NORMAN — OKLAHOMA CITY - Before she made her first start at Washington, before she won back-to-back player of the year awards and before she played for Team Canada at the Beijing Olympics, Danielle Lawrie stood in the circle at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium as a freshman just out of high school.
Her strong arm and big bat had her starting for the Canadians in the 2005 World Cup of Softball, and after she helped down Team USA, which seemed unbeatable back then, all talk was about Lawrie and what could be expected once she hit the field for the Huskies.
She never disappointed, not Washington fans or just softball fans who loved to watch her play.
Saturday, Lawrie made her final college start as the defending-champion Huskies were ousted by Pac 10 rival Arizona in a Women’s College World Series elimination game. She struck out 12 Wildcats in the 4-3 loss, allowing just one earned run thanks to Washington’s uncharacteristic three errors.
But after the questions in the press conference were over, and her teammates and coach stood to walk out, Lawrie paused, brow furrowed with determination, just like it is in the circle, a half-smile playing across her face.
“I just wanted to thank you guys for having us here,” she said. “It was a great three years.”
Lawrie first led the Huskies to the WCWS in 2007. It was the first time the program had been to Oklahoma City since 2004, though the Huskies were regulars at the WCWS in the late 1990s.
While Washington never struggled to rebuild, Lawrie’s arrival in Seattle in 2006 signaled a resurgence for the program.
In 2008, she took a year off to play with Team Canada. Then, last year, she led Washington back to ASA Hall of Fame Stadium and took home the national title.