Stormy Kotzelnick Continues Her Mother's Softball Legacy
When Kathy Kotzelnick decided to play softball and basketball at the University of Indianapolis, she did not know the impact her decision would have years later on her family.
Fast forward to the present day, and Kathy’s daughter, Stormy Kotzelnick, is also playing college softball. The only difference is she’s playing for the University of Louisiana, about 900 miles away from her mom’s alma mater. Her decision to become a college softball player is something she says she owes to her mom.
“My mom’s definitely my best friend,” said Kotzelnick. “Seeing her work hard and seeing what she went through made me want to strive for that even more. It’s like, because you did it and you’re my role model, I want to work hard and strive for the same things that you have.”
It wasn’t an easy decision, however. Growing up, Kotzelnick played both basketball and softball and even admittedly loved basketball more. Basketball was, in her words, something that came very easily to her. With softball, she had to work harder at it to “make it happen.”
She can confidently say today she made the right decision. She committed to the University of Washington at 13 years old and enrolled there for her freshman year. But after taking a redshirt season last year, she decided to head south to Louisiana. That decision was made a bit easier with the company of her friend and fellow teammate Ari Quiñones, who transferred to Louisiana with her.
“I think we’re just unmatched,” said Kotzelnick. “The love (we have), the way that we are with each other, I wouldn’t even call it a friendship, she’s honestly my sister. Blood or no blood, I call her my sister.”
In addition to her bond with Quiñones, it did not take long for Kotzelnick to form bonds with her other teammates at Louisiana, which have led to great success for her at the plate this year. The redshirt freshman is currently batting .383 with 36 hits, 24 runs scored, 10 doubles, 5 triples, 4 home runs and 25 runs batted in for the Ragin' Cajuns. The Indiana native also has eight steals in nine attempts and has a slugging percentage of .723.
“When I got here and met everybody and put myself out there, it was just like, ‘okay, I can rock with these girls,’” said Kotzelnick. “They’re super cool and we all kind of have the same type of gritty mentality. We’re going to do whatever it takes and I really admire that and anyone that shares those similar qualities.”
As it turns out for Kotzelnick, she does not need to travel far from campus to find another person she admires—her father. According to Kotzelnick, her parents bought a house in Louisiana, where her father currently lives. She also sees her mother on weekends when she is able to come to Louisiana to watch her daughter's games. In addition to the relationship she has with her mother, which fostered her desire to play college softball, Kotzelnick also thanks her dad for her success on the field and in life.
“It’s just like any other father-daughter relationship in softball,” said Kotzelnick. “Sometimes you feel it’s a little bit too much, but then I look at the situation that we have and our relationship and that everything he does is just because he wants the best for me, everything that he does is just because he loves the game. He has a great heart. Knowing that he’s always here supporting me, in my corner, is there when I need help, it’s awesome.”
Before her collegiate career even began, Kotzelnick already had plenty of success on the field. In the summer of 2020 before her freshman year at Washington, she played in the Florida Gulf Coast League (FGCL), where she was named the Rookie of the Year with a .459 batting average. She continued to play for FGCL the following summer as well.
“Being in the FGCL, you have fun on the field and off the field, it’s just a great experience,” said Kotzelnick. “When you’re having fun playing and there’s not really stress or anything, that’s when you’re most successful, and it was just a great time.”
While she continues to have success in the game of softball at Louisiana, Kotzelnick notes that the supporters in the stands, the future softballers watching her on the field, are who keep her going.
“When you see everyone here that’s supporting you, it gives you even more of a reason to want to push,” Kotzelnick said. “You never know who’s watching.”