Honoring top high school and college baseball and softball catchers

CINCINNATI (June 6, 2019) — Ten winners of the 2019 Johnny Bench Awards, presented by Krylon, have been announced and will be honored on June 18 at Great American Ball Park with an awards luncheon and pregame ceremony.

The Johnny Bench Awards honor the top NCAA Division I male and female college catchers. And, in 2019 for the first time, includes the top high school baseball and softball catchers from Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia.

“The talent among the catchers at the collegiate level is incredible,” said Johnny Bench. “Both Adley Rutschman and Dejah Mulipola earned their selection based on their outstanding performances and exemplary character.”

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.

“Delving into the talent pool of high school catchers within Reds Country has been fun. These winners have the honor of being the first from their state to win the Johnny Bench Award, and have set the bar high for those aspiring to win in subsequent years,” said Bench about the addition of the high school catchers to the awards program.

The ten winners will be honored June 18 on the field during pregame ceremonies before the Reds vs. Houston Astros game at 7:10 p.m.

Fans can attend the Johnny Bench Awards Luncheon on June 18 at Great American Ball Park, featuring Johnny Bench and the award winners.

  • Tuesday, June 18 at Noon in the FOX Sports Club at GABP
  • $125 per person
  • Tickets at reds.com/BenchAwards



with Johnny Bench and award winners

Registration is available for a baseball and softball catching clinic for kids at the P&G MLB Cincinnati Reds Youth Academy. Features catching instruction from Johnny Bench and award recipients.

  • Tuesday, June 18 from 2-4 p.m. at the P&G MLB Cincinnati Reds Youth Academy
  • $50 per child (ages 8-16)
  • Tickets at reds.com/BenchAwards

2019 recipients of the Johnny Bench Awards presented by Krylon

Top male NCAA baseball catcher

  • Adley Rutschman, Oregon State University

Top female NCAA softball catcher

  • Dejah Mulipola, University of Arizona

Top catchers from Ohio

  • Joe Powell, Mason High School (baseball)
  • Samantha Hackenbracht, Massillon Washington High School (softball)

Top catchers from Kentucky

  • Colin Burgess, Tates Creek High School (baseball)
  • Riley Hull, Pulaski County High School (softball)

Top catchers from Indiana

  • Nate Webb, Union County High School (baseball)
  • Grace Lorsung, Cathedral High School (softball)

Top catchers from West Virginia

  • Caleb Taylor, Morgantown High School (baseball)
  • Sofia Mikula, Weir High School (softball)

For the past 19 years, the Johnny Bench Award has been 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 the Hall of Famer and Cincinnati Reds legend.


Starting in 2019, the Cincinnati Reds and Johnny Bench, along with the Reds Community Fund, expanded the awards to include high school catchers. The awards will be 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.