Sports

West Kelowna baseball player signs scholarship deal to the States

Okanagan Athletics catcher Morgan Lofstrom blocks the plate and is thrown into the air during BC Premier Baseball League action last summer. Lofstrom has secured a scholarship to San Jacinto junior college in Texas. - Doug Farrow
Okanagan Athletics catcher Morgan Lofstrom blocks the plate and is thrown into the air during BC Premier Baseball League action last summer. Lofstrom has secured a scholarship to San Jacinto junior college in Texas.
— image credit: Doug Farrow

A few years ago West Kelowna baseball player Morgan Lofstrom had to make a decision between all of his different sports.

The Mount Boucherie student was juggling baseball, hockey and lacrosse but was faced with a decision on which sporting path to take.

"Baseball was getting more serious and I had to decide which one I wanted to play," said Lofstrom this week. "It just seemed like baseball could take me where I wanted to go."

And that decision appears to be a smart one for the 17-year-old catcher/pitcher. Late last year Lofstrom secured a full-ride scholarship to San Jacinto College in Texas where he will continue his baseball career this September as a freshman at the junior college.

"I'm really excited to go down there," he said. "It's going to be different. It's going to be nice to play with guys who have been playing baseball their whole life. The talent is a lot better down there and there are going to be a lot of strong players which will be good."

Lofstrom spent last year as one of the top players on the Okanagan Athletics as the A's had its best season ever in the B.C. Premier Baseball League, winning the league championship. Days after winning the BCPBL title,  Lofstrom and teammate Dawson Yates (who also signed a baseball scholarship, at Texas A & M, Corpus Christi) played with Team B.C.'s Under 17 team. Lofstrom caught the team's final six games and was solid, leading to a tryout last year with Team Canada's Under-18 team and an invite to a large scouting showcase, which in turn helped him sign the scholarship.

This year could be even busier. Lofstrom is preparing for an upcoming tryout with Team Canada's U-18 team and will be eligible for the Major League Baseball draft for the first time this year. He's been receiving interest from several MLB teams who have sent him questionnaires and medical forms to fill out.

"It's a little overwhelming at times to think of all this stuff that is going on," he admitted. "But now I know I have school set up and I know where I'm going to be for at least the next two years. I've worked so hard for this for the past several year so that is nice."

Lofstrom is now back together with the rest of the Okanagan Athletics, who have started their winter ball training and will look to defend its BCPBL title this summer. Last year's championship came after several years of struggles for the team, which appears to have turned the corner under coach Evan Bailey.

The 6-foot-1 catcher says it was a great year for the Athletics and he hopes to close out his PBL career with another solid season.

"It was a really good year just because the past couple years we struggled and almost got kicked out of the league," he said. "My first year we lost in the first round of the playoffs but we knew we were going in the right direction. It was almost like last year we couldn't be beat. It was an amazing experience to be on that team and win it all."

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