Foster blasting Belhaven to 1st World Series
JACKSON — Trailing 3-2 in the sixth inning of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Baseball Championship Opening Round tournament championship game with a World Series berth on the line, Belhaven coach Hill Denson had exactly who he wanted at the plate — Timmy Foster.
And the slugging first baseman came through, pounding a two-run home run deep over the center field fence that gave the Blazers a 4-3 lead which proved to be the winning margin over Texas Wesleyan.
The win propelled the Blazers to their first ever NAIA World Series appearance.
“There’s no question about it, Timmy was the guy we wanted up there,” Denson said. “We were really struggling that night scoring runs. Timmy had two strikes on him and he got a hold of one. He hit it just to the left of the 401-foot mark (in center field) and over a 16-foot wall. So I’d say he hit it pretty good.”
And it is one that Foster, nor any Belhaven baseball fan, will ever forget.
“That’s one of the biggest hits of my life,” Foster said. “It’s an experience in itself to say I’m one of the first people who has ever been to the World Series with the Belhaven team. I’ll always remember that.”
Belhaven (43-15), the No. 8 seed in the 10-team tournament, will face Point Loma Nazarene University at 2 p.m. Friday in Lewiston, Idaho, in the first game of the World Series.
The championship-winning home run was the latest big hit for Foster, a 2006 Adams County Christian graduate, who leads the team with 74 RBIs and leads the NAIA with 30 doubles to go along with 10 home runs.
“He is the RBI guy, the guy we call on,” Denson said. “He’s our man, so to speak. Timmy is a great guy and person to begin with, and the fact that he can do what he does with the bat makes it even better. He’s just that guy.”
Foster spent two seasons at Copiah-Lincoln Community College before spending his final two seasons with the Blazers, and said even though it is a step below the NCAA, the NAIA is full of baseball talent.
“I believe that everybody thinks Division I or the SEC is the most competitive baseball,” Foster said. “And in certain aspects it is. But there are just as good of baseball players in NAIA. It’s the same game, just different players playing it.”
Foster got off to a slow start this season, but has steadily improved as the year has progressed, and has now found his stroke at just the right time.
“My goal at the beginning of the season was to finish up strong and make sure I help my team out,” Foster said. “I didn’t start out very strong, so I had to make up for that.”
And Denson said Foster has done that and more.
“He had a slow start but he’s been climbing all the way,” Denson said. “He’s up over .400 (batting average) now. In all my years of coaching, over 42 years, I haven’t had but a handful of guys hit over .400 and Timmy is one of them.”
Foster said he has relied on the support he has gotten from friends and family back in Natchez, including his former high school coach, Gill Morris.
“Coach Morris came up to watch me in the (regional) tournament, and that meant a lot,” Foster said. “He’s a Belhaven alumnus too and to hear him say that he’s proud of me and glad I came to Belhaven means a lot to me.”
Foster, the son of Tim and Angie Foster, said his family is always keeping up with his games, either in person or listening on the Internet.
“It helps a lot knowing I’ve got great fans back home,” Foster said. “Especially my family, doing everything they can to watch me play. They have always been very supportive and that means a lot.”