Summers on the road. Days in the cage. A life on the diamond.
It's all come to fruition for Garrett Foster. The Plainview senior double signed his letter of intent Friday with NAIA powerhouse Oklahoma City University and Seminole State Junior College.
Foster, an All-Ardmoreite Super Team selection as a junior, enters his final season with the Indians as one of the top baseball prospects in the state. The infielder hit .378 with a team-best five home runs and 40 runs batted in while playing sound defense for the 3A state semifinalists.
That was just a fraction of the work done by Foster, who also spent his summer playing more than 80 games for the Burkburnett (Texas) Black Sox baseball program. He also recently played in Perfect Game's WWBA World Games in Jupiter, Fla.
"All the games that I've gotten to play, the repetition, has made every part of my game better," Foster said. "Getting to play 80 games in the summer, the competition I get to play against makes it easier."
Foster received interest from such programs as Dallas Baptist, TCU and Central Oklahoma, among others. He double signed with OCU/Seminole State as a way to keep his options open in the event that his draft stock rises during his freshman season of college.
By signing with OCU/Seminole State, Foster can turn professional after only one year of collegiate baseball. Unlike in JUCO/NAIA programs, Division I signees must complete three seasons of play before again being eligible for the Major League Baseball Draft.
OCU had four players selected in the 2012 MLB Draft, including second-rounder Dane Phillps. The Stars have qualified for the NAIA World Series five seasons in a row, and own the most wins in collegiate baseball (1,118) in the last 20 years.
"This takes the pressure off of having to sign somewhere," Foster said. "Now I can concentrate on winning the state championship this year."
Foster cited his relationship with the coaching staff at Oklahoma City University as a major factor in signing with the Stars. Foster was coached by OCU assistant Terrance Jackson over the summer at Burkburnett, and has attended hitting camps at OCU in the past.
"We've seen him grow up, get after it and mature," said OCU head coach Denny Craybaugh, in his 26nd season at the helm of the Stars. "We think he has a chance to come in as a freshman and contribute heavily, if not compete for a starting spot. We think he can play at our level right off the bat."
Foster said that since the beginning of his career at Plainview, he's seen growth in every aspect of his game. Plainview coach Brent Hackney agreed with Foster, who will finish his high school career as a rare four-year starter for the Indians.
Foster was recruited primarily as a shortstop, and Hackney believes it will be a smooth transition from high school to college.
"He's got the hands to be a great middle infielder, good feet, great arm," Hackney said. "He's got all the tools to go and contribute,"
"He's made a great choice in going to Oklahoma City University. They've got a great baseball program and he's going to fit in well."
Erik K. Horne