SHADY SPRING, WV (WVNS)– One Raleigh County graduate is named a top 10 winner of the Johnny Bench Award. The Johnny Bench Award is given to the top 10 baseball and softball catchers throughout West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.
Parker Redden graduated from Shady Spring High School earlier this year and was a catcher on the baseball team. Now, he is getting a taste of the college game with the Burlington Sock Puppets of the Appalachian League. He is one of the youngest players.
“It is pretty cool to see all of the texts and calls that I go that all day that day congratulating me. And it was just cool to see the community backing me up like that,” Redden said.
Redden recently won the Johnny Bench Award. The award was originally for college baseball’s top NCAA Division I catchers, but Redden said in 2019, the award was switched to honor high school athletes.
The namesake of the award is a Hall of Fame catcher and two-time National League Most Valuable Player who played his entire career with the Cincinnati Reds. Redden walked us through the day he received the award.
“We walk in and we are sitting by the Johnny Bench statue taking pictures and Johnny Bench just comes up and gets in our picture with us and it was just crazy. And we walk in there and George Foster was there too and it was just crazy,” Redden continued.
Redden said he never thought he would receive an award like this and he is thankful he can represent the Tigers and the state of West Virginia. He said he could not do this without the support of his friends, family, coaches, and the community.
“It really helped me because it gave me a lot of confidence in myself because that was one of the biggest things that I have struggled with at times not having as much confidence in myself as much as I should of. But it gave me the confidence to really go out there and know that I can hold my own and do what I love every day, Redden said.
Redden told 59News his next steps involve packing up and heading to Delaware where he will attend the University of Delaware to further his baseball career.