Hitting the softball field for the first time at the age of eight, there had to be a sense that Lacey Waldrop was where she belonged. Developing as a pitcher, Waldrop would find her home inside the circle. The Thomas Dale alum and All-American now stars as Florida State’s pitching ace as a rising junior and is gunning to land the Seminoles in the College World Series next year.
“I think we have what it takes to qualify for the world series,” said Waldrop. “Looking at what our team did this year with the injuries we had I’m confident we can take that next step.”
During the 2013 season Waldrop pitched to 24-10 record with a paltry 1.53 earned run average to go with 259 strikeouts in 219 innings pitched. The hurler led the Seminoles to the NCAA Super Regionals before falling to Texas, just two wins away from the world series.
The former Knight started throwing the ball at five or six, playing catch with her parents. At 13, Waldrop worked with travel ball coach Kelly Robinette, father of current Knight Courtney Robinette. During the process, Waldrop realized that she was going to be a pitcher.
“I was always able to throw the ball with some velocity,” said Waldrop. “I wasn’t always very accurate,” she laughed.
After finding her stride in the circle with Robinette’s coaching, Waldrop aided the Knights during her freshman season to a 20-0 regular season record under then head coach Dennis Jones.
“It was awesome because I really felt like I got a chance to help the program,” explained Waldrop. “I also had some great teammates along the way that were so important to me.”
After earning a scholarship to Florida State, Waldrop has earned a reputation as not only a top pitcher in the ACC, but also a top pitcher in the nation. Waldrop was named a third-team All-American last Friday.
“Lacey is a very hard worker on and off the field,” said Florida State head softball coach Lonni Alameda. “She’s a student of the game and enjoys being challenged.”
Outside of an arsenal heavy on off-speed pitches with a change-up, a curve ball (a side-to-side sweeping movement) and a drop ball (twelve to six o’clock movement) the fact that Waldrop is so well liked by her teammates helps to build all-important chemistry.
“The pitcher is the most important position on the field,” stated Alameda. “You have to be the leader whether things are going well or not.”
While studying film on hitters and starting a weight lifting regiment that’s improved her balance while pitching, Waldrop was also named to the Dean’s List at Florida State this Spring, further completing the package.
“One thing is for sure, this team loves playing behind Lacey,” said Alameda.
With a winning combination of pitches, and a regular season ACC title under her belt, Waldrop is poised to push the envelope of success even further.
“This has been a great experience thus far,” said Waldrop. “It’s been great to play on a national stage (Waldrop pitched against Texas on ESPN two weeks ago) and it’s so great that the sport is gaining national attention.”
Parents Chuck and Beth Waldrop still reside in Chester, and usually attend a series or two in Tallahassee and hit all of the nearby ACC games when the Seminoles play close by opponents such as Virginia, Virginia Tech and Maryland.
“It’s great playing in a situation where my parents still get to watch my games,” said Waldrop. “They have been a huge influence and support, I’m very thankful.”
Waldrop was featured in the Village News segment “The Next Level” where we feature three local college athletes per week. An archive of these articles catching up with our local college athletes can be viewed online at www.villagenewsonline.com. Follow us at @VNewsSports on twitter for updates on Waldrop and other former and current local sports standouts.