Eastern Kentucky University catcher Alex Holderbach is one of three finalists from across the nation for the 2018 Johnny Bench Award, the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced on Monday. The award is given annually to the top NCAA Division I catcher.
Holderbach is the first baseball player from the Ohio Valley Conference to be chosen as a finalist for the award. The other two finalists are Joey Bart from Georgia Tech and Reynaldo Pastrana of Marshall.
A final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series. The finalists will be brought to Wichita and the winner will be announced at the 21st Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 28.
Holderbach put together one of the best seasons of anyone in the nation, regardless of position.
The junior hit .352 (81-for-230) with 12 doubles, two triples, 18 home runs, 55 runs scored and 79 RBIs. At the end of the OVC tournament, he led the nation in RBIs, was 11th in total bases (151), 12th in home runs and 28th in slugging (.657).
The Fairfield, Ohio native was the only catcher from the OVC to be chosen as one of 14 semifinalists for the award.
Holderbach was chosen as the college baseball National Player of the Month for April by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA). During the week of April 23, the junior was chosen as the NCBWA National Hitter of the Week, the Perfect Game/Rawlings National Player of the Week, the College Sports Madness National Baseball Field Player of the Week and picked as one of eight National Players of the Week by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
On April 25, Holderbach broke EKU’s single game home run record with four against Xavier. He finished 4-for-4 with a walk, five runs scored and eight RBIs. His four dingers in a game tied the OVC record with four others.
He’s been equally impressive in the classroom. Holderbach was chosen to the 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-District® Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). He carries a 3.89 grade-point-average while majoring in physical education.
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