CLIFTON, OH (FOX19) - University of Cincinnati senior catcher Woody Wallace was selected to be the bullpen catcher for the American League at next week's Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park.
Wallace will be representing the Bearcats on the big stage for the game and several other All-Star Game festivities on Monday and Tuesday.
"This is going to be an awesome experience for Woody and I'm excited for him to have this opportunity," said UC head coach Ty Neal. "It is another neat experience our student athletes have access to while attending the University of Cincinnati."
Wallace, from Olentangy High School in Lewis Center, Ohio, was named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List for the nation's best backstop. The catcher had a .269 batting average, with 15 RBIs and caught 22 runners stealing in 50 games his junior season with the Bearcats.
The opportunity to catch MLB's Midsummer Classic came as a shock to Wallace.
"I was just hanging out at my house one night when my head coach shot me a text asking 'how would you like to bullpen catch for the All-Star Game' and I though he was kidding," Wallace said of the invite. "When I found out he was serious I said 'Yeah, of course' this is a once in a lifetime opportunity."
The powers at be needed a bullpen catcher. They reached out to head coach Neal who knew just the player to call. The kid from Lewis Center who grew up a Reds fan.
"To be able to go into this All-Star Game and catch some of the best arms in baseball is definitely an honor," said Wallace. "This won't be taken for granted and I couldn't be more excited."
MLB is providing Wallace with two tickets to the All-Star Game so his parents can attend. This will not be the first time Wallace will take the field at Great American Ball Park. In his Freshman season, Wallace caught in the Collegiate Invitational hosted by the Reds.
Initially, Wallace was scheduled to catch for the National League. The possibility of catching Aroldis Chapman and his record-breaking fastball immediately crossed his mind. That opportunity may not present itself over this next week, but meeting another Red is on his bucket list.
"Todd Frazier, Flava Fraze baby," Wallace answered when asked who the one player is he would want to meet. "He's making a big name for himself and he's one of the Reds stars. I would like to shake his hand and get to know the guy that is leading the Reds right now."
The senior said he will not stop playing baseball until forced, but is currently working on a degree in accounting and a minor in sports administration. Whenever the baseball ride is over for Wallace he will attempt to stay in sports, just on the business side.