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June 3, 2004

Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina senior catcher Landon Powell is one of three finalists for the Johnny Bench Award announced Thursday by the Wichita Area Sports Commission. This award is presented annually at the Greater Wichita Sports Banquet to the nation’s top collegiate catcher, as voted on by a panel of sportswriters, sportscasters, Division I coaches and scouts.

Powell leads USC with a .356 batting average on the year including a SEC-high 19 HR and 64 RBI. Powell also leads the team with a .373 batting average in SEC games with 14 of his 19 HR this year coming vs. SEC opponents. Powell has started and played all 60 games this year and owns a .997 fielding percentage with just two errors behind the plate. The senior from New Hill, N.C. has also been named an All-American by Sports Weekly, second team All-American from Collegiate Baseball, a semifinalist for the Howser Award (top collegiate baseball player) and was named to the Golden Spikes Award Watch List (top amateur baseball player – USA Baseball). Powell is the 2004 University of South Carolina Male Student Athlete of the Year as well as the South Carolina State Male Amateur Athlete of the Year.

Powell is a finalist along with North Carolina catcher Chris Iannetta and Cal State Fullerton catcher Kurt Suzuki.

“I’m dubbing this season as the ‘Year of the Catcher’,” said Tonya Atta, Director of Communications for the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission. “The list was loaded with catchers that have meant so much to their teams. All of them deserve to be recognized for their achievements, and that was clearly evident by the distribution of the votes that were cast.”

A final vote among the national selection committee will occur during the College World Series. All three finalists will be invited to Wichita for the 7th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 30, 2004 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Wichita. Johnny Bench will present the award to the recipient.