Softball: Williams named NFCA National Freshman of the Year


Kathryn Stacy/OU Daily

Danielle Williams pitches at the NCAA Super Regional. She is the first player in Big Ten history to be named the NFCA National Freshman of the Year.

Sophia Scanlan, Reporter

Northwestern pitcher Danielle Williams was named the Schutt Sports/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I National Freshman of the Year on Tuesday, becoming the first player in Big Ten history to accomplish the feat.

Williams — who also won Big Ten Freshman of the Year — beat out Minnesota designated player Natalie DenHartog and Alabama pitcher Montana Fouts for the award, which is currently in its sixth year of existence.

The NFCA also named the California native a third team All-American, the 12th in Wildcat history.

Williams ended the 2019 season with 31 wins and 13 shutouts — each is the best total for an NU rookie since 1984. She also posted a 1.55 ERA and accumulated 317 strikeouts, both of which were second highest in the Big Ten behind Minnesota junior Amber Fiser.

Highlights from Williams’ first season with the Cats included pitching 34 straight scoreless innings in March and April; winning a 10-inning complete game against Wisconsin in April; and earning a 1.22 ERA during the NCAA Evanston Regional two weekends ago. She also started both games against No. 1 Oklahoma in last weekend’s Super Regional, limiting the offensive powerhouse to just three runs in the series’ first game.

Williams was also effective at the plate, delivering 3 homers and knocking in 21 runs.

“Danielle’s a warrior,” coach Kate Drohan said in a news conference last weekend. “She loves the game — she loves competing. She loves the game at practice every day, and that’s what I think is a true sign of a great softball player.”

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