After helping put the University of Washington softball program on the map, Danielle Lawrie’s name will forever be etched in the Huskies’ history books.
“The tougher things got, the better Danielle played,” said Huskies coach Heather Tarr, who recruited Lawrie to Washington.
“She brought softball to the mainstream in the city of Seattle.
“Danielle played the game with grit and with strategy and she always played the game with respect and never took anything for granted.”
It was a rainy day in Seattle on May 3, but that did little to dampen the spirits of Lawrie, who was back on the UW campus with her family to have her No. 15 jersey retired at the Husky Softball Stadium.
Lawrie, 27, was joined at the ceremony by her parents, Russ and Cheryl, her husband Drew Locke, and their four-month-old daughter, Madison.
“I didn’t think (having my jersey retired) would happen as quick as it did, so I was a little surprised,” Lawrie said last week from San Francisco, where she was dong some commentary work for the Pac-12 Network.
She became the first ever member of the Huskies softball team to have their jersey number retired.
“Washington really did a good job of making it all about my family,” Lawrie said.
“They made it really, really special.”
Lawrie said she started tearing up and getting emotional near the end of the ceremony.
“It was just a bunch of emotions, and with everyone there and just how much softball has given me and where it has taken me,” she described about the ceremony.
The fact this honour was bestowed upon Lawrie shouldn’t be a surprise given the career and accomplishments she has already achieved, especially on the baseball diamond with a ball in her hands.
She starred for the White Rock Renegades program and was a mainstay with the Canadian national team program, as well as earning a scholarship to the University of Washington after she graduated from Brookswood Secondary in 2005. At Brookswood, she helped the Bobcats win back-to-back provincial basketball championships.
With the Huskies, Lawrie was one of the most dominant pitchers in the women’s college game.
She helped the program win the Women’s College World Series in 2009 and was named the NCAA player of the year both that year and the following year.
She graduated in 2010 and left the Huskies program with her name etched all over the record books.
Lawrie finished her four-year collegiate career with a 136-42 record, 1,845 strikeouts in 1,097 innings and a 1.20 earned run average.
She took 2008 off from school to focus on the national team program and represented Canada at the Beijing Olympics that year.
But while a jersey retirement is usually reserved for those long done their playing days, Lawrie is still going in the game.
She leaves on Saturday (May 17) for Orlando for training camp with the USSSA Pride.
The squad — which plays out of Kissimmee, Fla. — is part of the National Pro Fastpitch League. The four-team league plays a 48-game season that goes from late May to mid-August.
Lawrie has played for the team since 2010, but missed last year after getting pregnant.
And while most mothers spend a full year on maternity leave, Lawrie will be back playing this season. Her mom and daughter will accompany Lawrie on road trips, while her husband remains in Boston, the family’s home base.
“I just had to drop everything and stop playing,” she said.
“So I wanted to make sure when I do end, I end when I say I want to stop.”
She added that the jersey retirement will likely mean more to her once her playing days are done.
“I think I will look back on it a couple of years and go ‘wow’ (but) it is still so fresh of being in college and I am still currently playing,” Lawrie said. “I think when I am officially finished and am out a couple of years it will really hit me.
“Our team accomplished a lot and I am lucky and fortunate that I got that (jersey retiring) to happen.”
And in addition to her pro career and the demands of motherhood, Lawrie has inked a two-year extension with Baden Sports Inc. to continue developing and promoting Axe fastpitch softball bats, balls and headbands
Axe is her own signature line. She originally signed with Baden in 2010.
“It has been a good ride with them, but I think it is just only getting better,” she said.
“They are getting me a lot more involved on all levels, not just with the bat.
“Everything Baden does is about improving the quality of the game for the player.”