Tucker named to prestigious Johnny Bench Award watch list

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WICHITA, Kan. – Nicholls State University baseball senior Alex Tucker remained on the most recent Johnny Bench Award watch list, which was released April 21 by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission. The award is given annually to the top catcher in Division I baseball.

“Alex is a true fifth-year senior leader. I think defensively he’s as good as it gets,” said head coach Seth Thibodeaux. “This is not shocking to me. The way he works and the type of leader he is are the reasons I put him up for this award. I think he should be a finalist. He has to continue to progress and be great back there. In order for him to win, we are going to have to win as a team. He will have to keep throwing guys out, turning balls into strikes and continue being a leader for our pitchers. I said it at the beginning of this season and I’ll say it at the beginning of next season, Alex Tucker is one of the best defensive catchers we’ve ever had.”

Tucker has been a force behind the plate for the Colonels, throwing out 22-of-40 base stealers, tying Grambling’s Johan Mojica and Samford’s Anthony Mulrine for the highest mark in Division I. That statistic includes 9-of-17 attempts in league play. He halted four stolen base attempts in a contest against Tulane earlier this season on March 15.

“It’s an honor. I take a lot of pride in my defense, catching, and working with the pitchers. I think it’s a great honor that I was chosen to be on the watch list,” said Tucker. “Our pitchers do a really good job of holding runners on and [pitching] coach [Zach] Butler does a really good job of picking pitches to pick off and throw on. My middle infield is also really good at handling the throws down. I think all of that combined has helped me throw out more runners.”

The Denham Springs native is batting .284 and ranks second on the squad with 40 hits.

The voting procedure for the award, taken directly from the website, is as follows:

“The watch list will be narrowed down to the semifinalists, whom will be announced May 17, 2017. Ballots will be sent to the national voting panel at the end of May for a vote to determine the three finalists. The finalists will be announced June 5, 2017. A final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series. All finalists will be brought to Wichita and the winner will be announced at the 20th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 29, 2017.”

See Tucker and the Colonels back in action Wednesday at Lee-Hines Field in Baton Rouge as Nicholls faces off with Southern at 6:30 p.m. CT.

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