Myles Pallister woke up to a text this summer that would alter the course of his young baseball career.
The 17-year-old, now Grade 12 student from Lacombe had been pondering what his baseball future might hold beyond 2019.
He hoped, perhaps earnestly that an NCAA Division I school would come calling, although not all that likely for a player from these parts.
Then, the text came.
“I just woke up one day and had a text from them, in August probably and kept in contact with them. Just decided last week that’s the place I wanted to go,” said Pallister, who officially signed a letter of intent Wednesday to play at Niagara University in Lewiston, New York next fall.
“It all played out the way I wanted to. I landed this incredible opportunity, I’m just super thankful for it.”
The six-foot-two, 190-pound pitcher, who came up in the Red Deer Minor Baseball system said it’s a dream come true to crack the next level.
It’s awesome, every kid’s dream is to play Division I baseball, so that’s the biggest thing for me,” said the right-handed pitcher.
“It’s a great school, great coaches and everything about it looks phenomenal. They have good development and really strong academically. It’s all perfect for me.”
While the text locked down the deal, it was several viewings earlier this summer that really opened the eyes of the Niagara coaching staff.
Pallister first pitched for Team Alberta at the Canada Cup in Regina in early August, going six innings and allowing seven hits, just one run and striking out three batters. He had a 1.167 earned run average.
From there, he was one of the only Alberta players invited to Tournament 12. That event is hosted at the Rogers Centre in Toronto by the Blue Jays Academy and is designed to provide a showcase opportunity for baseball players born in Canada.
2020 Myles Pallister of the @RedDeerBraves works two strong innings for Team Maroon.
— PBR Ontario (@PBR_Ontario) September 20, 2019
Pallister showcased his stuff over three innings, allowing two hits, no runs and striking out one. More importantly, his velocity stood out.
“In Toronto, I was sitting at 85 miles per hour, pretty consistently. Touched 87, that’s usually where I sit. There’s always room for improvement but I was pretty happy with that,” he said.
And for as long as he can remember, he’s always just wanted to throw. That has slowly grown into a deep desire to learn to throw as hard as he can.
“I love to throw the ball hard. It’s my favourite thing. I study that. I watch it, I love it. I wish I threw a little bit harder,” he said modestly.
“It’s always something I’ve been naturally good at it. I’ve always worked hard to be good at because I love it. The number is in my head every time I pick up a ball.”
Of course, he also needed to learn how to become more than just a thrower. He picked that up along the way from longtime coach Lyle Lorenz and several others.
“I was always pretty strong at it,” he recalled.
“After having great coaching– my childhood coach Lyle Lorenz and then coaching in Red Deer, I went to Edmonton for a school year, all that really helped me develop into an actual pitcher, not some kid who likes throwing a ball.”
Pallister took the fall off from baseball, playing volleyball for his high school team in Lacombe. With that season ending Tuesday, it’s back to baseball.
He isn’t sure yet where he’ll play this summer, a return to the Red Deer Midget AAA Braves for a third season is a possibility.
He is absolutely sure that he wants to throw harder and if he can, his ultimate dream, pitching in the pros, might be become a reality one day.
“My goal is 90 or higher. For sure, if you even have a dream of playing pro baseball, you wouldn’t be doing it. That number is pretty important to get that opportunity,” Pallister said.