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Kentucky's Erin Coffel Discusses Career Entering Senior Year

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(Photo via Kentucky Athletics)

No team in the sport of softball is complete without a great shortstop. For the Kentucky Wildcats, they have that great shortstop. Senior Erin Coffel enters the 2024 college softball season as one of the best shortstops in the nation.

As a junior in 2023, Coffel put together another outstanding campaign, hitting .440 and slugging .976. She is also a multiple-time All-American.

Softball America caught up with Coffel about her rise in the softball community, achievements so far and what she hopes to accomplish in her senior season for the Wildcats.

Read the full interview below.

Softball America: What are your earliest memories of playing softball and when did you realize you could do it at the next level?

Erin Coffel: I played for our local recreational league and remember developing a real sense of competition after winning our first championship when I was a fifth grader. I vividly remember every day in the summer going out in the backyard and throwing the ball around for three or four hours before the game. It was like I couldn’t wait to be there.

I don’t think there was one defining moment when I realized that my dreams of playing at the next level could be realized. I truly loved playing the game when I was younger and was eager for every opportunity that I could possibly get.

SA: Why did you decide to play at Kentucky?

EC: I decided to commit to Kentucky because of the way my first visit felt like home. The coaches, city of Lexington and the girls all made it feel like it was a home that wasn’t too far away from home, and it still feels the same way today.

SA: What were your expectations before you started at Kentucky, and what do you take away from them now that you are three years in?

EC: My time at Kentucky has been full of highs and lows. It’s been a growing experience for me as a person, and I’ve truly learned who I am outside of the softball field. I’ve grown into a completely different person than who I was when I stepped on campus my freshman year thanks to my coaches and my teammates. I’m truly able to express myself here, and that’s all that I could ask for.

I’ve really also learned to not let the highs get too high and the lows get too low. I understand not every practice is going to be a great one, but I have to give 100 percent of what I have that day and be able to hang my hat on that. Coach Lawson preaches that, and it’s always something that I keep implemented in my mental notes.

SA: Where do you feel you rank among shortstops in the nation entering your senior season?

EC: I’m not one who necessarily likes to rank myself because I feel like it could quickly become a comparison contest that is quite depleting to me. Shortstop is such a tough position and you have to play aggressively and fearlessly as a leader on the field. Anyone who can do that, I truly admire. My goal is to be the best shortstop for my team to take our team to new heights this season.

SA: What are some things you are doing to prepare for your senior season?

EC: I’ve been playing a lot of softball this summer, which is something I haven’t done in the past three seasons I’ve been at Kentucky. This summer has been such a unique and special challenge for me playing softball internationally and against international competition. I’ve had to balance a lot of working out and softball mixed in with traveling, but I think it has 100 percent prepared me for what’s to come this season.

SA: What are some of your best memories from your college career so far?

EC: Beating Virginia Tech at Regionals in 2022, quite literally hanging out with my teammates every day before practice in our lounge (and) our walk-off win against Florida this season on Senior Day. I will also never forget taking the series against Alabama at home my freshman year with the comeback we had on Monday night to win the game.

SA: What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment in softball so far?

EC: Obviously, being named All-America is pretty cool, but I don’t really strive for individual accomplishments. I focus more on team-oriented goals, so getting to the Super Regionals through the losers’ bracket my freshman year at John Cropp Stadium was a pretty special accomplishment for us. Those are the things that I strive for.

SA: What do you hope to do with the rest of your career at Kentucky?

EC: My biggest hope is to take this team back to the Women’s College World Series. This team and all of the alumnae deserve it, and I fully believe we are more than capable of making a run if we work extremely hard in the fall on the things that will be important for our season.

SA: What do you hope to do after your college career ends?

EC: My hope is that I continue to play softball after I’m done at Kentucky. I’m not sure where that is, but all I know is that I want to keep playing. I also want to coach. This summer, I had the opportunity to coach my travel ball team and it really opened my passion for it.

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