MASON, W.Va. — From soaring with the White Falcons to thundering with the Herd.
On Wednesday at Wahama High School, senior Philip Hoffman signed his letter of intent to join the Marshall University baseball team.
“This means a lot, I’m excited to go play for Marshall, Coach Waggoner and Coach Newman,” Hoffman said. “Marshall has been one of my dream schools. This is exciting, I’m pumped.”
Hoffman, who transferred to Wahama from Federal Hocking between his freshman and sophomore years, has made the All-West Virginia Class A first team twice, including as the captain this past spring.
“There’s a big difference, especially with baseball,” Hoffman said of transferring to Wahama. “I would have never had this opportunity if I didn’t come to Wahama. I wouldn’t have been seen if I wasn’t in the state semifinals or playing in state championship games.”
Hoffman pitched both of the White Falcons’ regional and state semifinals in the past two seasons.
As a sophomore he was the winning pitcher of record in the regional semifinal at Charleston Catholic, striking out seven batters, while allowing four runs on seven hits and a walk. In the state semifinal, Hoffman claimed the pitching victory over Bishop Donahue, striking out nine batters, while allowing three earned runs on five hits and five walks.
In the regional semifinal in his junior season, Hoffman again faced Charleston Catholic and this time came away with 10 strike outs in a shut out win, in which he allowed only two hits and three walks. In the state semifinal last spring, Philip allowed just two hits in a shut out win over Man, in which he struck out 18 batters. It was the third 18-strikeout game of his career.
“He was throwing hard when he got here,” Cullen said. “His mechanics his sophomore year would go on him, but last year were so much more sound. I can’t wait to see him this year. I’ve always liked his pitching and his hitting, but in the state tournament, with him stealing home, his base running works too. He’s an all around player.”
Philip has made three Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division first teams, including Player of the Year honors both seasons with WHS. Philip’s career started with style, as he struck out 20 batters for the Lancers in his first high school start.
Overall, Hoffman has struck out 352 batters in his three years in high school and he has a 1.09 earned run average. He has thrown 10 one-hitters and two no-hitters in his high school career.
“My arm is better than it ever has been,” Hoffman said. “I’ve been stretching a lot, and I’ve learned a lot about taking care of it and icing.”
As a junior, Hoffman posted a 9-4 record with 162 strikeouts and a .48 earned run average. Philip also was a key part of the WHS offense last spring, batting .520 with 46 hits and 34 runs batted in.
“He’s such a hard worker, he works constantly, even after practice he comes back and works,” Wahama head baseball coach Tom Cullen said of Hoffman. “He’ll stay and hit after everybody else is gone. For some of the kids that want to play ball in the future, it’s something for them to look at and shoot for. I’ve never had a pitcher that throws as well as he does.”
Not only is Hoffman the first Division 1 commit that Cullen has coached in his 12 years at WHS, but Philip is also the first All-State first team captain.
Hoffman is currently undecided on a major, but wants to do something in the health care industry. He holds a 3.7 grade point average at WHS. Philip will be the third generation of his family to attend Marshall University, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather.
Philip will be joining a Herd program that went 34-21 last season, including 21-9 in Conference USA. During head coach Jeff Waggoner’s 10 seasons at the helm, MU has won over 230 games.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.