College Pod: Army's Jim Foster
This week on the Baseball America college podcast, Army coach Jim Foster joins Teddy Cahill to talk about the Black Knights’ impressive 2018 season and to look ahead to 2019.
Army last season went 37-24 and won the Patriot League Tournament to advance to regionals in Fosters’ second year at the program’s helm. Army upset host North Carolina State in the opening game of the Raleigh Regional, marking their fourth ever NCAA Tournament victory.
Foster said Army’s postseason run came together quicker than he anticipated.
“It was a little ahead of schedule last year,” he said. “The pitchers really threw the ball well. Coach (Jamie) Pinzino came in and did a great job with the pitchers. Coach (John) Murphy came in from Boston College, he was with me over there, and did a great job with the hitters. We ran the bases and played defense and really did whatever we could to score runs. We weren’t a really strong offensive team, but we pitched and played defense.
“More than anything else, the guys hung together, they were tight. They played hard and did everything we asked them to.”
The Army-Navy rivalry is one of college sports’ best and last season they squared off on the diamond at Camden Yards and Fenway Park. Foster said it was a great experience for the players to have.
“Playing Navy, beating Navy at Camden Yards is something they’ll never forget,” Foster said. “Playing at Fenway, they beat us at Fenway, but it was just a tremendous couple days to be able to do that at Fenway Park is something you’ll never forget and something you’re able to do as a part of a military academy – at some other schools you wouldn’t be able to do that. You just feel very fortunate to be able to do that.”
Foster said he hopes to be able to continue to schedule games that give his players experiences like they got last year, and some interesting options have been discussed, including the Rockies offering to host a game between Army and Air Force and various other potential sites for the Army-Navy games.
“I like doing stuff like that,” Foster said. “I think that’s great for the community and think it would be a lot of fun. Nothing’s set in stone yet.
“There’s always talk about those opportunities but sometimes it goes above me, and you’ve got to see who is on board and who can get it done. I hope we can. They’re a lot of fun.”
On the field in 2019, Army will again be built around its strong pitching staff, which last year set a program record for strikeouts. But Foster is optimistic that the Black Knights will take a step forward offensively with junior outfielder Jacob Hurtubise leading the way.
“He makes us go,” Foster said. “He’s really a pain in the butt for the other team. He gets on base, steals bases, he can play center field anywhere. This kid can play, he can go get it. I think he’s a key guy for us.”