ESPN analyst says NiJa Canady could be the Caitlin Clark of softball

TOPEKA, KS. (KSNT) – Topeka-raised softball pitcher NiJa Canady has been making the rounds in the media.

The Stanford sophomore was named the National Player of the Year after leading the Cardinals to the national semifinals.

A recent article from The Athletic featured a profound quote by four-time all-American pitcher and ESPN analyst Monica Abbott: “‘Can NiJa be the Caitlin Clark of softball? I kind of believe she can.’”

Abbott, the NCAA career strikeout leader, holds the world record for fastest softball pitch at 77 miles per hour. Canady’s riseball already reaches 75 miles per hour.

“’Her limit does not exist. I think she could potentially reach 80 (mph),'” Abbott told the Athletic.

Another Topeka-raised pitcher, Washburn Rural and KU softball grad Kasey Hamilton, has high praise for Canady. Hamilton herself has signed on to play professionally with the Women’s Professional Fastpitch league.

In a recent sit-down interview on K-Nation, Hamilton was asked if she can foresee a Caitlin Clark-esque spotlight coming to softball.

“Totally,” Hamilton said. “I mean, NiJa has just been an absolute standout in women’s softball, and it’s been so cool to see a Topeka athlete nonetheless, like, make a statement for herself.”

“What Caitlin Clark has done for women’s basketball, I think so many athletes can do for softball and have been doing the last few years,” Hamilton said. “I mean, the attention that the Women’s College World Series is getting is just crazy. And it’s just growing and growing after each year.”

Canady finished the season with 337 strikeouts while maintaining a 0.73 ERA.

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