Woodland High’s Lacey Fritz has signed a scholarship to play softball at Southeastern Louisiana, a Division I college that plays in the Southland Conference.
Fritz, a four-year starter with the Lady Wildcats, was a key player in their run to the state playoffs in Region 5-AAAAA this past season.
Colman Roberts, her high school coach, said Fritz’s softball skills and work habits will help her play at the collegiate level. “It has been a long-term goal for her to play at the next level, and now she has a scholarship to a Division I school and she’s ready to go. I’m very proud of her.”
Her conference foes at Southeastern Louisiana include such schools as Lamar, McNeese State, Nicholls State, Oral Roberts and Sam Houston State.
Roberts said Fritz has been a big part of Lady Wildcat softball success the past four years, the first two as the team’s designated hitter, and then as the team’s catcher.
He said her preparation wasn’t just on the softball diamond, too.
“She’s been a hard worker as well as a leader for us,” he said. “She’s also worked in the offseason on her speed and agility and in the weight room. She’s prepared herself. She has a long resume of things she’s accomplished in the classroom and on the diamond.”
He said Fritz has competed against top competition in her sport. “I try to make sure our kids face the top teams in the state every year, and they face them every week in travel ball.”
Roberts said Fritz put forth the effort needed.
“I get a lot of pats on the back a lot of the time, but it’s nothing I’ve done,” he said. “We have great kids here. They work very hard.”
He said Fritz’s preparation is across the board.
“She’ll be very successful in whatever she chooses to do after college.”
Fritz said she decided to become a Lady Lion after attending a two-day camp at the school in Hammond, La. She impressed staffers enough to receive a scholarship offer after the camp and was impressed enough with the Lady Lions’ program to become a part of it.
“It’s a big school but it has a small-school feel, and I like that,” she said. “I’m excited about spending the next four years of my life there.”
Fritz said the school saw her profile on a website last summer and contacted her, then later watched her play with her travel ball team — Georgia Impact 18U Gold — and Woodland.
She said Southeastern coaches said they liked her catching, hitting and size — she’s 5 feet, 11 inches.
“We are excited Lacey chose Southeastern,” Lady Lions head coach Pete Langlois said. “She’s not only an athlete that can make an impact on the field, but she is a leader in her school and community. We are fortunate to sign her.”
Roberts said Fritz is taking a big step in her life and softball career by joining the Lady Lions.
“It will be such a great experience for her to go that far and grow up as a young lady,” he said.
Fritz said she has been primarily a catcher through the years but also has played first base.
She prefers catching. “I like the fact you’re always involved in something every time the ball is pitched. You’re always involved, no matter what.”
While playing at Woodland and on travel ball teams have helped her, Fritz said, she also has received help from her dad, Mark.
“My dad has always helped me with hitting in the backyard,” she said. “If I’m excited, he helps me get through it. If I’m struggling, he can always talk me past it.”
She said she also has received instruction from hitting coaches, too.
“I started hitting with them when I was 15 or 16. Now I’m 18,” she said. “They have corrected a few things and helped me swing with power and confidence.”
Fritz said she will compete for a starting catching position her first year and believes her background at Woodland has prepared her for the challenge.
“Coach Roberts has helped us get prepared for this level by scheduling us to play against a lot of tough teams,” Fritz said.
The Woodland star said the coach has not only broadened players’ knowledge about softball but also prepared them for other challenges.
“He’s taught us about being on the field and about life,” she said. “He’s helped us become well-rounded individuals — he doesn’t just teach us about softball.”
Fritz has earned virtually every accolade imaginable at Woodland.
She recently was named all state AAAAA catcher and was chosen to play in the All State All-Star game at Mercer. She was All-State Honorable Mention as a catcher her junior year.
She has been named to her region all-star teams three years in a row and to all-county all-star teams four years by The Daily News Tribune. She was selected as a member of the Georgia Dugout Club Elite 80 as a junior. She was recently named Co-Offensive Player of the Year by The Daily News Tribune.
During her Woodland career, she scored 74 runs, tallied 116 hits, 80 singles, 25 doubles, two triples and nine home runs. She also drove in 92 runs for the Lady Wildcats and was given a free pass to the base path 31 times. Her cumulative batting average is .338. Her highest single-year batting average came this fall, when she hit .366.