Kansas State junior Blair DeBord was one of 48 catchers named to the initial watch list for the 2013 Johnny Bench Award, the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced Tuesday.
DeBord is the third Wildcat in as many years to be up for the award that is given annually to the nation’s top catcher, as Chase Graskewicz made the list in 2011 before Dan Klein was honored in 2012.
DeBord is also one of just three Big 12 catchers on this year’s watch list, joining Kaiana Eldredge of Kansas and Jacob Felts of Texas.
A product of Manhattan, DeBord has tallied 36 career starts at catcher, including 11 this season. DeBord has been perfect on all 295 career fielding chances and thrown out 13 base stealers in his two years behind the plate.
Offensively, DeBord is a career .294 hitter with 23 doubles, one triple, four home runs and 56 RBIs. He has also worked 42 walks and been hit by 25 pitches to register a .400 career on-base percentage. His 25 times being hit by a pitch are tied for sixth in school history, while he needs just four more to tie for third.
The initial watch list for the 2013 Johnny Bench Award will be updated throughout the year until May 6.
The list will be trimmed to a group of semifinalists, which will be announced May 16, while finalists will be announced June 4.
All finalists will travel to Wichita and the winner will be announced at the 15th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 27.
K-State takes on Northern Colorado in a two-game midweek series at Tointon Family Stadium, beginning tonight at 6:30. The series concludes at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
Tonight, fans can purchase two adult general admission bench tickets for the price of one as part of K-State’s 2-for-1 Tuesday promotion, while the first 100 fans will receive a free t-shirt.
Wednesday is K-State Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day as $1 general admission bench tickets are available for K-State faculty and staff with a valid ID.
Both games can be seen on K-StateHD.TV and heard in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN.