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Erin Coffel and Kayla Kowalik named to U.S. Women’s National Team’s Japan All-Star Series roster

Samuel Colmar
Kentucky shortstop Erin Coffel (21) throws her bat after it breaks during the No. 21 Kentucky vs. No. 3 LSU softball match on Friday, March 8, 2024, at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky lost 6-2. Photo by Samuel Colmar | Staff

Current Kentucky softball shortstop Erin Coffel and former Wildcat Kayla Kowalik were named to the U.S. Women’s National Team roster for the 2024 Japan All-Star Series, as announced on Friday, April 12.

The pair are two of sixteen elite players in the nation to have made the team, which ranks No. 1 in the world and also will feature current Kentucky head coach Rachel Lawson as an assistant coach.

Coffel has had an incredible career at Kentucky thus far and broke the program record for career home runs in March.

This year is the second time Coffel will represent the U.S. in the Japan All-Star series. In the 2023 installment, she went 4-for-12 with one RBI and scored two runs.

Kentucky Wildcats catcher Kayla Kowalik (99) takes a pitch during the No. 16 Kentucky vs. Dayton softball home opener game on Wednesday, March 8, 2023, at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff (Jack Weaver)

“It’s always a really big honor,” Coffel said. “Wearing USA across your chest, there’s not another feeling like it. To be able to play with some of the best girls in the country, not just in college, but professionally, I think it’s one of the best feelings that I can’t record.”

She also was on the gold-medal winning team in the 2023 Pan American Games, hitting 5-for-12 with a home run, four RBIs, and six runs scored.

Kowalik finished her five-year career at Kentucky in 2023 and is the program leader in hits with 348 and also runs scored with 258.

She was selected eighth overall in the 2023 Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) draft by the USSSA Pride and won the league’s Rookie of the Year award that season.

Kowalik represented the U.S. in the Japan All-Star Series in 2022 and went 2-for-7 with a double and one run scored.

“I think it’ll be fun to play with her again, the one-two punch,” Coffel said. “But just to be with her and to be in Japan, and then of course with Coach Lawson in Japan, it’s going to be definitely different but it’ll be a lot of fun.”

Kentucky is one of five schools, along with Oklahoma, Florida, LSU and Stanford, to have at least two players on the roster.

The Japan All-Star series is a three-game series against the No. 2 Japan national team that will be played on July 4-8, 2024, at three different venues.

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Samuel Colmar, Assistant Photo Editor

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