Amanda Asay Elevated Her Team Canada Teammates
As professional baseball begins to celebrate the addition of numerous women into a variety of on-field and uniformed roles throughout the major and minor leagues, the international community mourns a loss that leaves an unfillable void in women’s baseball.
Amanda Asay, the longest-serving member of Baseball Canada’s Women’s National Team, died tragically as a result of a skiing accident at Whitewater Ski Resort near Nelson, British Columbia, on Jan. 7. She left behind family, friends, countless teammates and an immense legacy.
Asay joined Team Canada as a 17-year-old in 2005 and would have been its captain at the next World Cup qualifying tournament, before undoubtedly someday joining the coaching staff and entering the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
She played hockey and softball at Brown University, earning a science degree. The pitcher, first baseman and former catcher—she was always looking for ways to get back behind the dish—remained on the ice at the University of British Columbia, where she completed a master’s degree in science and a doctorate in forestry, while simultaneously racking up accolades on the diamond.
The two-time team MVP won five World Cup medals with the Canadian squad—three bronze and two silver—and added an historic silver finish at the 2015 Pan Am Games, the only time women’s baseball has been part of a multi-sport event.
“It’s amazing to think about how many teammates she impacted,” said friend and longtime provincial and national teammate Stacy Fournier. “She could make any teammate feel like they had her confidence at any given time, which was paramount to any other feeling on the field and something I admired so much.
“It’s hard to think of any words that haven’t already been said—and echoed quite literally around the world—and she always knew exactly what to say. Asay was the ultimate teammate, competitor and friend. My heart breaks for her family. They are the best kind of people and I hope they take comfort in knowing they raised a real-life superhero.”
Added former teammate and Team Canada coach Kate Psota: “Amanda would do anything to help her team. She accepted whatever her role was with unmatched class and poise, and was selfless in what she gave the team, whether it was her body, knowledge or her time. She never quit, no matter the score or the odds. She truly was the best of us and will be dearly missed by all her teammates, coaches and those who knew her in the game we all love so much.”
The sentiment that she made everyone around her better has been shared countless times and will continue to make its rounds. Asay added to every equation, never taking anything away from anyone. She was a steady presence who improved every situation, making it hard for those who knew her to pinpoint the best and brightest moments, because retrospectively, they were all perfect.
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“I’ve known her for 17 years so it’s difficult to share just one story,” said Ashley Stephenson, current Team Canada coach and longtime national teammate of Asay. “What stands out most recently is how helpful she was (at the World Cup qualifier in Aguascalientes, Mexico, in 2019). I was a first-time coach at that level, and we had so many things to cover in a short time.
“It was just so nice to have her there, like having another coach on the field. We talked through our bunt defense, relays, game strategies—and she never made me feel like I didn’t know what I was doing. She was simply there to work through it with me and help us all get to the best possible outcome, because that’s who she was.”
Added 19-year-old Team Canada pitcher Alli Schroder: “She had such an immense impact on my life, it’s hard to narrow her impact down. But it sticks out the way she took me under her wing at such a young age without question. We both grew up very rurally, often training alone in intense weather conditions.
“When she moved out to the Kootenays (a region in British Columbia), we formed a bond I’ll never forget, training together and working jobs in similar fields. Having the opportunity to learn from her daily—whether it was baseball, life or education—is something I can’t express enough gratitude for.”