Westmont College athlete Shane Hofstadler of Vista has been named the Baseball Player of the Week by the Golden State Athletic Conference after his performance in a three-game sweep of Vanguard last weekend.
The sophomore transfer from San Diego Mesa went five for 10 at the plate with two doubles and a home run. He also drove in seven runs.
“He has had big at bats all year long,” asserted Westmont’s head coach Tyler LaTorre. “I don’t think his numbers are what he wants them to be or reflective of his talent, but he had two big at bats that came at important moments. Good players have the ability to lock in when the time is necessary. Our goal is to get him to lock in every time.”
In Friday’s game, the right-handed catcher delivered the walk-off double, ending the game in the bottom of the 12th inning.
Daniel Patterson singled to lead off the inning, then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Parker Zarbaugh. That’s when Hofstadler strolled to the plate and sent the ball to the warning track in right center field, driving in the winning run and giving Westmont a 8-7 victory.
“With the way the schedule is, playing on Fridays and Saturdays, you have to have a couple of catchers,” noted LaTorre. “He catches the bulk of the three-game weekends. The pitchers trust him and is someone our pitchers look to for confidence. He threw out a couple of guys this weekend, which is icing on the cake. He thinks the game well — holding runners or back picking, finding ways to get guys out of an inning, and making the right play.”
After catching 12 innings on March 17, Hofstadler did not start the first game on March 18. However, that did not keep him from making a dramatic contribution to the Warriors’ second win. Westmont was down six to three in the bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded and two away when LaTorre called upon Hofstadler to pinch hit. His towering fly ball to right field just cleared the fence for a grand slam, giving Westmont a 7-6 lead at the time.
The Warriors went on to win the game 9-6.
“He had the game winning hit in the 12th and came back the next day and pinch hit and got a good pitch to hit,” observed LaTorre. “He didn’t try to do too much with it. That was the key for him this weekend. It is also the key for us moving forward — to be who we are and not try to do too much.”
Back behind the plate for game three, Hofstadler continued to impress with his bat, going two for three with an RBI in a seven-inning game. Westmont won the game 5-3.
“After having Simon Reid behind the plate the last three years, Shane has stepped in there and filled that role,” said LaTorre. “He has done it well and hasn’t been intimidated by feeling like there are big shoes to fill. He has just been himself.”
Westmont, which sits in first place in GSAC standings with a two and one-half game lead over Hope International, will play four non-conference games this weekend at Russ Carr Field. On Friday, the Warriors will host the flames in a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m.
Then on Saturday, the two teams will play another doubleheader with first pitch scheduled for noon.
Ron Smith is the sports information director at Westmont College.