Northwestern Softball will kick off on Friday when the ‘Cats take on Boise State in the Kajikawa Classic. With the newcomers, pitchers, and infielders already previewed, all that’s left is to take a look at the outfielders. With that said, let’s meet the four strong-armed players who will roam the grass in 2024.
Kelsey Nader, sophomore
Like her teammate Kansas Robinson, Nader had an excellent freshman season in 2023. In 48 starts, the right fielder hit .312 and drove in 25 runs. Nader finished with a solid .782 OPS as she flaunted her bat-to-ball skills throughout the year. In the field, she made 57 putouts compared to just two errors.
Nader’s next step is improving her power. The Michigan native hit just one home run — a bomb against Illinois in early April. If Nader can put a few more balls over the fence, she could easily finish her sophomore season with an OPS over .900.
Angela Zedak, graduate student
Zedak’s senior season was her best by far. She posted a .315 average and a .971 OPS with 12 home runs and 41 RBI in 2023 — all career-high marks. Not only did her offense blossom, but Zedak also made a whopping 63 putouts without a single error.
Her improvement from her first three years is absolutely remarkable. Zedak has a penchant for turning it on when it matters most — in the Super Regional in Tuscaloosa last year, she went 3-for-8 with a monstrous home run. She’ll surely provide more of those moments as the ‘Cats look to make a deep postseason run in 2024.
Isabel Cunnea, first-year
Out of Oak Lawn, Cunnea is a power-hitting athlete with excellent speed and defense. In her sophomore year, she was named All-State after hitting .455 with an astounding slugging percentage of .911. In addition to her individual accolades, Cunnea also led her Marist RedHawks to a 38-1 record and a state championship that season.
During her time at Marist, Cunnea manned left field. With the departure of center fielder Skyler Shellmyer, Cunnea could step into a starting role and see lots of action as a first-year.
Hannah Cushing, first-year
Cushing is a versatile athlete, having played center field and third base in high school. The California native may be far away from home, but she has roots in Evanston. Her parents are both Northwestern alumni, and her father, Jim, won a Big Ten Championship with the men’s tennis team in 1990.
Cushing might not be ready for a starting role immediately, but she isn’t being forced into such a situation. She should contribute as a pinch hitter and runner as the 2024 season progresses.