Falardeau heads west
Kaden Falardeau’s baseball dream has become a reality.
The 18-year-old Welland native has committed to the University of British Columbia for this fall where he will study international economics and play on the Thunderbirds baseball team.
“This is what I wanted from baseball since I was a kid,” Falardeau said. “I got what I wanted.”
Falardeau, who plays for the Fieldhouse Pirates 17U of the Canadian Premier Baseball League, made the decision to head west without having the opportunity to visit the school or meet in person with any of his coaches.
“I don’t know if I would have made that decision in another scenario without going but I had an idea what it’s like,” he said. “I had family go out there and you hear a lot about that school.
“Thankfully, it wasn’t too hard to make the decision but it was weird not being able to go before making that decision.”
Falardeau recently graduated from Centennial Secondary School where he was named senior male athlete of the year, was an Ontario scholar, a Gold Medallion winner and also received the Jim and Margaret Frazer Scholarship for Outstanding Achievement.
Still, it was an arduous process before he was finally accepted at UBC.
“I had to apply to the school which was the hardest part. I had to wait a long time and it was a pretty long process for that,” he said.
Falardeau has mixed emotions as he prepares for the biggest adventure of his life.
“A little bit of nervousness because it’s a big change going away to school. Other than that, it’s more excitement than anything,” he said. “It’s going to be weird starting from fresh with nothing but at the same time you have to do it eventually. I like the idea. I am going to miss my teammates and everyone here.”
Falardeau will play at least one season on UBC’s junior varsity team where all freshman begin.
“You get to play somewhere to begin with and then based on how you play, they bump you up. You get your time to play and practise,” he said.
The Thunderbirds are part of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) Cascade Collegiate Conference. Their head coach is former major league infielder Chris Pritchett (Angels, Phillies).
Fieldhouse U17 coach Lee Delfino feels Falardeau projects well to succeed at the next level.
“He’s gotten it done at every level he’s been challenged with,” Delfino said. “Every task we’ve put in front of him he’s accepted and he always puts 100 per cent out there for his team and his organization. He’s met every challenge head on and done well so I can see him continuing on at the next level for sure.”
Defino also gives Falardeau high marks off the field.
“Good moral values, good work ethic, very polite, team orientated. He’s a very easy kid to coach. He’s at every practice, he works hard and he’s a good teammate,” he said.
Fieldhouse U16 head coach and assistant pitching co-ordinator Travis Kaylor is also a big fan of Falardeau.
“Kade is a super respectful young man. There’s really not enough good things to say about him. He’s an attentive listener, treats his competitors, teammates and coaches well, and works extremely hard. Kade’s not the loudest on the team but makes up for it with his play and intensity on the field.
“He’s a tough out who consistently squares the ball up and is a versatile defender, playing well all over the diamond as needed. I’m lucky to have met him and it’s been a pleasure coaching him. I can’t wait to follow his success at UBC come the fall.”
Falardeau, who plays shortstop, second and the outfield, tipped his cap to Fieldhouse for aiding in his development.
“I never really knew how good I was,” he said. “Once I got there I realized I could still compete and I’m not behind. You only see so much in your own league. It’s a whole different league. It’s a big difference from OBA. It was a big jump but I also felt it was my level and I could compete for playing time. It’s a big difference in skill and pushing yourself.”
Dad Jay Falardeau is naturally proud.
“It will be a great experiecnce for him, both academically and in terms of athletics as well,” he said. “Our goal has always been to play baseball in college to make the experience that much better. He’s reached those goals so it’s a bonus from here. It will add to his experience out west.”
Mom Julie Falardeau will accompany Kaden out west in August to get him settled while dad is in Prince Edward Island with Kaden’s younger sister, Zoe, who will be participating for Team Ontario at the U16 girls baseball championship.
Dear reader. If you liked this story or one of the 4,300 other stories found on our website, please consider hitting the Support Us button on the right-hand side of our home page and making a PayPal contribution to our website. Your support would be much appreciated. If you are a business owner, please consider advertising on our site. Our rates are reasonable and we provide plenty of exposure for your business. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.