NEW ULM — New Ulm’s JT Hoffmann is looking forward to a good senior season of baseball at Concordia University, St. Paul.
“It is going pretty well,” he said. “We are off to a 5-3 record in conference play in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and 11-9 overall. I am hitting the ball well and starting to get some playing time. I just want to do whatever I can to help the team win and I will accept that role and go with it. We are off to a good start and I think that we can make a run at the conference.”
Hoffmann is batting .290 with four RBIs for the Golden Bears as a Designated Hitter.
After New Ulm High School, Hoffmann played two seasons at Century College before attending Concordia University last year.
He said that the transition from high school baseball to Century was an adjustment from small-town life to the Twin Cities.
“But after the first year there, I adapted to more of the city life, which made the transition easier to go to Concordia.”
Hoffmann said that adjustments on the playing field come down to what you feel is best.
“You have to find out what works best for you. Coaches can have a lot of tips and different philosophies on hitting,” he said. “But ultimately it comes down to what works best for you and what feels natural. You kind of roll with that. You need to be yourself and kind of fine-tune how your swing works. That is the most important thing.”
Hoffmann said that his stance changed very little over the years.
“If anything, it is to limit movement,” he said. “I still want to drive the gaps.”
Another adjustment that players have to make is the jump from a part-time job playing high school baseball to the demands of a college sport.
“You need to put in the extra work and get stronger. You need to get in the weight room and get faster. Going from high school to college baseball can be a big change and adjustment because of the increase dedication to the game. But if you are willing to put in the work, it is not that hard of a transition.”
Hoffmann said that college baseball is also more analytical.
“We are constantly looking at opposing pitchers and their tendencies and also the opponent’s hitters and their tendencies and adjust our defense accordingly. And the college game moves faster so as a player you have to remind yourself to slow it down.”
And college baseball is an almost a year round project.
“Once we step on the campus in the fall, it is baseball full-go and our schedules look different,” Hoffmann said. “We practice seven months to prepare for the season. And coaches are looking to you to get innings in whether it is pitching or hitting in summer ball. So it is a year-round thing to try and improve for the next year. Going from high school to college level was something that I enjoyed. I liked the education set-up in college more than high school — there is more freedom.”
Despite his busy baseball schedule, Hoffmann was a member last year of the NSIC All-Academic Team of Excellence.
Hoffmann said that this year his team has one goal and that is to win.
“And win to get to the conference tournament and make a run in that tournament.”