USF catcher was destined to wear the “bug suit”

Bulls’ softball catcher returns to action after missing the 2023 season

USF catcher Josie Foreman is embracing a new challenge in her return to the diamond. (Photo by Christian Larsen) 

TAMPA, Fla. – Growing up in the Florida town of West Palm Beach to parents who played softball, Josie Foreman developed a passion for playing the sport.

Particularly, to become a catcher.

Long before her collegiate playing career with the University of South Florida began, Foreman knew she was meant to call games and receive from behind the plate. 

One of the perks that come with playing the position included wearing the protective gear – a facemask, chest protector and leg padding. She called it the “bug suit.”

“I just fell in love with wearing the bug suit. It’s a running joke in my family,” said Foreman, at the USF Softball Stadium.

She experimented with pitching and liked playing the third base position. However, Foreman developed the qualities suited for calling games behind the plate.

“I loved being in charge. I loved to be involved in every play. I loved being the loudest voice out there,” Foreman said. “I just loved being in that role and being the confident one on that team, who can tell everyone what needs to happen.”

Since joining USF softball in 2021, Foreman has been on the receiving end of many milestone games, having called two perfect games and five no-hitters. 

But the “little games” where mistakes are made gave the veteran catcher and the pitching staff a competitive edge.

“While those big games are a huge confidence boost, it’s also the little ones you know you make the mistakes in. Those little games are the reason why we’re so successful in big games.”

In her sophomore year in 2022, she started 50 of 61 games and led the team in home runs, with eight. She also broke the USF Bulls’ single-game putouts record, with 21.

USF catcher Josie Foreman taking practice reps from first base at the USF Softball Stadium on Wednesday afternoon. (Photo by Christian Larsen)

Unfortunately, a significant injury halted her collegiate playing career. A torn labrum and a partial tear of her rotator cuff forced the catcher to miss the entire 2023 season. 

Missing action for a whole year poses numerous challenges for athletes, like Foreman, who routinely compete on a daily basis. But, it frees up time for recovery and self-reflection.

“It makes you see the games from a different perspective,” Foreman said. “I have a lot more appreciation for the game. It’s nice to be back in that team environment and get the full experience with everyone.”

She credited her best friend and teammate Alanah Rivera, who also underwent surgery in the same week, for keeping her mental and physical status in check. Together, the two “were able to push each other and get better.”

Since making her long-awaited return, the senior now finds herself in a crunch for playing time. Despite playing just 12 of 23 games this season, Foreman is proceeding with a positive outlook.

“It is a good self-challenge to find that new role and the things that I can do to be better for my team,” the catcher said. “There have been a lot of self-checks in the past month but definitely going in the right direction.”

The role of catcher carries the most responsibility of any player on the field. The position requires one to communicate with the pitchers on-and-off the field to create a game plan.

“Sometimes we start our discussion the night before. Once we go to warm up in the bullpen, we’re discussing sequences we may go with.”

That key aspect to the Bulls’ game preparation has contributed to the 17-6 record and allowing just 43 earned-runs in the first 23 games this season. Foreman has been pleased with what she has seen from the pitchers and knowing they won’t settle for complacency.

“They know they are good and can continue to be better on a daily basis. It’s really cool to see them putting in that work,” she said.

Foreman’s game-calling prowess and the determination to overcome a significant injury was praised by her coach.

“She’s got a great mind for the game,” said Ken Eriksen, the head coach of the USF softball team and former manager of the U.S. women’s softball national team. “Smart athletes get better faster.” 

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Posted: Mar 7 2024 9:28 am
Filed under: College NCAA Softball Sports