MINDEN - Just like Rickey Henderson used to be an explosive leadoff hitter for the Oakland Athletics, Jon Foisy still plays a similar role for the Ridgecrest (Calif.) Desert Dawgs.
Foisy, a center fielder who packs his share of power, belted a leadoff triple to ignite a seven-run first inning that put the Desert Dawgs on track to a 19-8 victory against the Douglas Tigers during U.S. Amateur Baseball Association World Series action Thursday afternoon at Douglas High School.
Joey Tappon also hit a grand-slam home run in the second inning as Ridgecrest improved its tournament record to 2-1 in a game called after five innings due to the tournament's 10-run rule. Even after dropping a 7-0 verdict to the Central Valley All-Stars (Fresno, Calif.) on Wednesday night, the Desert Dogs are locked in a four-way tie for first-place in the Mountain Division along with Triple Play, the Fairfield Yankees and Seattle Bombers.
This is not a new position for the Desert Dawgs, whose nucleus us comprised of players from the Burroughs High School (Ridgecrest) team that played for a Southern Section championship last month at Dodgers Stadium against Bishop Amat - ranked No. 1 nationally at the time.
"This club's very good. We've got some Bakersfield kids we've picked up to play and they're jelling real good as a team and playing real well," said John Bradley, the Desert Dawgs manager and an assistant coach at Cerro Coso College in Ridgecrest.
Foisy is headed to Cerro Coso after a senior high school season in which he earned All-CIF honors for Burroughs. There was one Henderson-like stretch during his high school season when he hit home runs to lead off four consecutive games.
"This is the fourth summer Jon Foisy's played for us; he's hit in the leadoff spot and he's done the same thing all four years for us," Bradley said. "That is huge for us. He gets the momentum going for the team and sets the tempo for the game."
Foisy started the game with his triple to deep center field and then scored with one out on Derrick Eastum's base hit. Tyler Criner followed with an RBI single, Tappon hit a two-run single, Steve Kittrell dropped a bloop single down the right field line to bring home another run and Tyler Kratz reached on an infield hit that drove in another run.
"I just like to set the tempo up quick, to get our team pumped up and get us ready to go," said Foisy, who hit 4-for-5 in the game. "It worked out real well today."
Cal Lewis hit a two-run single as Douglas cut the gap to 7-2 in the bottom half of the first inning, but Ridgecrest answered with seven more runs in the second, highlighted by Tappon's grand-slam over the right field fence.
Tappon, who hit 2-for-2 with six RBIs in the game, said the Desert Dogs hit a roadblock Wednesday against Central Valley.
"We didn't come out focused against Fresno and we got beat pretty good, but we all came together as a team today and we played very well," said Tappon, a Carlin High School (Calif.) graduate who is headed to Cerro Coso College this fall. "We came out the gates real quick, we were seeing the ball real well and we were hitting real well."
Douglas scored five runs in the third inning behind Luke Rippee's RBI single, an infield hit by Greg Gadsby and Denny Goldston's sacrifice fly to deep right field.
Foisy, Criner and Kittrell delivered RBI singles as Ridgecrest scored five runs in the fourth inning to put the game away. Criner hit 3-for-5 with two RBIs in the game, while Kratz went 2-for-2.
The Desert Dawgs play again today at 9:30 a.m. against Triple Play at Governor's Field, followed by a noon contest against the Fairfield Yankees.
"We have two big games tomorrow with Triple Play and Fairfield, so we have to handle our business and go from there," Bradley said. "If we come on top there, then we're right where we want to be. Triple Play is a very good hitting team and they're very sound defensively. If we come out and play our game, then it should be a real good game. The best team's gonna win, I guess."
The Tigers, now 0-3 in the tournament and 16-21 overall for their summer season, play again today against the Central Valley All-Stars at 11:30 a.m. at Douglas High School.