Heading into the final four games of the 2021 season, University of Hawaii baseball infielder Kole Kaler is garnering national attention as the junior is among 30 semifinalists for the prestigious Brooks Wallace Award, which honors the nation’s top shortstop.
Kaler, leads the Rainbow Warriors in average (.335), hits (64) and stolen bases (15). He has 12 doubles, three triples and two home runs this season to go along with 21 multi-hit games.
“It’s definitely motivation, but just going out and playing my game. Literally just trying to do what I can to help the team win and just playing hard. That’s what it comes down to for me. If I play the game hard then the results will come eventually. Just playing my game,” said Kaler.
The 2020 All-American ranks eighth in hits for the Big West Conference, 10th in total bases (88) and tier for second in stolen bases.
“He’s the glue for our club. Has been for the two years. He’s the guy that holds everything together, he’s the guy that we look to to be the leader,” said UH head coach Mike Trapasso. “He’s one of the favorite players I’ve coached in my career because of the type of person that he is. He brings it every single day. You want to talk about consistency, it’s Kole Kaler. Defensively, offensively, just leadership wise. He’s going to give you everything he’s got every single day with no excuses. He is a professional through and through and I can’t wait to see what happens in his career.”
He became the sixth Rainbow Warrior to hit for the cycle earlier this season – and the first since 1996 – when he accomplished the feat on April 10 at UC Riverside.
“The best ability is availability. I definitely take pride in that. I’m always trying to take care of my body and do extra things to get myself right for the weekend. I definitely take a lot of pride in that.”
The award, sponsored by Mizuno, honors the nation’s top shortstop and will be presented this summer by the College Baseball Foundation. It is named for former Texas Tech shortstop Brooks Wallace, who played for the Red Raiders from 1977 to 1980. Wallace died of leukemia at the age of 27.
Hawai’i (24-22, 16-20 BWC) will travel to Cal Poly who has won seven of its last eight games for the final series of the season May 28-30.
For more information on the Wallace Award or the Night of Champions event, visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.