June 2, 2010

Vancouver Sun on Canadian Native and UW Pitcher, Danielle Lawrie

Heather Tarr, the University of Washington's softball coach, knew her ace pitcher Danielle Lawrie had some pretty gaudy numbers to stake a claim to a second consecutive USA Softball collegiate player of the year.
But sometimes, you just never know.

"When they started to announce the things the others had done, like [Georgia Tech second baseman] Jen Yee reaching base safely in all 62 games, that's awesome," Tarr said Tuesday in a phone interview from Oklahoma City, where the No. 1-ranked Huskies open defence of their 2009 College World Series title on Thursday.
"So for Danielle, winning the award in that company speaks to how dominating she is on the mound and in the batters box."

Lawrie, the raven-haired 23-year-old from Langley, was indeed named the NCAA's best, becoming only the second player to win the award multiple times.
"I would not have won it if my team didn't do what it has been doing all year," Lawrie said in Oklahoma. "Everyone has performed at a high level all season ... so, it's tough for me to take the credit. This is a huge honour and I'm extremely thankful."

Lawrie's win comes just a week after another Canadian-born Husky -- golfer Nick Taylor of Abbotsford -- was named the NCAA's best in his sport. Also on Tuesday, Lawrie was named one of four finalists for the Honda Trophy, another post-season softball award that will be handed out Saturday.
Lawrie is 40-3 with a dazzling 1.00 ERA and a nation-leading 24 shutouts this season. She has 478 strikeouts in 288.1 innings and she also leads the Huskies in home runs (15) and RBIs (57).

Yee, a senior from North Delta, had one of the greatest hitting seasons in NCAA history. She led the nation in batting average (.568), slugging percentage (an NCAA single-season record 1.270), on-base percentage (.732), runs scored 93 and walks (88). Her 29 home runs are No. 2 in the NCAA.

Lawrie's status as the NCAA's best was likely cemented last week when she rebounded from a shocking 6-1 loss to Oklahoma in the first game of a best-of-three Super Regional at Husky Softball Stadium. Lawrie gave up five solo home runs in that game after not giving up more than two in any of her previous 163 career starts for Washington.

But after a lengthy post-game film study and a motivating talk with her father the next day, she rebounded to get shutouts in back-to-back wins. Demonstrating her legendary bulldog tenacity, she threw 251 pitches over 14 innings that day and struck out 27.

"Could she bounce back?," wondered Tarr. "When she wanted to watch the game film with us, and we sat in the board room until 1 a.m. and she watched every home run that was hit and was 100 per cent accountable, I knew we'd be OK the next day."
gkingston@vancouversun.com

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