SYCAMORE – Anthony Foulk is back home.
Foulk, a Sycamore graduate and catcher for the DeKalb County Liners, has played for the team since its first year in 2010. No other member on the current Liners roster has returned from previous seasons. Foulk originally played for a team in Georgia, but when he learned about the Liners, he relished the opportunity to play close to home.
“I wanted to experience new things over the summer and [acquire] experience through playing high-quality baseball so I could take it back to school,” Foulk said. “I used to play on this field (at Sycamore Park) in high school, and I could live at home, which is always a plus.”
Of all the benefits gained from playing with the Liners, Foulk – who plays for Division II North Greenville University in Tigerville, S.C., during the school year – said he appreciates most the relationships he’s built and getting acquainted with new players.
“It’s fun getting to know everybody – where they’re from, what school they play for, how they play – and then trying to come together as a team,” Foulk said. “I think that’s the best part.”
Mike Siwiec has coached the team since it began, giving him an opportunity to build a deeper rapport with Foulk because of the rarity of returning players.
“He’s a very hard-nosed player; gives you 100 percent every time out there,” Siwiec said. “He’s just a great guy to have on your team. “
Siwiec said that each year Foulk has grown “leaps and bounds,” adding that Foulk’s savvy allows him to impart wisdom onto younger players.
“It’s invaluable to have his knowledge with freshmen who are coming in this year,” Siwiec said. “Now, basically he’s almost like another coach. For the three years, he knows exactly what’s going on on the field [and] off the field.”
Foulk said he has matured as a catcher since he began with the Liners. He’s become more adept at calling pitches, he said, something he wasn’t used to when he was younger.
Josh Pethoud, the Liners’ general manager, said Foulk may have been
“overshadowed” when he came out of high school, adding that he is a D-I caliber catcher playing at the D-II level. Even with such high praise, Pethoud said he’s seen Foulk improve over time, vouching for his leadership skills behind the plate.
“Anthony’s grown up quite a bit since he’s been out here on a daily basis, having an atmosphere where he can continue to get better work as a catcher,” Pethoud said. “I’ve seen him control pitchers throughout the process.”
Pethoud said that Foulk’s receiving of pitches has improved since 2010, adding that he has excelled with learning new pitchers and how to adapt to their strengths.
“As a catcher, learning new pitchers and being able to work with different pitches is a struggle,” Pethoud said. “He’s gotten to know some of these guys much quicker over the last three years. He was good when he started, but I think he’s exceptional now.”
Southland at Liners, 7:05 p.m. today