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Friday, June 21, 2024
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Alexis Lucyshyn’s journey from D-I wannabe to MVP

The graduating senior reflects on her softball career and time at UB

Alexis Lucyshyn, No. 10, throws a pitch at a Bulls home game.
Alexis Lucyshyn, No. 10, throws a pitch at a Bulls home game.

Alexis Lucyshyn heard it so many times: she would never make it to the Division I level for softball — and she started to believe it.

Then, at a showcase in Florida during her senior year of high school, UB approached her. 

“It came out of nowhere,” she said. “But it was a blessing in disguise.”

Lucyshyn has been drawn to softball since she was around 4 years old. But the sport isn’t very popular in her hometown of Calgary, Alberta. She could play club softball, but her high school didn’t have a team. She was forced to try other sports and wound up playing volleyball, basketball, track, and field hockey.

 “It gave me the best way to be an overall athlete, which I think has helped me a lot in my softball career,” she said.

Despite her versatility and success in club play as a pitcher and a hitter, those around Lucyshyn still had doubts that she would make D-I.

“It pushed me harder,” she said. “I wanted to be that person to prove them wrong.”

The new sense of motivation allowed Lucyshyn to stand out. In 2019, she made the junior national team for Canada and won a bronze medal.

“I want to show younger girls that they can pursue any sport that they want, even if they’re told they can’t,” she said.

After receiving the offer to play at UB, Lucyshyn made the haul from Calgary, eager to join a new team in a new place.

“Walking into the locker room and seeing our field was a moment of awe for me,” she said. “I felt like I had finally made it.”

Lucyshyn wasted no time making a name for herself. In a shortened freshman season, she recorded a team-best 3.34 earned run average from the mound. In her sophomore season, she started all 53 games and was named to the All-Mid American Conference (MAC) First Team. 

“Receiving all those accolades means so much to me, but at the same time I couldn’t have done it without my team,” she said. “Even after winning those I wanted to keep working harder and harder to get my team more success.”

Lucyshyn would continue to rack up the accolades, earning All-MAC Second Team in her junior year. But 2023 was when she found her name in the record book. She finished fourth in program history in single season strikeouts (159), fifth in games pitched in a career (86), fourth in most games started in a career (68), fifth most wins (24), and fifth-most shutouts (4), along with another All-MAC Second Team.

Despite Lucyshyn’s individual success, the team has struggled during her time at UB. Through her first four seasons, the team recorded a 56-106 record. But if that’s discouraged Lucyshyn, she doesn’t show it. 

“We’re going to get knocked down, but the biggest thing is to keep pushing,” she said. “We have so much support from our team, and that’s what I’ve relied on while going through this process.”

Lucyshyn’s positivity and relentlessness haven’t gone unnoticed, and as a sophomore she was named captain. Despite being young, she wasn’t fazed by the responsibility.

“Growing up I’ve always been a really vocal person, so I’ve always been a leader in that sense,” she said. “But my biggest thing is to lead by example.” 

Her “lead by example” philosophy is something she hopes will be passed down and embodied by the succeeding leaders of the team.

Lucyshyn now enters her last few games as a Bull. With a postseason berth unlikely for the second-to-last-place Bulls, she is mindful of embracing her final moments.

“In my last couple weeks here playing softball, the biggest thing is just taking a moment to enjoy it and reflect on how far this team has come,” she said.

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