Kaleb Foster showed humility as he accepted congratulations for his recent baseball award as Northern Division I Region Defensive Player of the Year.
The catcher, who just completed his junior year at Douglas High School, was quick to point out he sets high standards for himself.
“It was nice,” he said. “I’m honored the coaches voted for me, but I can always be better.”
Foster deserved the recognition, according to Douglas coach Bruce Jacobsen.
“That was a unanimous vote of all 12 coaches,” Jacobsen said. “His ability to handle pitchers is really big, and coupled with that, he completely shuts down the other teams’ running games. He’s just a special player”
Few opposing base runners tried to steal second base against the Tigers. “Fortunately, we have a good pop to pop time, which gives us a real advantage,” Foster said.
His pop time — gauged from when a pitch hits the catcher’s glove until the throw is caught at second base — has consistently been in the 2.0-second range, according to Douglas assistant coach John Glover. The time puts him in a range college and pro scouts look for and involves more than just having a strong arm.
“That’s pretty impressive for a high school kid,” Glover said. “You need to have good feet, a quick release, a good arm, and he has all three of those.”
What does Foster consider his strength defensively?
“Blocking and framing,” he replied. “Coach (John) Glover and I work on it a lot. Fortunately, all the work has paid off.”
Reed coach John Phenix made a special point to account for Foster before facing Douglas in the first round of the region tournament (a game the Tigers won, 15-3). Then again, Phenix coached Kaleb’s father, Teddy Foster, a three-time all-league selection at Reed in the early 1990s who went on to play for UNLV and at Nevada.
“He’s a fantastic player and just a great kid,” Phenix said of Kaleb. “He plays the game the right way. He put it all on the line all 14 innings when we played that doubleheader (May 3 regular season doubleheader split at Reed).”
Foster slammed two home runs during that doubleheader and homered twice, including a grand slam, in a game against Damonte Ranch. His three-run homer in the seventh inning against North Valleys sparked a come-from-behind win. Despite those highlights, Foster felt he could have been more consistent offensively.
“I could have been better,” he said. “I was thinking too much instead of see-ball, hit ball. When I got out of my head, I started connecting better.”
The 6-foot, 202-pound Foster had success in football last fall as a second-team all-league linebacker. He is expected to contribute as a senior on offense as a running back, according to coach Ernie Monfiletto.
“It’s great to see Kaleb excel in two sports like he does,” said Monfiletto, who handled the Tigers’ baseball scoreboard duties this spring. “He’s always working hard to get better. I’m just excited about the things he’s going to be able to do.”
Foster has his sights set on a big senior year — and beyond.
“I’ve just got to keep moving forward,” he said. “I know I’m not there yet. I’ve just got to keep moving forward.”