June 3, 2003
Wichita, Kansas – The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced today the finalists for the 4th Annual Johnny Bench Award. This award is presented by Johnny Bench annually at the Greater Wichita Sports Banquet to the nation’s top collegiate catcher, as voted on by a panel of sportswriters, sportscasters, Division I coaches and scouts.
The Johnny Bench Award finalists are (in alphabetical order):
Ryan Garko, Stanford, Senior
Colt Morton, North Carolina State, Junior
Tony Richie, Florida State, Junior
Garko, Pac-10’s Co-Player of the Year, is currently batting .418 with 18 home runs on the season. He has a 99.5% fielding average and has caught 35% of attempted base stealers.
Morton, drafted in the third round by and is batting .267 with 19 home runs. He owns a 99.1% fielding average and has nabbed 33% of attempted base stealers.
Richie, a two-time All-American at Florida State, is currently batting .363 with 11 home runs and a team-high 75 RBI. He has a 99% fielding average and has thrown out 43% (24-of-55) of attempted base stealers. Richie leads the ACC with seven pick-offs.
“It’s an honor to be named one of the top three catchers catchers in the country along with Ryan Garko and Colt Morton. I’ve played against both of them and they are outstanding baseball players. My coaches and teammates at deserve a lot of the credit for helping me get to where I am in my three years at Florida State.”
All three catchers will participate in NCAA Super Regional action this weekend.
A committee representing national sportswriters, sportscasters and scouts, narrowed the watch list of ten semi-finalists down to the three finalists.
A final vote among the national selection committee will occur during the College World Series. All three finalists will be invited to Wichita for the 6th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 24, 2003 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Wichita. Johnny Bench will present the award to the recipient.