CHUNG JOINS NATION'S ELITE AS JOHNNY BENCH AWARD SEMIFINALIST
WICHITA , Kan. - Senior Derrick Chung has been named one of 12 semifinalists for the Johnny Bench Award for the nation's top catcher, the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced on Wednesday.
The Johnny Bench Award is annually presented to the nation's best catcher.
The award, named for Major League Baseball Hall of Fame catcher, Johnny Bench, is awarded annually to the top catcher in the NCAA.
Bench, a 14-time MLB all-star selection and a two-time National League MVP, was a key member of the Cincinnati Reds' "Big Red Machine", which won six division titles, four National League pennants, and two World Series championships.
To be eligible for the award a candidate has to play at least 75% of their team's games at catcher.
Chung is certainly deserving of the honor. The Cypress, Calif., native is second on the team and third in the Western Athletic Conference with a career-best .363 batting average. Chung also has 39 runs scored, 13 doubles, two triples, two home runs and 27 RBIs. He sports a .477 slugging percentage and .424 on-base percentage. He has taken 18 walks while striking out just 17 times in 199 at-bats this year. Chung has also thrown out 15 base stealers while recording seven pickoffs.
Chung is only in his second season behind the plate. He was recruited as a middle infielder and made 56 starts at shortstop over his first two seasons. He made 16 more starts at short before going down with a season-ending injury in his junior season, for which he earned a medical hardship. The following season, due to the Hornets' lack of depth at the position, Chung was converted to catcher. His athleticism helped him shine behind the plate and he has made 84 starts at catcher over the last two years.
Award ballots will be sent to a national voting panel at the end of May for a vote to determine three finalists, which will be announced on June 4, 2012. A final vote among the national committee will occur during the NCAA College World Series and all finalists will be brought to Wichita, where the winner will be announced at the 15th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 28, 2012.
The Johnny Bench Award is presented by BaseballSavings.com.
2012 JOHNNY BENCH AWARD SEMIFINALISTS
Derrick Chung - Sacramento State
Zachary Fisher - New Mexico State
Tucker Frawley - Coastal Carolina
Mitchell Garver - New Mexico
Tyler Heineman - UCLA
Joe Hudson - Notre Dame
Jeremy Lucas - Indiana State
Josh Ludy - Baylor
Jeff Melillo - Rutgers
Kevin Plawecki - Purdue
Jeremy Schaffer - Tulane
Mike Zunino - Florida
PREVIOUS JOHNNY BENCH AWARD WINNERS
2011 Jake Lowery - James Madison University
2010 Bryan Holaday - Texas Christian University
2009 J.T. Wise - University of Oklahoma
2008 Buster Posey - Florida State University
2007 Edward Easley - Mississippi State University
2006 Jake Smith - East Carolina University
2005 Jeff Clement - University of Southern California
2004 Kurt Suzuki - Cal State Fullerton
2003 Ryan Garko - Stanford University
2002 Jeremy Brown - University of Alabama
2001 Kelly Shoppach - Baylor University
2000 Brad Cresse - Louisiana State University