How many teams can replace a third-round major league draft pick who excels on the mound and at the plate?
At least one.
When Jake Barrett, the 2009 Tribune Baseball Player of the Year, graduated from Desert Ridge, it left a void atop the rotation, but not for long.
While Scott Hoffman doesn't throw as fast as Barrett - who was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays but elected to pitch at Arizona State - the results were just as impressive.
The junior left-hander finished this season 13-0 with a 2.01 ERA on the mound and hit .457 with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs at the plate. He led the Jaguars to the 5A Division I state title and garnered the Tribune's baseball player of the year for 2010.
He didn't get much playing time last year, with Barrett and a host of other talented upperclassmen leading the way.
But a year of watching Barrett and a summer playing baseball for Team USA boosted his confidence, and Hoffman entered the year knowing what needed to be done.
"I learned a lot from Jake," Hoffman said. "I was still trying to figure everything out (as a sophomore), but (Team USA) gave me a lot of confidence because those were some really good players. I just worked at it and got better, and I really stepped up this year."
Hoffman's always had the skills, but Desert Ridge coach Pat Herrera noticed a player with a different demeanor this fall.
"He was so confident, that was the number one thing," Herrera said. "He's a competitor. He'll challenge anybody."
The competition wasn't just against the opposition.
Fellow starter Taylor Kaczmarek went 11-1 this season for Desert Ridge and was named the Gatorade Arizona Baseball Player of the Year.
Hoffman said the two pitchers pushed each other.
"I wanted to match him every single time out there," Hoffman said.
Herrera knew he had a good pitcher, but never envisioned one that could go undefeated through an entire season, including the win in the state championship game.
"I didn't think he would be perfect," Herrera said. "The thing with Scotty, he gave us a chance to win every day. I didn't expect (13-0) at all, but he did. That's why he was so good."
All-Tribune first team
Player Yr. School Pos. Comment
Josh Alexander Sr. Mountain Pointe OF .500 with 14 HRs, 46 RBIs
Jason Gonzales Sr. Mesquite OF .438 with 11 HRs, 26 SBs
Kendall Konopka Sr. Marcos de Niza OF .606 with 10 HRs, 46 RBIs
Cole Gleason Jr. Red Mountain IF .514 with 18 HRs, 57 RBIs
Taylor Lindsey Sr. Desert Mountain IF .557 with 14 HRs, 48 RBIs
Travis Flores Sr. Desert Ridge IF .505 with 15 HRs, 60 RBIs
Jorge Flores Sr. Hamilton IF .486, stole 26 bases, defensive wizard
Kevin Cron Jr. Mountain Pointe C .495, tied state record with 22 HRs
Zach Davies Jr. Mesquite P 9-1 with a 1.58 ERA, dominant in playoffs
Scott Hoffman Jr. Desert Ridge P 13-0 with 2.01 ERA, 76 Ks
Taylor Kaczmarek Sr. Desert Ridge UT .436, 12 HRs, 54 RBIs at plate; 11-1, 2.16 ERA on mound
D.J. Peterson Sr. Gilbert DH OBP of .646 with E.V.-best 29 walks, hit nine HRs
Player of the Year: Scott Hoffman, Desert Ridge
Coach of the Year: Eric Kibler, Horizon: Led Huskies to 5A-II title after slow start.
All-Tribune second team
Player Yr. School Pos. Comment
Zach Gibbons So. Saguaro OF .461, 6 HRs, 14 SB
Chris Akmon So. Saguaro OF .500 with 11 HRs, 55 RBIs
Jake Peevyhouse Jr. Pinnacle OF OBP of.614; no errors on defense
T.J. Bennett Sr. Red Mountain IF .463 with 15 HRs, 46 RBIs
James McDonald Sr. Chaparral IF Second AZ high schooler drafted this year
Ryan Casillas Sr. Hamilton IF .422 with 10 HRs, 42 RBIs
Drew Stankiewicz Jr. Gilbert IF .495 with nine HRs, 32 RBIs
T.C. Mark Sr. Pinnacle C .464 with 15 HRs, 50 RBIs
Joey Danner Sr. Horizon P Ace of state champion Huskies
Jared Gaynor Sr. Scottsdale Christian P 8-2, 1.08 ERA, 117 strikeouts
Michael Benjamin Sr. Basha UT .494, slugging percentage of .940
Kyle Jorgensen So. Corona del Sol DH .474, 10 HR, 39 RBI
Arcadia: Jake MacWilliam, Sr. DH; Brophy: Joe Maggi, Sr., OF; Chaparral: Konner Wade, Sr., P; Blake Spiekerman, Sr, OF; Desert Vista: Shaun Chase, Jr., C; Matt Wehrli, Sr., OF; Fountain Hills: Curtis Martinez, So. P; Bryce Geager, Jr., 2B; Gilbert: Colton Thomson, Sr., 1B; Gilbert Christian: Lucas Sorrells, Sr., 3B; Higley: Brandon Boggs, Jr. OF; Horizon: Conor Chancey, Sr., 1B; Dillon Everett, Sr., SS; Notre Dame: Taylor Scott, Jr., 2B; Joey Greco, Jr., 1B; Perry: David Walker, Jr., 2B; Queen Creek: Jason Frost, Sr., C; Red Mountain: Ryne Dean, Jr., C; Saguaro: Kurt Jahnke, Sr., P; Scottsdale Christian: Logan Demenico, Jr. DH; Willie Renard, Sr. UT; Logan Gangsei, Jr. OF; Valley Christian: Wil Lane, Jr., P.
Memorable moments from the 2010 season:
Desert Ridge run: One year after winning the 5A-II state championship, the Jaguars moved up a classification and breezed to the 5A-I title. Desert Ridge went 31-4 this season and didn’t lose a game in the state tournament. The Jaguars had a solid combination of pitching, hitting and defense and have quickly turned themselves into one of the state’s top programs.
Monster mash: Mountain Pointe junior catcher Kevin Cron tied a state record by hitting 22 home runs this year. The final one came in the state championship game on an injured ankle. Cron tied former Desert Vista star Corey Myers’ mark from 1999. He is only a junior, and is closing in on the state’s career home record as well.
Chaos: The most unforgettable play of the state tournament came in the clash between Mesquite and Laveen Cesar Chavez, when the umpires called a triple play. Originally, the call ended the game because the umpires said Mesquite batter Lane Doty never touched first base. But that call was changed, so while a triple play was still recorded, a run from third base scored. That tied the game, and the Wildcats went on to win in extra innings.