The Big Ten announced the softball end-of-season awards Wednesday, as the 14 head coaches voted on the 2023 All-Big Ten teams and four individual awards.
Indiana freshman infielder Taryn Kern won the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award and Big Ten Player of the Year award, becoming the first Hoosier to win the two individual postseason awards in program history.
Kern won the freshman award unanimously, the third time this century a player received every vote for that award. Kern is the fifth Big Ten softball athlete to win both awards in the same season and the first since Minnesota’s Kendyl Lindaman did it six years ago.
The California native joins Indiana University Hall of Famer and Olympian Michelle Venturella as the only other Hoosier to win the Player of the Year award. Kern joins Tammy Connor as the only other Indiana player to win the Freshman of the Year. Venturella won her award in 1994 and Connor won the inaugural Freshman of the Year award in 1985. Kern broke Venturella’s single-season program records in home runs and runs batted in.
Kern also landed on the First Team All-Big Ten list and the All-Freshman Team.
Kern leads the Big Ten in nine offensive categories, including home runs with 22, which is tied for first in the country. She is on pace to set a new Big Ten record for home runs in a season, which would be the most by a freshman in one campaign. Kern had half of her 22 home runs during conference play, which was just one shy of the record for most long balls, excluding the 2021 conference-only season.
Joining Kern on the First Team register is sophomore outfielder Taylor Minnick, a step up from last year’s All-Big Ten Second Team and All-Freshman Team honors. Minnick is second in the conference in on-base percentage (.549), slugging percentage (.768) and on-base plus slugging percentage (1.317). Minnick tallied 14 doubles, one triple, 11 home runs, and 52 RBI with a batting average of .413.
Redshirt junior utility player Cora Bassett, freshman catcher Avery Parker and sophomore utility player Sarah Stone landed on the Second Team All-Big Ten list. Parker joined fellow freshmen Cassidy Kettleman and Kern on the All-Freshman Team.
Bassett has been the leadoff hitter all year holding a .331 batting average while leading the team with 18 stolen bases in 19 attempts. Bassett was named to the All-Big Ten First Team in 2022 and broke the single-season record for most runs scored with 62 and counting.
Parker, like Bassett, started in all 55 regular season contests. Parker hit .326 with 36 runs scored, 36 RBI as well as nine doubles and nine home runs. Parker earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week April 3 after she hit .500 with eight hits, eight runs, seven RBI, two doubles and two home runs to lead Indiana’s win over Butler and sweeps against Purdue and Ohio State.
Stone has been steady both in the field and at the plate, recording 332 putouts in the field and her 59 RBI is second in the Big Ten behind Kern. Eight of those runs batted in came in a series against Rutgers where Stone earned Big Ten Co-Player of the Week. Stone hit three home runs in the sweep of the Scarlet Knights.
Kettleman made 25 starts this season, recording her lone home run against Rutgers and was stellar defensively with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage, tallying 48 putouts and four assists.
Sophomore utility player Brianna Copeland was nominated for the Sportsmanship Award for her leadership and dedication to her teammates on and off the field. The award is handed out to one player on each team.
The full list of awards can be found here.
Team 50 returns to action Thursday in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals.