Every year one college baseball player receives national honors by recieving the Golden Spike Award. The annual award is one that highlights the nation’s best amateur baseball player.
It’s an award that one would expect to see placed in the hands of a nationally recognized player from a large conference. All of these are honest expectations, however UVU’s Goose Kallunki is a semi-finalist for the Golden Spike Award, and he is showing the nation that you don’t need to be in a large conference to earn national recognition, you just need to play hard.
“People aren’t asking ‘who is Utah Valley?’” Kallunki said. “They are now saying that ‘these guys can play, and we aren’t going to look them over.’”
By mid-season, 60 different college baseball athletes from around the nation are selected for a chance to receive the award. By May, the number is cut in half as the organization selects 30 semi-finalists, one of them being UVU’s Kallunki.
“It is cool to be recognized like that,” Kallunki said. “Obviously we have never had anybody from our school do that, and it is a cool thing to be nominated.”
The attention of the award was focused to Kallunki during the 2012 baseball season. Ending the season as the Great West Conference championships, the Wolverines considered their season a success.
Kallunki ended the season with a .419 batting average. He also led the team in home runs with 18 and was the team leader with 86 RBI’s.
“It was an incredible season with what our guys accomplished and the excitement they generated,” head coach Eric Madsen said. “I don’t think you candream up those seasons, and it was great to be a part of it.
The 30 semi-finalists names will be sent to a body of 200 voters that consist of past USA Baseball National team caches, media and other USA Baseball staff members.
But voting is also open to fans at golenspikesaward.com. Until Tuesday, fans may log onto the site and vote for their top three choices among the 30 semi-finalists.
Following Tuesday’s voting commencement, the top three finalists will be selected, and voting will open up to the public again on the same day, this time allowing voters to choose one favorite among the top three.
Final voting will close on Friday, June 15 at 3 pm Mountain Standard time. On Friday, July 6 fans may watch the trophy ceremony, as it will be awarded live at MLB Network’s Studio. The presentation will also be live streamed at goldenspikesaward.com, MLB.com and usabaseball.com.
Kallunki is happy to be nominated for the prestigious award and is even more satisfied that Utah Valley is slowly starting to gain recognition from beyond our state.
“The award does more for getting our name out there,” Kallunki said. “It says that we aren’t just from a small school; we have some good players.”