Kaylee “Moose” Puailoa Named SEC Freshman of the Week

This one has been a long time coming as Kaylee “Moose” Puailoa earned her first ever SEC award, being named the SEC Freshman of the Week after her dominating performance at the plate against Upstate and 13th-ranked Texas A&M. Kaylee has such a beautiful swing and is making a ton of in-game adjustments as of late that are allowing her to hit the change-up and hit for more power.  This may be the first SEC award for Kaylee, but I would expect her to garner her fair share of accolades before her years as a Bulldog are over. Go Kaylee!

On the week, Kaylee went 5-11 (.455 average) at the plate and registered a base hit in each of Georgia’s four games. Moose began the week by stroking her 10th double of the 2013 campaign in the outing against USC-Upstate, and she continued her hot streak by tallying a hit in each of the games against Texas A&M, including a towering home run in Saturday’s game that tied the game at 5-5. In that contest, Kaylee reached base in all four plate appearances. Although this is the first SEC weekly award for Kaylee Puailoa, it is the fifth time this season that Georgia has had a rookie named Freshman of the Week. Geri Ann Glasco has earned the award three times, while Tina and Kaylee have now each garnered it once.

You may hear cheers coming from the Georgia dugout and from people in the stands, myself included, that resembles a chorus of booing. Do not be fooled by this, as you are really hearing the routine cheer for Kaylee Puailoa. When the powerful lefty hitter steps into the box, chants of “Mooooooose” fill Jack Turner Stadium. If you look even closer, you can find the girls in the dugout holding their hands above their heads to resemble moose antlers.

When I asked Kaylee about where the nickname came from, she said that it kind of happened out of nowhere.

“On the Lakewood ladies team for coach Jorge Aurajo, we would have long practices and being the young ladies we were, our attention span was limited. I was at first base with Breana West, who is now playing for Cal Poly, and we always had our little fun. One day we decided to make nicknames and she came up with Moose! She kept calling me Moose and sooner or later so was everyone else, along with the coaches.”

Despite Kaylee’s efforts to return the favor by giving her teammate an animal nickname, she found no success. It seemed that she was destined to go by “Moose” and it has stuck ever since.

“Everyone always asks me why Moose? It sounds like a big ugly animal, but for some reason I’ve always responded to it,” says the rookie slugger.

With the power numbers and clutch hitting that this young lady has been putting up, I think her nickname may be pretty dang accurate. She is strong, maybe as strong as the proverbial Moose that her teammates have compared her to…or maybe stronger! Kaylee is a great athlete and an even greater kid! I cannot wait to see how well she does in a Georgia uniform in 2013 and for years to come!

Kaylee Puailoa tallies a hit in a 2013 game at Jack Turner Stadium (Courtesy GeorgiaDogs.com, shot by Evan Stichler)

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