By McNeese Sports Assistant Hunter Bower
LAKE CHARLES – Sophomore catcher Cameron Toole was recognized by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission when he was named to the Johnny Bench Award watch list by the organization as it added five more candidates to the list Saturday.
The Johnny Bench Award is presented annually to the nation's top collegiate catcher and is presented by BaseballSavings.com.
Toole becomes just the third catcher from the Southland Conference to join the list. Sam Houston State's Anthony Azar and Stephen F. Austin's Joseph Olson were added earlier this season.
The Orlando, Florida native has seen a dramatic improvement in his offensive performance during his sophomore year. Toole is batting .218 currently on the season that is up from a .127 percentage in 2013 and has recorded two doubles, two home runs and nine RBI for a .321 slugging percentage. That on field production has helped lead McNeese to big wins over NCAA Tournament regulars Southern Miss, Valparaiso and SEC foe Missouri and has also placed the Cowboys in a current tie for first place in the league standings. McNeese has also won four out of their first five conference series.
Defensively, Toole has matched that offensive production with tremendous play each time out. To date, the sophomore has thrown out 17-of-26 base runners on steal attempts. The 17 steals are the least among the other two SLC catchers nominated for the Bench Award. Toole has thrown out a total of 43 runners in his two years at McNeese.