The Johnny Bench Award, given to the top college catcher in Division I, has announced its “Watch List.” A total of 97 players have been nominated by their coaches, and, as usual, ATVL is there to cull through the list and let you know, Dear Reader, which have played in the Valley League. Semifinalists will be announced on May 15th, finalists June 4th, and the winner on June 28th (when we’re in season, so it might fall off my radar, honestly).

So, as you can tell from the title, ten former VBLers have been nominated by their coaches. Shall we take a look? (Alphabetical order, and stats are through Tuesday, March 13)

  • Mike Alescio, Seton Hall (Covington 2105): 267/345/289 in 45 AB, 10 runs, 7 RBIs
  • Chris Bec, Maine (Front Royal 2016): 188/310/208 in 48 AB, 9/9 BB/K
  • Austin Hale, Stetson (Waynesboro 2015): 297/469/432 in 37 AB, 9 RBIs, 2 2B, HR, 9/8 BB/K
  • Spencer Holcomb, Western Carolina (Woodstock 2015): 262/326/500 in 42 AB, 4 2B, 2 HR
  • Eric Jones, Davidson (Charlottesville 2017): 333/478/647 in 51 AB, 13 runs, 22 RBIs, 4 2B, 4 HR, 13/4 BB/K
  • Peyton Maddox, VMI (Charles Town 2015, Staunton 2016): 389/460/556 in 54 AB, 12 runs, 14 RBIs, 6 2B, HR
  • Philip Madonna, Siena (Strasburg 2017): 324/342/378 in 37 AB, 2 2B
  • TJ Marik, Northern Kentucky (Waynesboro 2015): 139/225/250 in 36 AB, 2B, HR
  • Fabian Pena, Manhattan (Covington 2016): 277/375/553 in 47 AB, 11 runs, 13 RBIs, 4 2B, 3 HR (and an amazing beard!)
  • Chase Smartt, Troy (Harrisonburg 2017): 231/310/269 in 26 AB, 2B