SPORTS HEADLINES

Big things in small package; Boyd’s little catcher packs powerful punch

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, February 15, 2014

Savannah Foster proudly points out that she hit the 5-foot mark last year – but she remains a far-from-intimidating figure.

Until she gets a bat in her hand or you see her behind the plate.

Standing Tall

STANDING TALL – Boyd’s 5-foot catcher Savannah Foster returns to lead the Lady Yellowjackets after two district defensive MVP honors. She was named the Wise County MVP last year after hitting .480 with 24 RBIs. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The backstop enters her junior year as a two-time district defensive player of the year. Last season, after hitting .480 with 24 RBIs and three homers, she also finished with a .990 fielding percentage.

“Just because I’m small doesn’t mean I don’t have big things to offer,” Foster said.

Foster helped the Lady Yellowjackets to a third-place finish in a highly competitive District 9-2A that included region finalist Brock and Ponder, who fell in the area round to eventual state champion Pilot Point.

She expects the Lady Yellowjackets to take a step forward this season.

“We’re adding new players. Our whole defense is select players,” Foster said. “We have a great group of girls. We’re coming together and are on the right track.”

Foster is at the forefront of the pack as a game-changing catcher with her strong arm and quick reflexes. She allowed only four stolen bases last season.

“I’ve had a good run of catchers the last 17 years and she’s as good as the best ones,” said Boyd coach Brandon Hopkins. “She’s got a chance to be the best. She’s got quick feet, reflexes and knows how to call pitches.”

Foster caught nine runners on the bases last season – several on pickoffs. Hopkins has given her the green light to throw at any time.

“It’s nice to have that. When they stray away from the base, she can throw them out,” he said. “I get upset sometimes when she doesn’t throw. I want her taking chances.”

Foster took on the demanding role of playing catcher at the age of 10. At first, she wasn’t sure it was for her.

“My first day after a lesson, I cried because it was so hard,” she recalled. “Now, I can’t see myself at another position. I like it. Becoming a catcher has taught me how to be a leader – and not only in softball.”

She also likes being catcher because it allows her to talk more on the field.

“Catcher is a nice spot for me because I’m normally loud,” Foster said.

On offense, her bat does the talking. Foster bats leadoff for the Lady Yellowjackets. She led Boyd with 15 stolen bases last year along with her .480 average and 20 extra-base hits.

“A lot of teams, she would hit third or fourth,” Hopkins said. “She’s got the best wheels on the team. She gives us the best chance to get across runs early with her speed.”

Foster hit .333 as a freshman and then .480 last year. She expects to hit even better this year after a strong off-season with her club team, the Black Widows out of McKinney. She played more than 80 games this past year between high school and club.

“I swung the bat good all off-season,” she said. “I’ve been tweaking my swing. This year is going to be good.”

As her junior year starts, Foster says it’s hard to believe she only has two high-school seasons left.

“Time goes by really fast,” she said.

She is hoping to get an opportunity to play softball after high school. She is not pressing though.

“I just try to relax and have fun. In softball, you have to have fun,” Foster said. “I love to have fun. I don’t want to be a bore.”

With her exploits on the field, even at only five feet, no one is overlooking her.

What to watch for on the diamond

TOP RETURNING TEAMS

NORTHWEST
Note: Return four starters from last year’s area finalist.

BOYD
Note: Three capable pitchers return along with potent lineup led by Chelsea Arlington and Savannah Foster

DECATUR
Note: Made playoffs last season and return three all-county players

RETURNING ALL-COUNTY PLAYERS

Savannah Foster, junior, Boyd
Note: Two-time defensive MVP earned All-Wise MVP last year, hitting .480

Chelsea Arlington, junior, Boyd
Note: Hurler posted a 16-6 record last year and hit .410 with 31 RBIs and four homers

Britney Howard, junior, Boyd
Note: Led Boyd with a .542 average last year.

Jett Peather, junior, Paradise
Note: She hit .475 with 25 RBIs. She posted .935 fielding percentage

Alex Gabriel, senior, Decatur
Note: Gabriel starts the season injured. She posted a .920 fielding percentage last year.

Diana Garcia, junior, Bridgeport
Note: Garcia hit .464 last year with two homers to earn 9-3A newcomer honor

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