Cincinnati Reds News: 2021 Johnny Bench Awards winners announced

July 1st, 2021

Ten winners of the 2021 Johnny Bench Awards presented by MSA Sport have been announced, which honor the top NCAA Division I male and female college catchers along with the top high school baseball and softball catchers from Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia.

The 10 winners will be honored on Tuesday, July 20 at the Johnny Bench Awards Luncheon at Great American Ball Park and recognized that evening during pregame ceremonies before the Reds vs. New York Mets game, 7:10 p.m.

“Congratulations to the 2021 class of the Johnny Bench Awards,” said Hall of Famer Johnny Bench. “This special group of athletes persevered through the challenge of a canceled 2020 season and other adversities, continuing to work on their craft and succeed at a high level. We look forward to their future success wherever their career may take them next.”

2021 Johnny Bench Awards Winners

Top male NCAA baseball catcher
• Matheu Nelson – Florida State University

Top female NCAA softball catcher
• Kayla Kowalik – University of Kentucky

Top high school catchers from Ohio
• Madison Jellison – Watkins Memorial High School (softball)
• Trey Pancake III – South Range High School (baseball)

Top high school catchers from Kentucky
• Sydney Melton – Lyon County High School (softball)
• Matt Klein – Trinity High School (baseball)

Top high school catchers from Indiana
• Sarah Stone – Bedford North Lawrence High School (softball)
• Austin Bode – Columbus North High School (baseball)

Top high school catchers from West Virginia
• Emily Faith Allen – Parkersburg High School (softball)
• Parker Redden – Shady Spring High School (baseball)

Fans can attend the Johnny Bench Awards Luncheon on July 20 at Great American Ball Park, featuring Johnny Bench, special guests, and the award winners. Ticket information is available at

Previous collegiate winners include 2012 National League MVP Buster Posey, 2019 World Series Champion Kurt Suzuki and 2021 Team USA Olympian Dejah Mulipola. The full list of previous winners can be found at

About the Johnny Bench Awards

The Cincinnati Reds and Hall of Famer Johnny Bench, along with the Reds Community Fund, expanded the awards program in 2019 to include softball athletes as well as high school catchers from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia. An awards committee determines the finalists with support from local media, coaches associations and scouting organizations in each state. The winners are then hand-picked by Johnny for their representation of catching excellence on both sides of the plate and brought together to celebrate their achievements and meet “Baseball’s Greatest Catcher” at an awards banquet. The awards are permanently located at the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum presented by Dinsmore at Great American Ball Park.