Florida State University’s Lacey Waldrop, pitcher for the Seminoles’ ladies softball team, had already won 2014 ACC Pitcher of the Year. She had led her FSU Seminoles as they won the ACC Championship. However, when it was announced Thursday that she had won the award as 2014 USA Softball National College Player of the Year, she was shocked and humbled, never expecting to be the winner. She and her team were in Oklahoma City for the NCAA Women’s College World Series (see Florida State pitcher named national player of the year).
In Sunday’s “4 Up” section of the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s sports section, the first name listed is the Richmond area native who also happens to be my cousin’s daughter:
1. Lacey Waldrop
The Florida State softball player and Thomas Dale alumna was named the 2014 USA Softball National College Player of the Year. When she was in high school, she set state records for strikeouts and earned run average.
Her selection as National College Player of the Year is just the latest in this young lady’s long list of achievements and recognitions. Now a junior at Florida State University, she has been playing her heart out since high school while growing up in Chester, Virginia, outside Richmond (see Lacey Waldrop bio).
FSU head coach Lonni Alameda was proud:
“This is an incredible and deserving honor for Lacey and a big achievement for our program. Her competitive drive is incredible and after last season she really set out to try and be one of the nation’s best pitchers. She has been our leader in the circle all year, and more than just being a great player, she is a great person. She’s extremely coachable and is always trying to get better, which sums up our entire team. I’m so proud of Lacey for receiving the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year – It’s a product of her hard work and dedication.”
Lacey’s pitching led FSU to become the 2014 ACC champions and into the playoffs. The Seminoles newsletter heralded her achievements:
Coming off an All-American campaign as a sophomore in 2013, she heads into the NCAA Women’s College World Series with a 38-5 record, a 1.01 ERA and 282 strikeouts in 257.1 innings pitched. Waldrop has allowed opponents to hit just .184 against her this season, has picked up 27 complete games and four shutouts, and has not allowed a triple.
Waldrop ranks first nationally with her 38 victories, which includes eight wins against Top 25 teams. Her win total marks a single-season school record at Florida State, breaking the old mark of 35 wins held by Leslie Malerich in 2000 and 2002. Her two most recent wins were the biggest of her career last Friday, defeating Michigan twice in two starts in the Super Regional to put FSU back into the WCWS since 2004.
The crafty right-hander has held her own nationally in other individual categories – she ranks third in ERA, 14th in strikeouts, 25th in shutouts, and 26th with 4.73 hits allowed per seven innings. Playing for a school with a rich history in pitching excellence, Waldrop is trying to become the first Seminole since Sarah Hamilton in 2009 to post a sub-1 ERA.
Waldrop earned 2014 ACC Pitcher of the Year honors after posting superb numbers in conference play. In 20 ACC appearances, she went 17-1 with a 0.90 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 101.2 innings pitched. She only allowed one home run against ACC competition, and also picked up a save. She earned ACC Pitcher of the Week seven times in 2014 and now has 12 total for her career. Waldrop also earned a national player of the week honor this season.
This talented 20-year-old has a string of headlines trumpeting her talented softball pitching. Her team made it to the playoffs but the season ended with their loss on Saturday to Baylor, 7-2, in their second game of the Women’s College World Series and the first time they had been back since 2004.
Next year Lacey will be back, pitching as a senior. Meanwhile, her major in college is editing, writing and media. The tradition continues in a family that embraces writing.