CINCINNATI — Ten winners of the 2020 Johnny Bench Awards have been announced, which honor the top NCAA Division I male and female college catchers along with the top high school baseball and softball catchers from Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia.

 

The 2020 Johnny Bench Awards are presented by MSA Sport and Ohio’s 529 Plan CollegeAdvantage.

 

“My sincere congratulations to this year’s winners because each one is a superstar catcher,” said Johnny Bench. “We are proud to honor these athletes based on their overall school careers despite not being able to finish the season this year. We wish them the best of luck on the next steps of their athletic and academic careers.”

 

Top male NCAA baseball catcher

• Patrick Bailey – North Carolina State University (drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft)

 

Top female NCAA softball catcher

• Morganne Flores – University of Washington

 

Top catchers from Ohio

•  Mason Sawyer – Bishop Hartley High School (baseball)

•  Zoie Smith – Pickerington Central High School (softball)

 

Top catchers from Kentucky

• Grant Knipp – Louisville Male High School (baseball)

• Taylor Jackson – Oldham County High School (softball)

 

Top catchers from Indiana

• Dalton Back – Columbus East High School (baseball)

• Taryn Weddle – Floyd Central High School (softball)

 

Top catchers from West Virginia

• Eli Kirkendoll – Lincoln County High School (baseball)

• Jess Canterbury – Herbert Hoover High School (softball)

 

The ten winners will be honored on June 24 during a Zoom call hosted by Johnny and Reds/FOX Sports Ohio broadcaster Jim Day.

 

Previous collegiate winners include National League MVP and World Series champion Buster Posey of the Giants and established big leaguers such as Kelly Shoppach, Ryan Garko and Kurt Suzuki.

The Johnny Bench Award is presented annually to college baseball’s top catcher. The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission created the award in 2000 and dedicated it to Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench. In 2019, the Cincinnati Reds and Johnny Bench, along with the Reds Community Fund, expanded the awards to include high school catchers. The awards were permanently relocated to the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum at Great American Ball Park. The awards committee determined the winners with support from local media and organizations in each state including West Virginia Prep Baseball Report, USA Baseball, USA Softball, the Cincinnati Enquirer and Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association. The Reds Scouting Department provided additional input for the baseball categories.