Wichita, Kansas (May 2, 2018) – Mount St. Mary's University junior catcher Zack Costello has been added to the 2018 Johnny Bench Award Watch List, as announced by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission.
The award, which is given annually to the nation's top NCAA Division I catcher, features 124 backstops and will be updated to include other candidates until May 16, 2018. Costello is one of five Northeast Conference (NEC) catchers to make the list, joining his teammate Sean Kelly, Cody Doyle from Sacred Heart, Phil Capra from Wagner, and Nick Garland of Central Connecticut State.
Costello has made 25 starts and appeared in 33 games for the Mount on the year. Costello leads the team in on-base percentage (.430) this season, and is hitting .278 with 22 hits, 17 walks, 11 runs, seven RBI, and six doubles. Behind the plate, Costello leads the team with 17 runners caught stealing and owns a .963 fielding percentage.
This year, 124 catchers were nominated for the award by their schools. The watch list will be narrowed down to the semifinalists, whom will be announced May 16, 2018. Ballots will be sent to the national voting panel at the end of May for a vote to determine the three finalists. The finalists will be announced June 4, 2018. A final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series. All finalists will be brought to Wichita and the winner will be announced at the 21st Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 28, 2018.
Bench's career honors include: National League Rookie of the Year (1968); National League Most Valuable Player (1970, 1972); World Series Most Valuable Player (1976); 14-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winner. In 1980, he set an endurance record by catching 100+ games for 13 consecutive seasons. Bench was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in January 1989 with the fourth highest percentage of total votes cast.