The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse baseball team is gearing up for a run at a Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title this weekend. A large part of the Eagles' success this season comes from Taylor Kohlwey. He leads the team in slugging percentage and on-base percentage.
The junior from Holmen has made a name for himself after a standout sophomore season and a WIAC-record 37-game hit streak that ended earlier this season.
He's known as a quiet man though, who prefers to let his bat do the talking. That has been true for coach Chris Schwarz since his recruiting days.
"He was really quiet and real short on the phone, but you could see it on the field," Schwarz said.
Kohlwey started six games his freshman year, then ascended into the starting role in 2014, starting every game and hitting .458 with 50 RBI, eight home runs, and 57 runs scored.
His numbers have dipped a little in 2015, but in part due to a steady diet of off-speed pitching. Through 36 games, he leads the team with a .654 slugging percentage, 14 doubles, 34 RBI, 35 runs scored and eight stolen bases.
He has also doubled off runners on the base paths and made some great catches in the outfield, proving he has all the tools of a player that could play at the next level.
"Never seen anybody go first to third faster than him. You just blink your eye and he's rounding second and he's no third," Schwarz said. "That's pretty fun to watch but Taylor can play. He's got quick hands, he's got good instincts, but his speed is something special."
The hit streak came to an end at Copeland Park in a doubleheader against St. Scholastica on March 29. He immediately began a new streak by hitting a home run in the 1st inning of the second game.
"Proud to have my name up there with some of the best but at the same time I'm glad it's over," Kohlwey said of the streak. "I was kind of getting in my own head a little bit."
"The best way to describe that hit streak was that it was no big deal because Taylor just gets hits," Schwarz said. "It's just what he does."
All the success has made Kohlwey a much more confident player, and along the way he has become more talkative with his teammates.
"It's been fun to see him make jokes and quote movie lines and things like that," Schwarz said.
"I'm still a pretty quiet guy but I just feel comfortable around the guys we have here," Kohlwey said.
Like many of his teammates, Kohlwey dreams of playing in Major League Baseball one day, specifically for his childhood favorite team the Milwaukee Brewers. But what separates him from others is the potential he still has to develop his skills.
"He's got room to grow. That's the fun part is his ceiling - I have no idea where it is," Schwarz said. "He just continues to get better and as long as he wants it, he'll continue to get better as we go forward."