Kentucky Softball star catcher Kayla Kowalik was voted a National Fastpitch Coaches’ Association First Team All-American, the organization announced Wednesday afternoon.
Kowalik becomes just the fifth Wildcat to earn All-America honors in program history, joining Molly Belcher (2009), Kelsey Nunley (2016), Katie Reed (2017) and Abbey Cheek (2019). Kowalik joins Nunley and Cheek as the only first-team selections in school history.
The standout catcher finished the year batting .495 to lead the NCAA, along with adding a nation-leading 100 hits on the year to become the first UK player to ever log 100 hits in a single season.
The New Braunfels, Texas native registered 11 doubles, six triples, 12 home runs – the first homers of her career – and 37 RBI. She also added a team-high 23 stolen bases on the year, the most in a single season since Molly Belcher stole 29 times in 2009. Her 27 walks combined with her batting average gave her a team-best .554 on-base percentage this season.
As a catcher, Kowalik finished with a .993 fielding percentage and threw out four base stealers.
With two years of eligibility remaining at Kentucky, Kowalik will have the chance to build off of one of the greatest single-season efforts in program history when the Wildcats return in 2022.
As a team, UK finished the 2021 season with a 43-16 overall record that included the program’s eighth appearance in the NCAA Super Regionals and the fourth consecutive. Kentucky finished fifth overall in the SEC and were champions of the 2021 Campbell Invitational, 2021 Spring Games and the 2021 FAU Parents’ Weekend Tournament.
Let’s run it back next year.