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Presented by MSA Sport Tuesday, July 20, 2021

For two decades, the Johnny Bench Award was presented to college baseball’s top NCAA Division I catcher. The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission created the award in 2000 and dedicated it to Hall of Fame and Reds Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench.

In 2019, the award was expanded and permanently relocated to the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Reds Scouting Department provides input on the baseball categories. The awards committee determines each winner with support from local media from each state.

The Bench Awards will honor:

  • Top male NCAA baseball catcher
  • Top female NCAA softball catcher
  • Top baseball and softball catchers from Ohio high schools
  • Top baseball and softball catchers from Kentucky high schools
  • Top baseball and softball catchers from Indiana high schools
  • Top baseball and softball catchers from West Virginia high schools

All 10 winners will be invited to Cincinnati on Tuesday, July 20 for an awards luncheon, presented by MSA Sport, at Great American Ball Park followed by a pregame ceremony prior to the Reds vs. New York Mets game at 7:10 p.m.

2021 RECAP

The 2021 Johnny Bench Awards Luncheon took place on Tuesday, July 20 at Great American Ball Park in the Bally Sports Club. Recipients were honored by the Hall of Fame catcher himself as part of the festivities. Click below to read more about this year’s event.


2021 DRAFT NOTE: Matheu Nelson was selected by the Cincinnati Reds with the No. 35 overall pick.

2021 Winners School Sport
Matheu Nelson Florida State University Baseball
Kayla Kowalik University of Kentucky Softball
Trey Pancake III South Range High School (OH) Baseball
Madison Jellison Watkins Memorial High School(OH) Softball
Matt Klein Trinity High School (KY) Baseball
Sydney Melton Lyon County High School (KY) Softball
Austin Bode Columbus North High School (IN) Baseball
Sarah Stone Bedford North Lawrence High School (IN) Softball
Parker Redden Shady Spring High School (WV) Baseball
Emily Faith Allen Parkersburg High School (WV) Softball


2020 DRAFT NOTE: Patrick Bailey was selected by the San Francisco Giants with the No. 13 overall pick in the first round.

2020 Winners School Sport
Patrick Bailey NC State University Baseball
Morganne Flores University of Washington Softball
Mason Sawyer Bishop Hartley High School (OH) Baseball
Zoie Smith Pickerington High School Central (OH) Softball
Grant Knipp Louisville Male High School (KY) Baseball
Taylor Jackson Oldham County High School (KY) Softball
Dalton Back Columbus East High School (IN) Baseball
Taryn Weddle Floyd Central High School (IN) Softball
Eli Kirkendoll Lincoln County High School (WV) Baseball
Jess Canterbury Herbert Hoover High School (WV) Softball

2019 DRAFT NOTE: Adley Rutschman was selected by the Baltimore Orioles with the No. 1 overall pick in the first round.

2019 Winners School Sport
Adley Rutschman Oregon State University Baseball
Dejah Mulipola University of Arizona Softball
Joe Powell Mason High School (OH) Baseball
Samantha Hackenbracht Massillion Washington High School (OH) Softball
Colin Burgess Tates Creek High School (KY) Baseball
Riley Hull Pulaski County High School (KY) Softball
Nate Webb Union County High School (IN) Baseball
Grace Lorsung Cathedral High School (IN) Softball
Caleb Taylor Morgantown High School (WV) Baseball
Sofia Mikula Weir High School (WV) Softball
Year Name College Drafted By
2018 Joey Bart Georgia Institute of Technology San Francisco Giants
2017 Matt Whatley Oral Roberts University Texas Rangers
2016 Zack Collins University of Miami Chicago White Sox
2015 Garrett Stubbs University of Sothern California Houston Astros
2014 Max Pentecost Kennesaw State University Toronto Blue Jays
2013 Stuart Turner University of Mississippi Minnesota Twins
2012 Mike Zunino University of Florida Seattle Mariners
2011 Jake Lowery James Madison University Cleveland Indians
2010 Bryan Holaday Texas Christian University Detroit Tigers
2009 J.T. Wise University of Oklahoma Los Angeles Dodgers
2008 Buster Posey Florida State University San Francisco Giants
2007 Ed Easley Mississippi State University Arizona Diamondbacks
2006 Jake Smith East Carolina University Oakland Athletics
2005 Jeff Clement University of Southern California Seattle Mariners
2004 Kurt Suzuki Cal State Fullerton Oakland Athletics
2003 Ryan Garko Stanford University Cleveland Indians
2002 Jeremy Brown University of Alabama Oakland Athletics
2001 Kelly Shoppach Baylor University Boston Red Sox
2000 Brad Cresse Louisiana State University Arizona Diamondbacks