Baylor's Kelly Shoppach Edges Out Casey Myers For 2001 Johnny Bench Award

June 19, 2001

WICHITA, Kan. -- Baylor's Kelly Shoppach, a second-round pick by the Boston Red Sox in the June MLB amateur draft, was chosen as the 2001 Johnny Bench National Catcher of the Year award winner Tuesday night in Wichita, Kansas. Shoppach, who was nearly a unanimous first-team All-America selection, edged out Arizona State catcher Casey Myers and Alabama's Jeremy Brown for the prestigious award that honors the top collegiate catcher in the nation.

Shoppach, a second-round pick by the Boston Red Sox in the June MLB amateur draft was nearly a unanimous first-team All-America selection. He is the winner of the annual award that is currently in its second year. Former LSU star and current Arizona Diamondback farmhand Brad Cresse was the 2000 inaugural award winner after belting 30 home runs and leading LSU to the national championship. Shoppach, a junior from Fort Worth, Texas, led the Baylor in hitting with a .397 average. Behind the plate, the Big 12 Player of the Year recorded a .998 fielding percentage and committed just one error in 406 chances.

Myers was also a finalist for the award last year and skipped his professional debut with the Vancouver Canadians (Single-A, Oakland) to attend the festivities Tuesday night in Wichita. The senior All-American backstop led ASU and finished in the top five in the conference in hitting at .395. He added 69 RBI, 17 doubles and a team-leading seven home runs to his impressive 2001 totals. He became only the third Pac-10 player in history to repeat as a Pac-10 Player of the Year and has now earned All-America status in three of his four years in the Maroon and Gold.

For his career, Myers finished tied for seventh in school history with a .384 batting average and ended his illustrious career only eight RBI short of matching the school and Pac-10 record for career RBI (275). He became only the third player in ASU history to surpass the 300 hit plateau in a career and finished his career tied for sixth with 39 home runs.

Myers will continue his baseball career at the professional ranks after being selected in the ninth round of the MLB draft by the Oakland Athletics, becoming the third member of the Myers family to play professional baseball. He will join his brother Corey, who is currently playing at the Single-A level for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and his father Clint, who after starring at Arizona State in the early 1970's, played in the minor leagues.

Over 450 people attended the banquet, which recognizes the achievements anddedication of local youth, high school, college and professional athletesand coaches within the Wichita community.

Upon being named the 2001 Johnny Bench National Collegiate Catcher of theYear, Shoppach said, 'Wow. I am completely humbled and speechless. I washonored to be named a finalist with Casey and Jeremy, to receive the awardis truly a humbling experience.'

The three finalists spent their morning working a youth clinic designedspecifically for catchers. During the afternoon they visited the pediatricward of Via Christi St. Francis in Wichita.

'The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission would like to congratulate allof the award finalists and especially Kelly Shoppach, the Johnny BenchNational Collegiate Catcher of the Year,' stated Bob Hanson, President &CEO. 'They represent their teams and universities in a remarkable manner.'

'We are very appreciative of the time and energy Johnny Bench hasdemonstrated in making this award a huge success. He has set a high standardfor these young men to strive toward,' said Hanson.

--Sun Devil Baseball--

Copy By Jeff R. Evans
ASU Media Relations

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