Navy's Foster makes pitch for pro career

Left-hander wants to alter military duty to pursue chance in baseball now

State notebook


April 18, 2003|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Matt Foster had just finished writing the most important letter of his life to the Secretary of the Navy yesterday, and it was time to sit back on the Navy baseball team bus ride to Philadelphia for a game against Temple and ponder his future.

Foster, a suddenly blossoming 6-foot-3, 200-pound senior left-handed pitcher, had proposed in the letter to work many years as a Navy recruiter in exchange for an immediate opportunity to pursue a professional baseball career.

"I tried to point out all the public relations advantages to the Navy to have me out there playing professional baseball," said Foster. "I would accept anything they offer as long as I can take advantage of this window of opportunity."

Foster said he believes "that window will close" if he is away from baseball for even two years on active Navy duty.

"That policy is made for football and basketball," said Foster, referring to two-year opportunities given former Naval Academy All-Americas David Robinson in basketball and Napoleon McCallum in football.

Foster said his stock in this June's major league draft sky-rocketed last summer while pitching for the Arlington (Va.) Senators at the All-American Amateur Baseball Association tournament in Johnstown, Pa.

"I added 2 mph on my fastball while pitching for the Senators," he said. "They changed my technique, having me stay back on my foot more and I was throwing 94."

Now, major league scouts are projecting Foster as a third-round choice at worst in the June draft.

He has struck out 32 batters in 33 1/3 innings for Navy (13-16, 7-5 in Patriot League) this season, walked only eight, has a 3-3 record and a 4.32 ERA.

Those stats pale somewhat compared to last season, when he had a 4-1 record, 2.14 ERA, and 34 strikeouts in 42 innings.

However, the strikeout ratio is up - which the scouts love.

Against Temple yesterday, Foster served in his other capacity: designated hitter. He is third on the team in hitting (.345), second in slugging percentage (.491) and on-base average (.429), and tied for the lead in triples (three).

Morgan's Boone cruises

Morgan State sophomore Sharronda Boone continued her outstanding spring on the track recently at the N.C. State Relays, qualifying for the NCAA Regionals by finishing second in the 100-meter finals (11.71 seconds).

Boone also established 60-meter dash records this season at the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Invitational and the New York Collegiate Track Series (7.62 seconds in both meets). She began the tear by winning the Eastern College Athletic Conference 60-meter dash.

Focus on Notre Dame

The College of Notre Dame will be featured on Fox Sports Net's national broadcast of NCAA On Campus, beginning Sunday in the Baltimore area on Comcast Sportsnet at 2 p.m.

The show will explore life as a student-athlete at the women's college, interviewing athletes, members of the coaching staff, and faculty.

Et cetera

The Frederick Keys will hold Jim Phelan Night on Tuesday at Harry Grove Stadium, with pre-game ceremonies honoring the recently retired Mount St. Mary's basketball coach starting at 6:30 p.m.

Frostburg State sophomore Tracey Little has been named to the All-Atlantic Region second team after leading the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference in scoring (16.9 ppg) and rebounding (10.0 rpg) and being chosen the conference's Player of the Year. Frostburg senior Kim Faust was selected to the All-Atlantic Region third team, averaging 16.8 points and 8.1 rebounds this season. Faust finished as the school's fourth all-time leading scorer (1,624 points) and fifth all-time leading rebounder (888).

Freshman catcher Danyale Goode leads the Mount St. Mary's softball team (8-12-1, 3-3 Northeast Conference) in hitting (.353 average), slugging percentage (.529) and triples (two).

Salisbury University sophomore Brandon Fields set a school record in the discus with a throw of 154 feet, 9 inches last weekend at the University of Delaware Invitational. Fields finished second in the discus, breaking Brad Niper's 1999 mark of 154-2.

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