RICHMOND, Ky. – Eastern Kentucky University senior #Sean Hagen# is on the initial 2014 Johnny Bench Award Watch List, the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced recently. The award is given annually to the top NCAA Division I catcher.
Hagen is one of 72 catchers from across the nation on the list. He is one of only two players from the Ohio Valley Conference to make the initial watch list.
The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission started the Johnny Bench Award in 2000. The criteria for the award include athletic ability, sportsmanship, team leadership and character.
The list will be narrowed down to the semi-finalists on May 15. Ballots will then be sent to the national voting panel to determine the three finalists. The finalists will be announced June 3. A final vote by the national committee will occur during the College World Series with the winner announced on June 26.
Hagen is batting .333 with five home runs, 21 RBIs, 18 runs scored and 10 stolen bases. The Reading, Pa., native also has 12 walks and four doubles. He has a .568 slugging percentage and a .455 on-base percentage.
Hagen ranks second in the OVC in stolen bases, tied for sixth in home runs, eighth in slugging and 10th in on-base percentage.
The senior has had three hits in a game five times this year, including twice this past weekend as the Colonels (11-13, 4-5 OVC) swept Belmont. On March 14, Hagen went 3-for-3 with two home runs, two runs scored and three RBIs against Southeast Missouri.
While Johnny Bench is remembered for his offense, he may have had the greatest impact behind the plate. He was the first receiver to use a protective helmet in the field, popularized catching one-handed and kept his throwing hand behind his back to protect it from foul tips.