the NCAA for the 2020 season. Lalor was heading into her fourth season as a point guard for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies basketball team before the transfer.

“I’ve thought about it before, when I was still in high school. At that point in my life, I really wanted to be a basketball player. I wanted to try that. Had an opportunity to play at the University of Saskatchewan,” Lalor said Tuesday.

“That was an awesome opportunity that I’ve had the last three years. Just felt like something I wanted to try and test it out. See if I’m good at softball and go from there.”

The 21-year-old has experienced plenty of success on the baseball diamond, suiting up for the national team on four occasions and was an all-star outfielder for Canada at the 2018 Women’s Baseball World Cup in Florida. At Boise State, she will move to the middle of the diamond and mostly play shortstop.

It will be an entirely different world when she steps onto the softball field next season. This summer, Lalor came home and through some work with Jason Chatwood at the St. Joseph Ball Academy, figured she might be able to give softball a shot.

After they sent out some film to different schools, Boise State was one of the schools who came calling. All and all it took about a month for it all to come together.

“We sent out a few videos to a couple of people and got a response back from Boise State that they were looking for a transfer to come in and play. Just ended up getting pretty lucky with timing and everything,” she said.

“I played infield all the time growing up, so that’ll be nice to get back in there.”


Kelsey Lalor joins Red Deer Riggers and keeps family tradition alive

Red Deer’s Kelsey Lalor selected for Team Canada Women’s baseball team

It is also confidence in her abilities, Chatwood’s endorsement and a few Team Canada teammates navigating the two different games that has Lalor ready to make the switch. Her Canadian teammate Claire Eccles played in 2017 for both the UBC Thunderbirds women’s softball team and the men’s baseball team.

“There’s lots of little things that are different. Overall, lots of the skills are a direct transfer. Lots of it will be timing and learning the pitchers and how to approach groundballs. Everything is closer, so it will all just happen that little bit quicker,” she said.

Broncos head coach Maggie Huffaker added in a press release that she liked several aspects of Lalor’s game.

“Kelsey is a pure athlete with great range, arm strength, and power. She will compete for multiple positions but primarily will look to spend time on the infield and provide power to the middle of the lineup,” Huffaker said.

Lalor had talked with her family about the idea before and Chatwood helped stoke the fire as well this summer, believing she could earn a Division I opportunity. On top of all that, she also likes the idea of working on softball all year round to help improve her overall baseball game.

“I got really lucky growing up. Played with a good group of guys and had some good coaches. Just something I always wanted to do. I got my opportunity with the national team when I was young and that was a big part of it. I got so many opportunities playing with Baseball Canada, I just wanted to keep playing baseball,” she said.

“Now, I think playing softball throughout the year will help improve my baseball game, too. I’ll be hitting all year and throwing and fielding groundballs. It’s a different game, but still, the basics of it are similar.”

She will continue to play for the Red Deer Riggers as the playoffs go forward and will play for Canada in a World Cup qualifier later this month. Then it’s off to Idaho.

“When I get to Boise, it will just be a lot of work on the softball diamond. Just be tons of swings and lots of ground balls to get lots of reps in and go from there,” Lalor said.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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