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The art of acing life: Tyler Hoefer

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The art of acing life: Tyler Hoefer

Dez Rodriguez, Senior Reporter

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Tyler Hoefer, Delta B.C., Canada Sands Secondary School

18-year-old Tyler Hoefer was on the mound getting set to pitch the biggest game of his young life. It was the gold medal game at the 2015 Canada Cup Championships in Saskatoon, Canada. Hoefer put on a show, throwing a complete game two hitter, allowing one unearned run and striking out seven batters, propelling British Columbia to a 10-1 victory over the then undefeated Saskatchewan team.

The performance was exactly what Hoefer had been working towards his entire life. With no high school baseball program back home, his journey has had its difficulties.

Growing Up

As a kid growing up in North Delta, B.C, Canada, Hoefer had always been a two-sport athlete. His arm strength had the coaches playing him at shortstop, while he was mainly a wing when he was on the ice playing hockey.

“Pretty much every Canadian kid plays hockey at one point of their life,” Hoefer said. “I just had more success and more fun playing baseball being outside and visiting all the ballparks.”

Being able to play through the summer was also something that Hoefer enjoyed. Especially after his high school, Sands Secondary, didn’t have a baseball team. The school only had 7-800 students according to Hoefer, so the aspiring baseball players were forced to join community teams instead.

Hoefer first noticed his potential on the mound when he was 15-years-old playing for the Richmond Chuckers, a Bantam League AAA baseball team. Hoefer said that he had a stellar season and was one of the top pitchers in the league, but his team was not good enough to advance after the season ended. However, a team that did, the Cloverdale Spurs, picked him up to play on their team and eventually won the proventrial championship that year.

The skills of Hoefer helped him be selected as one of 160 players across the country to play in a five-day tournament designed to showcase the best Canadian born players. Professional scouts and college recruiters were in attendance and watched the stellar performance in the Canada Cup championship game where he threw the complete game.

Central Washington University

When it was time to look at possible universities to attend in the states, Hoefer sent out his information and a highlight video of himself to D1 and D2 schools. A D1 school in New York replied, but the distance away from home was not optimal. When CWU head coach Desi Storey contacted him, Hoefer jumped on the opportunity to schedule a visit. He worked out in November of 2015, and committed to playing baseball in Ellensburg the next month.

“They really showed me the most interest. It was only four hours away from home, so that was important for my family,” Hoefer said.

The lack of a high school baseball team may have been a blessing in disguise for Hoefer. The organized community baseball teams were often year-round programs, which allowed them to focus more of their attention on the sport as a whole.

“In January, they start throwing pens and hitting in the cages,” Storey said. “They have very extensive baseball programs. High schools here are not able to do that.”

Hoefer arrived at CWU with Jesse Unger and the brothers Yi-An and Yi-Fan Pan, all committing after playing together on select teams in Canada. Storey said that the familiarity between the players allowed the transition to go smoothly and CWU provided a good fit for all of them. As the season went on, Hoefer became more of a pitcher and less of a hitter.

“His velocity started climbing, so coach Camas and him talked about being as good as he possibly can at the pitching standpoint,” Storey said. “He has a chance to be pretty dominant for the next two years for us.”

Hoefer had already thrown 86 mph into senior year. Last season, he finished with a 5-0 record as a relief pitcher while touching 92 mph last spring.

“It’ll climb as he gets in game shape. He has a great arm and has gotten better each year,” Storey said.

Moving Forward

This season, Hoefer made the switch from the bullpen to the starting rotation. Him and senior teammate Conner Stevenson will lead the starters hoping to get back to the GNAC tournament after finishing third last season.

“He proved himself last year so I think coming forward this year, he’s going to be really successful,” Stevenson said. “He has great pitches, executes them, and he’s always relaxed on the mound.”

Stepping into the starter role has allowed Hoefer to have a better preparation before the game. Getting to compete against all of the hitters and knowing ahead of time when he’s going to pitch is what Hoefer enjoys the most.

“As a reliever, you’re expected to be ready to go whenever,” Hoefer said. “It’s unknown, you have to be ready at anytime so it may be a little harder sometimes to stay focused maybe throughout a whole weekend.”

Hoefer is working to get his law and justice degree. The program being offered helped Hoefer confirm his decision to commit to CWU and the athletic scholarship he earned with the Wildcats is helping him achieve his goals as a collegiate ball player. Aside from baseball, he wants his future to involve border security back home in Canada.

“I’ve never been a big social guy, but just continuing to do my job 100 percent will help benefit me on and off the baseball field,” Hoefer said.

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