Emma Kavanagh: #1 Nationally Ranked Top Catcher Prospect & Overall Top 5 Player for 2024 Grad Class
Illinois Chill Gold 18U:
Name: Emma Grace Kavanagh Nickname: Slugger Hometown: Barrington Hills, Illinois (IL) Grad Year: 2024 Travel Team: Illinois Chill Gold 18U High School: Barrington High School Positions: C/UT Height: 5 foot 7 Bat/Throw: R/R Pop Times: 1.6 at a college camp, Consistently around a 1.8 Coaches: Gerry Quinn and Perry Peterson Overhand Velocity: 73 Exit Velocity off Tee: 83 Home to First or 20 yds: 2.9 (working for that 2.75) Intended Study Major: Education/ Sports Psychology/ Exercise Science/Exercise Physiology Email: EmmaGKavanagh@icloud.com Twitter: @emmagkavanagh_18 Who are you? I am a girl who grew up in northern Illinois and fell in love with softball (maybe a bit too competitive as well). How did your softball journey begin? When I was 4 years old, my dad was throwing wiffle balls to my sister and I asked to try. I went and grabbed the bat correctly and started hitting away, no matter how hard he started throwing. My dad started laughing and called my mom to see. Then it all began with T-ball! On my first team my coach came up with the name “Little Slugger”. Since then the word "little" has been dropped.
Emma "Little Slugger" (now known as "Slugger")
Younger years of Emma's softball journey
How does it feel knowing that you are ranked as the nation’s top Catcher prospect and overall Top 5 prospects in the nation for your grad year and what do you attribute to your amazing success and achievements? It is crazy, but of course it made me feel very good. I work really hard to always learn new things and get better. I am never ever done improving. I have been lucky to have been surrounded by amazing coaches who have pushed me to be better. I also have an amazing family that has supported me to chase my dreams. As a Catcher, you have to be both physically and mentally tough. You have to think like coaches and command the defense. How have you been so successful? When I am not playing softball I am constantly watching baseball and softball videos. While watching those videos I watch the catchers and learn from them. I am extremely vocal. With that, my team always knows what I’m thinking. Luckily for me, I have been a catcher since Day 1 and have seen a lot of scenarios to learn from. I know that will never stop.
Emma "Slugger" Kavanagh: Nation's top Catcher prospect for the 2024 Graduation Class
Do you call games and if so, can you please explain the preparation and game time execution? I have called a lot of games but not all. When I get the opportunity to call the game I pay attention to some different things. I focus on how the pitchers warmups look, what batter is up, and who is on base. Most importantly, as we work through the at-bat I notice how the batter looks in the box compared to what I have called. A big piece to calling games is having good trust with the umpire and learning his zone to see what strikes I can steal for my pitcher. What are you thinking when you have speedy runners on-base and you know they are going to try to steal on you? Oh this is easy! I think 1 of 2 things. 1: I hope you run. 2: I hope you don’t leave early. If they don’t steal right away, I usually watch their lead off to see if I can back pick.
NOTE: Defensive Stats through 8 Games: 3 back picks, and 2/4 runners thrown out at 2nd
What is your greatest strengths as a softball player and why should coaches want you on their team? I feel like I was born in a body that was made for sports, specifically to be a Catcher in softball. I bring a ton of energy to the field and hype up the team. When all is said and done, my teammates and coaches know I will do anything and everything to help the team win. Not only are you an outstanding Catcher, you are also a feared hitter. What kind of hitter are you and what are your most recent offensive stats? I am a power hitter looking to hit for average. I am very disciplined in the box and always like to make it a tough at-bat and get the ball in play. I have been told I look intimidating when I step in the box … I do not know how to take that sometimes. My most recent stats are: 8 Games Played .476 Batting Average 10 RBI’S 5 Extra Base Hits (3 HR’s) 9 Walks .952 Slugging Percentage .581 On-base Percentage .96% Contact Rate 5/5 Stolen Bases
Emma trotting Home with her first Walk-off, keeping the winning streak alive
Describe your leadership style and what characteristics do you find in outstanding leaders? My leadership style is leading by example and cheering for my teammates non-stop. The leaders I look up to are outgoing, positive, and love the game. You’re obviously very busy with so many activities and events in your life. How do you balance your life and manage your time so effectively? Well, I like to say I’m organized but I typically use my dad and mom as calendars. My dad loves to say “time management!” In our house, we all love our sports and know if we don’t manage our time effectively with school and other responsibilities, our sports get put on hold :(
Describe your game day mental preparation and your thought process in the batters box. Well, in reality my game day preparation starts with calming down a little bit because I’m so excited to play. I try to do some homework on the teams we are going to play. Then, once I get to the field I turn all my energy and focus to my very serious warm-up. I am very religious with my hitting warm-up. I think I am more focused on clearing my mind while in the box and focusing on the pitchers release. I trust my instincts when batting. I always look for first pitch strikes. I love them. I am very comfortable letting bad strikes go and waiting for the pitch I want. If that means falling 0-2, I am okay with that. What is your favorite sports memory and greatest achievement? In the last year, I got my first Grand Slam and was so excited about it. I skipped when I rounded first. I also got to be a part of an amazing super sectional game last high school season. I was the only freshman on the team and there were thousands of people watching in person and online. It was an amazing experience I hope to relive.
Emma with her first Grand Slam
Super Sectionals: Emma manufacturing a Run to tie the game and send into extra innings
How do you handle adversity and even failure? This is a work in progress for me. I am very hard on myself. It is a game of failure and I have to find ways to learn from it. Sometimes I have to process what happened then I will approach my dad about it. How would your teammates and friends describe you? People describe me as fun, energetic, and super competitive.
Emma is always supporting and cheering her teammates; vocal and motivational
Who is your role-model and or idol and why? I have been lucky to attend a lot of camps and even watch some Athletes Unlimited games. With that, I have seen Amanda Lorenz, Sydney Sherrill, Dejah Mulipola, and Sis Bates. From what I have seen, I like their confidence and energy. If you could spend a day with any softball player, former or current, who would it be and why? I would like to spend a day with Lisa Fernandez. She makes me laugh and I love that she trash talks while she throws BP. I would love to hear about her experiences throughout her softball career. What is your softball dream/goal? My dream is to play with the best and play against the best. I hope to represent a great college program and then play for Team USA! Describe your perfect softball team. My team would be built with people who are driven to master there skills because they love the game.
Illinois Chill Gold 18U
Barrington High School Varsity Softball Team
When deciding on what college team to play for what are the most important things you’re looking for? Is it location, academics, conference, championship winning history, school reputation, coaching staff, team chemistry, weather, school colors etc? Everything listed above plays a major role in finding my 4 year home. I want it to feel like a second home and a second family. Winning also never hurts.
To be as successful as you are at the elite Tier 1 level requires putting in the extra work. Please tell us about all the extra work you put into your development and improvements such as strength and conditioning to private lessons. I love practicing and working out. Every day of the week I am doing one or the other. There is always something to keep me in-shape and moving. In the off-season, my dad and I hit 3 times a week minimum and I had separate lessons for hitting, catching and throwing once a week. Either before or after lessons I’d make time to get in a good lift 4-6 times a week. In season, all my focus goes to playing with my team and practicing with them! Although we are playing, I try and get in some workouts on weekends or any other time that frees up. What gets you hyped or ready before a game? My dad! If he’s there I get the pre-game pep talk, if he isn’t there I get the pre-game text and if we’re traveling far I get the pre-game letter in my suitcase. What is your favorite jersey number and why did you choose it? I wear #18 because it is my birthday and I chose it when I was little and stuck with it.
Emma with the #18
What other hobbies do you have to balance out softball and your personal life? I live, eat, and breathe softball and baseball. If anyone wants to hit me grounders or throw some BP (Batting Practice) I am always ready. Otherwise, I like the occasional nap I get when I am watching some sports highlights. What bit of advice or mentorship can you share with younger players or others who strive to be successful as you? This is something I take seriously. It is our responsibility to help the next generation. I still remember how I felt when I met players I looked up to. I would make sure they know they’re amazing, always have fun with the game they love, and that they are playing the best game ever created. Who would you like to thank for your softball achievements and support? I am lucky to have a family, teammates, and coaches who have unconditionally supported me. They know I have big dreams and always help me with anything I may need.
Family photo Additional Information About Emma Walk up Song: Big and Chunky by will.i.am Favorite Food: Watermelon / Jimmy Johns Favorite Song: 505 Favorite Music Artist: Arctic Monkeys Favorite Sports Team: All softball teams Favorite Sports Celebrity: Amanda Lorenz Favorite Movie: One Mile To You Favorite Sports Movie: Sandlot Favorite TV Show: The Walking Dead / The Last Dance Favorite Book: It Takes What it Takes Favorite Travel Spot: Any softball field/gym or the beach Favorite Quote: “The sun will rise tomorrow” and “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us”. - Marianne Williamson Other quotes to play by: “See ball, hit ball”. “Play every game like it is your last”.