Monday, September 20, 2010

Hoffman verbals to East Carolina

LATHAM — Jeff Hoffman will be changing ships in 2011, as the senior at Shaker High School turned a season of fall baseball with the World Yacht Clippers into a scholarship offer from the Pirates at East Carolina University.

Hoffman, a pitcher, confirmed Monday that he had accepted an offer from ECU after visiting the campus in Greenville, N.C. over the weekend.

“It was a long process and a really stressful time that lasted about two months,” Hoffman said. “I visited the campus and I fell in love with it. The coaches are great and it’s a very successful program.”

East Carolina, a member of Conference USA, finished the 2010 season with a 32-27 record. The Pirates have posted 13 straight 30-plus win seasons, which is the ninth-longest active streak in the country.

Hoffman excelled during his junior season at Shaker High School in 2009. He went 7-0 with a 2.06 ERA, striking out 26 in 34 innings in the Suburban Council.

Early in the summer, he played for the East Greenbush Devilcats’ Connie Mack team. Later on, Steve Frank, the new head baseball coach at Shaker High School, helped Hoffman earn a roster spot with the World Yacht Clippers Connie Mack team based out of Jefferson Valley in Westchester County.

“They definitely played a major role in a competitive summer for me,” Hoffman said of his time with the Devilcats. “But all of the college looks I got were through the World Yacht Clippers. I went to a couple of tournaments on Long Island, threw well and that was that.”

College coaches had his eye on him in recent weeks and his stellar performances put him on East Carolina’s radar.

“Facing the hitters that I did in fall baseball, I mean, all of those hitters are going to play Division I or Division II baseball,” Hoffman said. “The competition doesn’t get any better than that, facing the best from up and down the east coast.”

Hoffman is just the latest hard-throwing pitcher to emerge at Shaker. Tommy Kahnle, another former Blue Bison hurler, was drafted by the New York Yankees in the fifth round of the First Year Player Draft in June. Kahnle signed in time to finish the season with the Staten Island Yankees in the short-season Class A New York-Penn League, where he posted a 0.56 ERA over 16 innings during 11 appearances. He struck out 25 and walked five in his first season as a professional.

Hoffman plans to major in physical education in college and plans on being a coach once his player career is over.

He had previously committed to Elon University, but that offer fell through.

Late in October, Hoffman will stop throwing for a few months to let his arm relax and he’ll also lace up his sneakers for Shaker’s basketball team. Once the calendar flips over to January, he can start thinking about one last season on the hill with the Bison and what the future holds in store for him at East Carolina.

“Hopefully I can step in and play a major role as a starter,” he said. “But I’ll definitely have to work at it and earn that role.”

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