Danielle Lawrie — a name forever a part of Washington softball lore. The 2009 National Player of the Year led the Huskies to their first ever national title. Quite literally — she pitched all six games in the 2009 WCWS.
Lawrie sat down with me and reminisced on what she described as “some of the best moments of her life.”
Here are how a few of the biggest ones went down:
1. The no-hitter in the opening round of the WCWS vs. DePaul in 2007
The situation: Lawrie was in her sophomore season and at her first Women’s College World Series. In this case, for Lawrie, ignorance was bliss and she didn’t feel any pressure. The Huskies faced DePaul, a team they had never played. The Blue Demons had never seen what Lawrie throws and she was going to use that to her advantage.
The result: Lawrie threw the 16th no-hitter in WCWS history and the first since UCLA’s Keira Goerl did it vs. California in the 2003 championship game. She joined UCLA’s Tiffany Boyd (1989) and Lisa Fernandez (1993) as the only pitchers to record a no-hitter in the opening game of the World Series. However, Lawrie laughed that she just might be the only pitcher to have thrown a no-hitter with a run scored. In fact, this was one of two instances where there was a no-hitter with a run scored — the other was Keilani Ricketts' no-hitter in 2013. It happened in the first inning, when Linda Secka reached first on a walk after Lawrie was called for the 10-second rule which resulted in ball four. Secka stole second base and scored on a missed throw to first on a come-backer to the circle. Lawrie was charged with a throwing error, but she mentioned joking around with Dena Tyson, the first baseman, that she should’ve caught that ball.
2. The grand slam vs. Georgia in the 2009 WCWS
The situation: For the second time in the 2009 postseason, Washington was pushed to a deciding game and faced elimination vs. Georgia. Georgia, Lawrie said, was her team's Achilles heel. It was always a tough game and the Huskies were coming off of a 9-8 loss to the Bulldogs. Lawrie was in the circle again, where she now felt the most pressure. She didn’t feel the weight in the batters box, though. UW's first three batters in the lineup — Ashley Charters, Kimi Pohlman and Jenn Salling — singled to start the first inning. That loaded the bases for Lawrie.
The result: Lawrie hit a grand slam to the opposite field to give herself a four-run cushion. It was her seventh home run of the season. Lawrie was stoic as she rounded the bases because she knew they still had a lot of game to play. She allowed just three runs on five hits and struck out 12 to send the Bulldogs home with a 9-3 victory. The win sent the Huskies into the best-of-three championship series vs. top-seeded Florida for the first time in school history.
3. When Washington won its first national championship in 2009 with a 3-2 victory over Florida
The situation: Washington came out of Game 1 vs. the Gators with a 8-0 victory, but Game 2 wouldn’t be as easy. Lawrie settled down in the circle after some shaky defense gave the Gators a 2-0 lead in the first inning. She contributed at the plate as well, with an RBI single in the bottom of the first. With the bases loaded in the third inning, Washington’s Morgan Stuart tapped the ball a few feet in front of home plate that Florida ace Stacey Nelson couldn't handle, allowing the go-ahead run to score and making it 3-2 Washington.
The result: Lawrie shut out the Gators the rest of the way, though the game came down to the final out. Francesa Enea narrowly missed a tying home run with a line drive off the left-field wall to reach second in the top of the seventh inning. Lawrie then intentionally walked Kelsey Bruder, who had the best at-bats against Lawrie. She then struck out Megan Bush swinging on rise-balls. That left two on base and two outs, with Ali Gardiner stepping to the plate for the Gators. Gardiner had just hit a walk-off grand slam against Alabama to push the Gators to the championship series. Lawrie vs. Gardiner was the ultimate matchup. Lawrie said there was absolutely no way she was letting Gardiner get a hit off of her — and she didn’t. She struck her out swinging and ran to her teammates to celebrate the Huskies' first national championship.