In her first year as a member of the Windermere Prep softball team, Gracie Wallace has had no issues fitting in. The Florida Gulf Coast University commit is the Lakers’ go-to pitcher. She recorded 12 wins in 14 appearances so far this season while striking out 169 batters and maintaining a 0.46 ERA.
When did you first start playing softball?
I was about 5 years old when I started playing softball, and it was just seeing it on TV and stuff, and I really wanted to play. So I got into playing at the local Babe Ruth, and then I was 10 when I first started wanting to pitch. I asked my parents if I could try to start pitching, and then I started doing pitching lessons and went from there.
What is it about softball that has kept you involved in the sport?
I just love playing with a team and having to rely on each to get through games … and the culture, the coaches and everybody supporting each other. I just fell in love with the sport.
What is your favorite part about pitching? The most challenging part?
My favorite part about pitching is having the most control over the game, but also the challenging part about that is the pressure that is on yourself. Sometimes the way you control the game, if you’re having a bad day but things aren’t going well — you’re team is looking out for you — and you just have to figure out everything during the game or you have to rely on your teammates to help you get through it.
This is your first year at Windermere Prep. Tell us about that.
It’s been really cool — the culture is way different than what it used to be at my old school. My old school wasn’t competitive at all, but this school for softball is more competitive. The coach really strives for a culture to be your best every time you go on the field and work hard.
Coming into this season, did you have any goals you were hoping to accomplish?
I actually wrote down some goals before the season had started … I wrote down pitching goals and stuff, and some team goals for winning districts. I wanted to be in — at least — the top 10 in strikeouts.
What’s it like being the go-to pitcher for your team?
It means a lot. We have a back-up pitcher, but I’m the only pitcher. It can be stressful, but I truly love what I do. As long I keep doing everything that I need to do, and I’m confident in myself and I know that I’ve done everything I can possibly do to prepare myself, it kind of takes the pressure off.
You’ll be playing collegiately at Florida Gulf Coast after you graduate from Windermere Prep. What are you most excited about?
I’m really excited to play, but the most exciting thing is just stepping into a new culture and everything and changing stuff. I’m going to have to work my way up all over again, but it’s going to be fun.