It was a big weekend for University of Alabama in Huntsville junior third baseman Kaitlyn Bannister. She entered the weekend as the recipient of the news that she was one of 25 remaining finalists for the Schutt Sport/ NFCA DII National Player of the Year Award. She would leave the weekend making sure she did everything in her power to make one final statement to claim that honor.
“It was very exciting,” Bannister said of being a finalist. “I feel like it’s one of my biggest accomplishments so far. It’s something that me and Coach Les [Steudeman] talked about and he knew I was capable of doing. It was definitely one of my goals I had for this year.”
Bannister opened the weekend series against Union University in record-setting fashion. Behind a 4-for-5 performance that included a pair of three-run home runs, she set the UAH record for RBI in a single-game with 10, a mark that is tied for second all time in the Gulf South Conference.
“It was amazing, but I do have a little regret, because I popped up with bases loaded,” Bannister said with a laugh. “I could have had more. It did feel really great and I was very excited about it because it was in front of my parents, coach and everybody else in Taylor and my teammates especially.”
Not to be out done, she fired back in a double-header the very next day, combining yet again for 10 RBI on the day over both games. Bannister would make more history in the nightcap of the double-header as she launched not one, but two grand slams in the same game. She became only the sixth NCAA DII player to ever accomplish such a feat. When you add those two slams to her season total, she became just the third ever DII softball player to have four grand slams in a single season
“It’s crazy,” Bannister said of being one of six in history to hit the mark. “I got up to the plate before I hit and said to myself, ‘I’m going to swing as hard as I can, I’m not going to think about where the pitch was going to go’. Actually, I didn’t think it was going to make it over the fence. When it went over the fence, I was really surprised.”
All in all, Bannister went 7-for-12 on the weekend, launching four home runs, driving in a remarkable 20 runs and scoring eight more. In a two-day, three-game span, she put up numbers that some players aim to put up in an entire season.
For more on Bannister and the home run happy weekend in the GSC, head on over to NCAA DII‘s page for the full story by clicking the link below.