May 17, 2013
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State junior Blair DeBord is one of 15 players nationally to be named a semifinalist for the 2013 Johnny Bench Award, the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission has announced. DeBord is the first Wildcat to earn semifinalist status for the award that is given annually to the nation’s top catcher.
One of two Big 12 catchers on the list, DeBord was only the third K-State catcher to be named a candidate for the award when the initial watch list was announced in March.
DeBord has been the primary backstop for Kansas State this season as he has started 48 games behind the plate, including 40 of the last 41 contests. The Manhattan product holds a .319 batting average with 10 doubles, one triple and 30 RBI, while he is 5-for-5 in stolen-base attempts. In his two-plus year career, DeBord has committed only three errors and holds a .995 fielding percentage.
In addition, DeBord has called pitches the entire season, working with a young pitching staff that has compiled a 3.77 ERA, the lowest in school history in the aluminum bat era (1977).
The finalists for the 2013 Johnny Bench Award will be announced on June 4. A final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series. All finalists will travel to Wichita and the winner will be announced at the 16th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 27.
The 18th-ranked Wildcats open a three-game series against No. 19 Oklahoma Friday night with a 6:30 p.m., contest at Tointon Family Stadium. K-State is one win away from clinching its first-ever Big 12 regular-season title and the program’s first conference championship since 1933.
Friday’s game serves as “Mustache Night” as the first 2,000 fans inside the stadium will receive a free stick-on mustache. Fans can purchase tickets online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets or at the Tointon Family Stadium box office beginning one hour prior to first pitch.
The contest can be seen statewide on Kansas 22 and in the Kansas City area on MetroSports. Radio coverage from the K-State Sports Network begins at 6 p.m., while free live audio is available online at www.k-statesports.com.