Following a stellar sophomore season and a strong start to the 2010 campaign, University of Tennessee junior catcher Blake Forsythe has been named to the Watch List for the 2010 Coleman Company Johnny Bench Award delivered by Papa John's Pizza, the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced Monday.
Fifty-three catchers were nominated for the award by their coaches. Because the award is given annually to the top division one catcher, the list will be updated to include other candidates until May 5, 2010.
Forsythe has been the most productive offensive player for Tennessee this season, having already knocked in a team-high 10 runs. He is currently hitting .250 with one home run, a grand slam against Oregon State on Feb. 27, two doubles and four walks.
A Memphis native, Forsythe earned first-team All-SEC laurels from the league's coaches in 2009. The 6-2 catcher finished a summer-long stint with the USA Collegiate Baseball National Team last year, where he hit at a .293 clip with a pair of home runs and nine RBIs. He also walked 21 times in as many games, en route to an impressive .500 on-base percentage.
After only seeing action in 22 games as a freshman, Forsythe started 53 of 55 games behind the plate for Tennessee in 2009, turning in career numbers. He hit .347 with 68 hits, 15 home runs and 46 RBIs in addition to leading the team with 40 walks and a .486 on-base percentage and collecting 19 multi-hit games and 13 multi-RBI games. He also finished the season on an 11-game hitting streak during which he went 19-for-40 (.475) with 10 RBIs, four doubles, three home runs and nine walks.
Mr. Bench presented the 2009 award to University of Oklahoma catcher, J.T. Wise. Chris Henderson of George Mason University and Tony Sanchez of Boston College were also finalists. Eleven former Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award finalists are currently playing in Major League Baseball.
2010 Johnny Bench Award Important Dates
• May 5 - Last Day to Add Catchers
• May 19 - Semifinalists Announced
• June 2 - Finalists Announced
• July 1 - Award Presentation in Wichita, KS
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