Kansas State junior Blair DeBord and Oklahoma State’s Victor Romero are two of 15 players nationally to be named semifinalists for the 2013 Johnny Bench Award, the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission has announced. The award is presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate catcher as voted on by Division I coaches.
DeBord has been the primary backstop for Kansas State this season as he has started 48 games behind the plate, including 40 of the last 41 contests. The Manhattan product holds a .319 batting average with 10 doubles, one triple and 30 RBI, while he is 5-for-5 in stolen-base attempts. In his two-plus year career, DeBord has committed only three errors and holds a .995 fielding percentage. He is the first Wildcat to earn semifinalis status for this award.
Romero has started in 47 of the Cowboys’ contests this season. The senior from Fairfield, Calif., currently holds a .439 slugging percentage and .293 batting average with 46 hits, 11 doubles, four home runs and 26 RBI. He has a .992 fielding percentage with just three errors.
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. 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 15th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 27, 2013.