After making the first cut, Kayla Kowalik is one of the finalists in consideration for the best player in college softball.
On Friday morning, USA Softball named the Kentucky Wildcats junior catcher as one of the 25 finalists for the 2021 National Player of the Year award. Kowalik, who is currently riding a program-record 21-game hitting streak, is the first ‘Cat since Abbey Cheek in 2019 to make the top 25.
?? @kswaggyyyy ??
Kayla Kowalik has been named a finalist for USA Softball’s National Player of the Year!!!#WeAreUK
— Kentucky Softball (@UKsoftball) April 23, 2021
According to UK, “Kowalik is batting .690 (29-42) in Kentucky’s last 12 games played. Last week alone, Kowalik went 11-for-15 at the plate in UK’s four games with five runs scored, two doubles, two home runs and a .773 average. In the 21 games of her hit streak, Kowalik is hitting .566 (43-for-76) with 26 runs scored, 5 doubles, 3 triples, 6 HR’s, 12 RBI, 9-for-9 in stolen bases and an on-base percentage of .693.”
A native of New Braunsfels, Texas, Kowalik broke the school’s hitting streak record with hit no. 19 in the Wildcats’ recent outing against Auburn last weekend. She also leads the entire Southeastern Conference in batting percentage at .534 in addition to her 11 home runs (second-most on the team) and 34 RBIs.
The number of finalists initially started with 50 before being trimmed down to 25 on Friday. A top 10 will be named on May 5, the top 3 on May 19, and a winner before the start of the NCAA Women’s College World Series.