Born to Hit: Michelle Batts

Michelle Batts certainly lives up to her last name.

The junior infielder has battered opposing pitchers, blasting 20 homers in her first two seasons as a Wildcat, already good for sixth all-time at Northwestern. She hit a home run in the first game of her Wildcat softball career.

"I get excited every time Batts gets up," Wildcats coach Kate Drohan told the Chicago Tribune in 2008.

This season the left-handed slugger will help lead the Northwestern offense against a number of softball's best, as the Wildcats play a tough 2010 slate. Batts along with senior Nicole Pauly and sophomore Adrienne Monka will look to fill the holes in the lineup left by the big bats of Tammy Williams (SESP09) and Erin Dyer (C09).

"I just try to hold my own," said Batts, a two-time All-Big Ten second team selection. "I'm just trying to help my team by doing what I can."

Batts grew up in Chicago's western suburbs, where she also played basketball, ran cross country and played baritone sax for Glenbard North High School. As an extra motivation for success, she knows how much her games mean to her biggest fan - her little sister, Michala, who has Down syndrome. "That's my fuel," Michelle said. "Every day when we go to practice, I'm doing it for her, showing her that hard work pays off."

 — Robbie Levin (J12)