Simon Fraser University softball alumna Angela Lichty doesn’t like to be the centre of attention, but she’ll have to put those nerves aside at this year’s SFU Athletic Awards.
That’s because the North Delta resident is being inducted into the university’s Athletic Hall of Fame on Tuesday, March 27 in honour of her four-year stint playing third base and shortstop for the SFU Clan from 1999 to 2002.
“I was definitely surprised when I got the email,” Lichty said. “For anyone who has played baseball or softball, even if you’re doing very well, it really is a game of a lot of failure. So over the years I never really felt like I stood out over and above any of my teammates or necessarily deserved a lot of special recognition for what I was doing.”
The Guelph, Ont. native came to B.C. in September 1998 for her rookie season with the SFU Clan. The 18-year-old quickly showed her skill, batting .390 in the ’99 season and breaking several freshman records.
That season, her team had recorded a 45-7 and went on to win SFU’s first NAIA Softball Championship title against the Oklahoma City University Stars, where Lichty caught the game-winning out.
Two years ago, the 1999 championship team was inducted into SFU’s Athletics Hall of Fame. However, Lichty said, “getting the individual recognition is really special and it’s really humbling.”
Clan head coach Mike Renney, whose 24 years with the team includes Lichty’s univeristy playing career, said that as a coach he is thankful a player like her came through the SFU softball program.
“She was never afraid to leave her feet, to get dirty and make the play. You know, the epitome of a team player, selfless in terms of helping other players,” Renney said.
Lichty’s inaugration into the hall of fame also recognizes her time playing for the Canadian national softball team.
In 2001, Lichty was invited to try out for the team, ultimately playing with them for six seasons. The team finished ninth at the 2002 World Championships and placed fifth at the 2004 Olympics Games in Athens, Greece.
Lichty retired from competive play in 2006.
“It was 20 years of softball. I was engaged then, I was getting married. I just felt like I needed to kind of start building what my life after softball was going to be and start focusing on what I call my ‘big girl career’ and kind of moving on from there,” Lichty said.
After retiring, she joined the Delta Heat for one season in 2007 and has since dabbled in recreational leagues, but said it’s hard to adjust to a different style of play.
“After playing at such a high level and being so competive, it’s hard to kind of scale it back and play more recreationally because my mind remembers how I used to play when I was in my twenties and my body isn’t able to do those things anymore,” Lichty said.
The 38-year-old mother of two, who has called North Delta home for the last nine years, is humble about her pending honour, attributing her accomplishments to those she played with at SFU.
“Many of the lessons I have learned from playing softball are carrying me through in my career now and through life. I would attribute a lot of my success to my coaches and teamates along the way,” Lichty said. “I worked hard and I guess I was just one of the lucky ones that had some success along the way and it’s nice to get that recognition.”