#37 Northwestern Softball 2015 Preview

Northwestern Wildcats

Overall Rank: #37
Conference Rank: #5 Big Ten
#37 Northwestern Softball 2015 Preview
Northwestern Team Page


Northwestern continued its run of being one of the more consistent programs in all of women’s college softball by making it to the championship game of the Seattle Regional before falling to Washington. The Wildcats bring back a very nice mix of experience and youth. It is a mix of talent that will be primed for another run at the Big Ten Championship and another berth in the NCAA Tournament if they can stay healthy all season long.

2014: 35-18, 14-9
2014 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kate Drohan

Field Players:
Northwestern was tremendous offensively last season as they scored over 6.5 runs per game. They will have a challenge of replacing Marisa Bast, whose leadership and all-around ability offensively, will not be easy to replace. She hit nine homeruns and drove in 54 last season. Emily Allard’s speed will also be a challenge to replace, as she stole 37 bases in 39 attempts last season for the Wildcats. Outfielder Krista Williams will have the task of trying to replace Allard’s stolen base production after stealing nine bases in 2014. If she can get that number closer to 20 in 2015, the Wildcats will be in great shape. Infielder Brianna Lebeau will be the key to the Northwestern offense in 2015. LeBeau hit. 379 with 11 homeruns and 43 runs batted in and had a slugging percentage of just under .700. Infielder Andrea Filler and Infielder/Catcher Anna Edwards will also need to come up huge again at the plate like they did in 2014, as the duo combined for 11 homeruns and drove in 74.
Kristen Wood brings back the most experience from 2014 in the circle as she was 19-11, with a 3.73 earned run average in 2014. A big point of emphasis for Wood in 2015 is going to have be lowering the amount of walks. Wood walked 133 batters in 184 innings pitched, while striking out 233. This walk total has to get under 100 to take some of the pressure off of the Wildcats defense this season. Nicole Bond will also be in the mix again for time in the circle. Bond was 7-0 last season and had five complete games as well.

Who to Watch:
Amy Letourneau’s ability to recover from a season-ending injury last season and put together a full season like she did in 2013 is very important. Letourneau was 21-13 in the circle in 2013 with a 2.43 earned run average and in the field hit 13 homeruns as well during that season. Letourneau’s all-around ability would give Northwestern a tremendous boost and would offset the loss of Marisa Bast to graduation.

Final Projection:
Northwestern will be on the road a lot like most northern teams in the early part of the 2015 season. A season opening trip to the Kajikawa Classic at Arizona State along with trips to other highly competitive tournaments in Las Vegas, Cathedral City, California, Fullerton, and Louisville, Kentucky will make the Wildcats become very battle tested right away. The conference schedule has a key home series at the end of March against a Wisconsin team that went to the NCAA Tournament in 2014. The toughest stretch of the season starts with a weekend trip to Minnesota on April 10th, a trip to Notre Dame sandwiched in between another road trip to Nebraska. If Northwestern can get a winning record out of that stretch then that should shoot them into the conversation as a threat for one of the 16 seeds. Also, if Northwestern raises their level in the circle, that will go a long way in determining how far they go in the 2015 season.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Anna Edwards, IF/C, 157
Hits: Andrea DiPrima, IF/OF, 55; Brianna LeBeau, IF, 55
Home Runs: Brianna LeBeau, IF, 11
RBIs: Brianna LeBeau, IF, 43
Runs: Brianna LeBeau, IF, 43
Stolen Bases: Krista Williams, OF, 9

Wins: Kristen Wood, P, 19
Innings Pitched Kristen Wood, P, 184.0
Strikeouts: Kristen Wood, P, 233
Complete Games: Kristen Wood, P, 20


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