Hoffmann enjoying his time in summer baseball league
Zach Hoffmann is enjoying his summer in the JayHawk League in Kansas playing with the Liberal, Kansas BeeJays.
“I started out doing pretty well but then I got injured a little bit and struggled,” he said. “But the last couple of weeks it has been going pretty well. Our coach down here does not keep track of them – he is more into quality at-bats.”
He said that is has been an adjustment playing in the college league.
“You definitely face some better pitching than what we face in school ball (at St. Cloud State),” Hoffmann said. “It is a good experience.
“From amateur ball (with the New Ulm Brewers) to here is a huge difference,” Hoffmann said. “Every night you are facing a pitcher who is throwing in the mid to upper 80s and you also face some real filthy relievers. We faced a guy (Thursday) who was throwing pretty hard and had a real good breaking ball. But even from St. Cloud State to here we face better pitching than we do there.”
Hoffmann, who will be a junior at SCSU, said that facing the high caliber of pitching in the JayHawk League has made him make some adjustments in his hitting philosophy.
“On two strikes you have to definitely change your approach at the plate,” he said. “These pitchers have good pitches that can put you away. On two strikes you need to put the ball in play and go the other way with it. I am hitting in the middle of the order so my job is still to drive in runs, I have not changed my swing too much – I am still playing first base.”
Hoffmann’s game schedule consists of five games in a week. “We usually get two off-days a week which is nice. Compared to the Northwoods League it is better on your body. I have been playing almost every game but they do give me a day off once in a while which is nice. It has been going well.”
Hoffmann said that one of the biggest adjustments that he has made was when he first arrived in Liberal and met his new teammates.
“A lot of these guys are from Texas and the southern states,” he said. “But I have a buddy from St. Cloud State – Kyle Lieser on the my team – and we get made fun of our accents from the north. It was a little bit of an adjustment but our team is pretty close – we all hang out together which makes it easier to adjust.”
Hoffmann said that he is planning on coming back and playing for the New Ulm Brewers later this summer.
“Right now we are four games out from third place (at 16-15) so if we do not make a run here in these last 10 games we will be done on July 23rd.”
He said that one thing that he is developing from the summer league is putting together a better approach.
“And every day you have to come to work hard – you need to work on your swing and your defense each day.”
Hoffman said that seeing all of the baseball players from New Ulm now heading to St. Cloud State shows the development of the program at SCSU.
“Pat Dolan (head baseball coach) loves recruiting New Ulm players and does not like losing them” Hoffmann said. “We have to beat Minnesota State-Mankato in the playoffs.”
SCHAPER TO GET WISH TODAY: Herb Schaper. who along with Bob Skillings, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch today before the Brewers-Stark game, is looking forward to it so he can re-enact what he calls the most famous single pitch thrown by Lefty Johnson back in 1942.
“At that time he did not like the baseball that he had gotten from the home plate umpire so he threw it back to the umpire,” Schaper said. “The umpire told Johnson that he had to use that ball and threw it back to Johnson. Johnson told the umpire that he wanted a new ball but the umpire threw the ball back to Johnson and told him he had to use that ball. Johnson got so mad that he took that ball and threw it over the grandstand behind home plate. The problem with that was at that time Johnson was a paid pitcher by the New Ulm Baseball Association so they docked his game pay by the price of that baseball.”