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#AnythingButSoft: Even Top Stars Have Unique Recruiting Stories

Recruiting can be a difficult time for a softball player, especially if it’s unchartered territory. National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) players Lacey Waldrop, Lauren Chamberlain, and Christi Orgeron each have a different story on how they ended up at their respected schools and what sealed the deal for them to commit.


Waldrop, a pitcher from Virginia, ended up at Florida State, but she wasn’t even recruited until her junior year of high school. “I committed Christmas Day of my junior year, and I really didn’t start getting heavily recruited until that fall,” she said.


A recruiting video sped up the process. “I sent in my pitching video and coach saw that,” Waldrop said. “She liked the way I spun the ball, liked the way it moved and came to see me play in some tournaments from there.”


Waldrop was invited to a camp, where she received an offer. Besides Florida State, she also considered North Carolina State, Ole Miss and Ohio State.


“It was a pretty quick process,” she recalled. “I just got on campus and absolutely loved Florida State, and as soon I as I was there for 30 minutes I knew there was no changing my mind about where I wanted to go.“


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Long before she was a power-hitting first baseman picked first in the 2015 NPF draft, Chamberlain was another high school softball player in California not sure of her next step. Then one day she saw the Oklahoma Sooners play in her home state.


“I remember specifically, Amber Flores was playing at OU at the time I was watching them, and it was in Palm Springs when I saw the Sooners and thought to myself, ‘Who are the Sooners?’” Chamberlain said. “She made this diving catch, threw the ball up and was screaming. Everyone was pumped, and I knew at that moment.”


Chamberlain said she wasn’t heavily recruited in high school. She checked out some schools, including Washington, but when Oklahoma offered, she didn’t hesitate.


“Oklahoma had a different way of playing the game, they respected the game,” she said. “They hustled and were really fired up.”


Orgeron has a bit of a different story than the others, and proof that not all attractive programs play in a major conference like the Pac-12 or SEC.


Growing up in New Orleans, she had long known of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. It’s a unique program in that the Ragin’ Cajuns are a softball powerhouse who play in a mid-major conference.


“Being recruited by them was exciting because they had gone to the College World Series previously and just had so much success in the softball world,” said Orgeron, who like Waldrop and Chamberlain didn’t initially receive interest from major programs. “The fact that they even wanted me to be a part of that program was just such an honor.”


The former Ragin’ Cajun was drawn to the culture of the city, the success of the program and the support from the university. She committed on her official visit.


It proved to be a good fit, as the utility player went on make Team USA and a career in the NPF.


From GameChanger and Maren Angus.


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