#37 Northwestern Softball Preview

Northwestern Wildcats

Overall Rank: #37
Conference Rank: #3 Big Ten
Northwestern College Softball Top 44 Team Preview
Northwestern Team Page


It did not look too good for the Northwestern softball team as far as odds of making the NCAA postseason. But the Wildcats closed out the regular season with big wins over Michigan State and Illinois and qualified for their 13th NCAA appearance. The Wildcats managed to have a little fun while in the regional, pulling a two-step of its own on Texas in a surprise win and then beating the Houston Cougars before the Longhorns came back, said don’t mess with Texas and eliminated Northwestern. Still, the postseason appearance enabled Northwestern to finish with a .500 record. The Big Ten now has a softball postseason tournament, so it remains to be seen whether the Wildcats could pull off something like this again. Time will tell how good this year’s Wildcats team will be.

2012: 29-29, 14-10
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kate Drohan

Field Players:
Many key cogs are back to help Northwestern battle for a Big Ten championship and give Drohan a shot at 400 wins. Drohan enters the season needing 14 victories for 400, and senior Emily Allard will be one of the big cogs behind the offense. A career .410 hitter, Allard needs two steals to set a new record in stolen bases (118), and her 125 runs and 221 hits rank among the top six in team history. Junior Marisa Bast joins Allard in the infield, having fallen one home run shy of a Big Ten triple crown (.414-13-63). Sophomore Olivia Duehr stole 13 bases and drove in 36 runs as a freshman, and junior Mari Majam scored 48 runs on just 44 hits. This team has some offensive weapons, and many of them will be around past the 2013 campaign.

Sophomore Amy Letourneau is a dual weapon because she can hit as well as pitch. Letourneau hit .348 in conference play and she shut out Texas in the opening game of the NCAA tournament. She went 13-10 with a 4.48 earned run average in overall play but had 129 walks and 117 strikeouts. Control issues also dogged Meghan Lamberth, who fanned 77 and walked just as many batters in going 12-13 with a 3.62 ERA. Sammy Albanese is also back with a 4-5 record and 3.84 ERA, not to mention two saves in relief.

Who to Watch:
Keep an eye on freshman Kristen Wood, who could break the rotation with a solid spring or at least help out in areas of crisis. Wood, who hails from across the border in Trevor, Wisconsin, struck out 302 batters with a 0.31 ERA as she guided Wilmot Union to a state runner-up finish in her junior season. If she can bring any of that pitching power to Northwestern this could be a pitcher to watch in future seasons.   

Final Projection:
Most of the players from last year’s surprisingly strong showing are back, including key home-run hitting, base stealing and pitching threats. Michigan and Nebraska could be solid threats one more time, but the conference drops off after that so Northwestern should not have much trouble filling its tournament dance card. Look for at least 30 wins, possibly 35 if some pitching problems are resolved.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Emily Allard, IF/OF, 222
Hits: Emily Allard, IF/OF, 85
Home Runs: Marisa Bast, IF, 13
RBIs: Marisa Bast, IF, 68
Runs: Mari Majam, IF/OF, 48
Stolen Bases: Emily Allard, IF/OF, 37

Wins: Amy Letourneau, P/1B, 13
Innings Pitched: Meghan Lamberth, P, 158.2
Strikeouts: Amy Letourneau, P/1B, 117
Saves: Sammy Albanese, P, 2

Madness 2013 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#49 Aubrie May
#54 Kristen Wood
#100 Brianna LeBeau


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