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Danielle Lawrie-Locke Is A Mom On A Mission

(Photo courtesy of National Pro Fastpitch)

Danielle Lawrie-Locke doesn't have to look very far to find her motivation. The 32-year-old pitcher, who returned to competitive softball last year after nearly four years off from playing, finds it each day in the eyes of her two young daughters, Madison and Audrey.

"There are so many moments when stuff with softball gets really hard and my girls are what I think about," Lawrie-Locke told Softball America in a phone interview. "When I was playing before I had my daughters, my family wasn’t really on my mind when things got hard. Now, I always think about my kids and the sacrifices I’m making."

The mother of two—and one of the best pitchers in college softball history—is in the midst of a softball comeback that has her focus set on helping Canada qualify for a spot in the 2020 Olympics. Lawrie-Locke and Team Canada will have their chance to earn that spot later this summer at the WBSC Americas Softball Qualifier in Surrey, B.C.

Before her chance comes to help Softball Canada get back into the Olympics, however, the former University of Washington stud ace is tuning up for the qualifier by competing this summer for the Canadian Wild of the National Pro Fastpitch.

"I’m humbled daily," Lawrie-Locke said about her experience in the NPF so far this season. "The struggle is real right now, but I’m keeping in perspective the bigger picture. It’s easy to get caught up in rough outings and throw in the towel, but I’m trying to look at what I’m personally trying to do to benefit Team Canada."

Lawrie-Locke, who last competed as a professional softball player just after the birth of her first child in 2014, sees the bigger picture through the lens of her 2008 Olympics experience. At age 21, she competed for Canada at the Beijing Games, but does not reflect fondly on the experience.

The Canadians lost to Australia in the semifinal that year, which marked the last time softball appeared in the Summer Games. Canada's missed-podium finish, along with Lawrie-Locke's overall experience on the Canadian national team in 2008, left a sour taste in her mouth and a need to take care of unfinished business from Beijing.

"You always wish you could go back in time and do things differently," said Lawrie-Locke. "I would do things differently this time around, if given the chance. I want to be a better teammate and be able to go back and show that I can help my team.

"When the opportunity presented itself with softball being back in the Olympics in 2020, I wanted to have a different ending to my national team story."

But Lawrie-Locke knows there is still plenty left to be written before the end of her overall softball story. Part of that story will include her journey as a mother of daughters who have already expressed an interest in the sport.

"Maddie is really into it," Lawrie-Locke said. "She goes to my bullpens with me and to UW when I throw there. I teach her pitching a little bit and she runs around the house pitching socks."

Regardless of what happens this summer for Team Canada in its quest to qualify for the 2020 Olympics, Lawrie-Locke knows that she will have a fan club waiting for her at home.

"I know that I will always have my kids to fall back on and they could care less if I throw a no-hitter or give up 10 hits," Lawrie-Locke stated. "I feel fortunate to be doing this because of them."

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