WICHITA, Kansas — The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commissioned named Arkansas sophomore catcher Grant Koch as one of 15 semifinalists for the 2017 Johnny Bench Award.
Koch is the only player from the Southeastern Conference to make the list for an award that honors the nation’s best catcher. This is also the second time in the last week that a Razorback has been named a semifinalist for a national award as sophomore shortstop Jax Biggers was named as such for the 2017 Brooks Wallace Award.
Finalist will be announced June 5 after a ballots will be sent to the national voting panel at the end of May to determine the three finalists. A final vote among the national committee will take place during the College World Series. All finalist will be brought to Wichita and the winner will be announced at the 20th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 29. The full list of semifinalists can be found here.
Koch took over as the primary catcher in 2017 and has started in 46 of the Razorbacks’ 50 games this season with a .296 batting average and a team-high 13 home runs. Koch’s home runs are tied for fourth in the SEC and it is the most by a Hogs catcher in the last 15 season. It is also the second-most homers by an Arkansas player in the past seven seasons.
The Fayetteville High School product is also one of three Hogs with 40 or more RBI on the season. Koch has four home runs in his last seven games going back to April 27-28 during the Ole Miss series and is batting .320 during that time with seven RBI.
From behind the plate, Koch has thrown out 12-of-32 would-be base stealers with six of those coming in SEC play. His overall total is fourth-highest in the league with the third-best percentage among all-league catchers.
Koch will lead the Razorbacks into College Station Thursday evening for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch against the No. 22 Texas A&M Aggies from Blue Bell Park. The action will be heard on Fox Sports Radio 1400.