Former Liberty softball pitcher Kenzie Friesen recently completed her second season representing her home country in international competitions while playing for Softball Canada.
A native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Friesen competed for the Canada Women's Elite Team at the 2017 Canada Cup in Surrey, B.C.
This January, she attended a tryout camp, and earned an invitation to Softball Canada's selection camp, held in Thousand Oaks, Calif., from June 1-12. She made the 22-player Canadian National Team roster, earning a trip to Japan, where the team competed in a training tour.
"Playing softball and representing Canada at the international level has always been a dream of mine," Friesen said. "I am so blessed to have been given this opportunity. It was an amazing summer getting to train and compete with the Canadian National Team for the first six weeks of the season. I am always honored to wear the maple leaf and it was especially fun this summer to be living and traveling with such a high-caliber and hard-working team. We had the opportunity to travel back to Japan this summer and again be welcomed with great hospitality and respect."
Friesen's team went 10-1 during its time in Chiba, Japan, with games spanning June 17-26. She started the second game of the tour, a 5-4 win over Nihon Taiiku on June 17. Friesen then combined with Danielle Lawrie on a 4-0 shutout of Vonds Ichihara, June 21, tossing two innings of no-hit relief.
During the 2018 USA Softball International Cup, held July 9-15 in Irvine, Calif., Friesen pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless softball for the Canadian National Team, which earned a fifth-place finish. She picked up one victory and struck out three batters for the tournament.
Friesen continued her busy summer, appearing with the Canada Women's Elite Team in the 2018 Canada Cup of Softball, July 17-22 in Surrey, B.C. She helped her team get off to a great start, tossing a complete-game shutout with seven strikeouts in a 10-0 win over Czech Republic, July 17. The following day, she earned the win in a 14-7 win over New Zealand, allowing one run while striking out three in three relief innings. In the elimination round, she started and pitched seven shutout innings against Czech Republic before a reliever came on in the eighth inning, yielding the game's only run in a 1-0 Czech Republic win.
"I also really enjoyed my time at the Canada Cup tournament with the Elite Team," Friesen added. "After a couple months on the road, it was really special having some family at the Canada Cup there to support and cheer me on. Continuing to train after college is a different ballgame. I gratefully have the encouragement from my family, and the never-ending love and strength of my heavenly Father. I know that the Lord has placed me where I am for a purpose and I am just so blessed that it is in pursuit of the game I love to play."
The Saskatoon native finished her Liberty playing career with a 24-16 overall record, sporting a 3.29 ERA with 14 complete games, six shutouts, 129 strikeouts and a .248 opponents' batting average in 257.2 innings pitched. Friesen pitched her best as a senior in 2017, posting a 15-3 record with a 2.16 ERA. Her .833 winning percentage led all Big South pitchers, while her ERA was second. Friesen, a Big South All-Conference and VaSID All-State second team pitcher, was named 2017 Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year. She also earned a spot on the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team.
Friesen recently completed her first year of doctoral studies at Auburn, where she serves as a graduate assistant on the softball staff. While at Auburn, she is pursuing a PhD in biomechanics. Friesen earned her master's in exercise science from Liberty in 2017.