JUPITER, Fla.—John Foster is making the most of his opportunities.
One of two catchers on the Chain Baseball Columbus travel team roster at USA Baseball’s 17U National Team East championships, the native of LaGrange, Ga., is splitting time behind the plate with Morgan Copeland, one of the best backstops in the class of 2017, and both are getting better for it.
“The good thing about him is his attitude,” assistant coach Jason Sinkfield said of Foster. “They’ve known each other for about three weeks now and they’re great teammates for each other. They help each other out on the catching aspect and the hitting aspect of the game.
“They’re behind each other all the time. Foster knows (Copeland) is a prospect and Copeland knows that (Foster) is a college prospect, a D-I prospect who’s committed already.”
Copeland has been a standout behind the dish for years, chosen as a part of Team USA’s National Team Development Program for the first time as a 13-year-old.
Heading to Auburn next year, the 6-foot, 210-pound Foster—two years older than his Loganville counterpart—just made his commitment to the Tigers and couldn’t be more excited about his decision.
“I did that two Saturdays ago when I went down there,” Foster said. “(Tigers head coach) Sunny Golloway and I got along just fine and I like the catching coach (Ryan Jenkins), so we’re really close. I love the university and I’ve always been an Auburn fan.”
As for the tournament in Jupiter with the elite summer squad from Georgia, Foster is happy to be a part of the roster, no matter where he plays, who’s in front of him, or what his coaches ask him to do. He’s just excited when the squad comes out on top, and he takes genuine pride in his teammates’ successes as much as his own.
“This is great,” he said. “It’s a team effort. The guy behind the plate (on Saturday) was Copeland and he did well and it was good to get the win as a team.”
Shannon Snyder, head coach of Chain Baseball Columbus, has made sure to keep Foster’s bat in the lineup in whatever way he can. The move certainly paid off in that Saturday matchup against the Ostingers Baseball Academy out of Tampa when the 17-year-old had the game-winning hit.
“It felt awesome,” Foster said. “It felt good to get the win as a team. We’ve done pretty well, playing as a team and hopefully we just keep on winning.”
Added Sinkfield: “He always keeps everybody going. Baseball is a short-memory game so this was a team effort all the way around, but we’re going to have some guys step up and other guys not.”
Sinkfield has coached Foster with the program for the last four summers and has never seen anyone make a bigger effort out on the diamond.
“There’s nobody on the field who is going to give more hustle than he does,” the assistant coach said. “One of the best things that he’s got going for him is catcher speed—he can run. He almost dragged them there (on Saturday) and he’s got at least two drag bunts for hits in this tournament. He runs and he plays hard. He always has.”
Foster’s style of play stood out to the Chain Baseball staff right from the moment they met him, but the backstop believes his that the work he’s put in behind the plate has been what’s benefited him most.
“My catching is probably my biggest strength,” Foster said. “I feel like I’m pretty good defensively. My dad and I work on it every night—we work on my throws, blocking, and stuff like that. But I just want to be a good team player. I try and keep the team up.”