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UH’s Wartner named Big West player of the week

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    UH’s Kayla Wartner is expanding her skill set by practicing in the outfield in the fall. But the Rainbow Wahine’s most experienced catcher prefers the view behind the plate.

Kayla Wartner’s big weekend in Las Vegas earned the University of Hawaii senior the Big West Field Player of the Week award on Monday.

Wartner hit .550 (11-for-20) over six games in the Wilson/DeMarini Desert Classic with four home runs and four doubles and drove in 10 runs for the Rainbow Wahine (7-4).

Wartner went 2-for-3 and drove in two runs in a 5-4 loss to BYU to open the tournament. She then sparked a UH comeback against Utah State with a home run and completed the rally with a two-run walk-off homer in an 11-10 victory on Friday.

She went 2-for-4 against No. 12 UCLA on Saturday and closed the tournament by hitting home runs against both Seattle and Portland State in a doubleheader sweep on Sunday.

Along with hitting safely in all six games, Wartner led the Wahine with a .625 on-base percentage and 1.350 slugging percentage. She raised her batting average to .467 entering the Bank of Hawaii Invitational, which opens Friday at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.

The Big West weekly award is Wartner’s first of her career and UH’s first since the final week of the 2013 season.

UC Riverside junior Chelsea Ponce was named Big West Pitcher of the Week.

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