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Story Archives: Hoffpauir pulling for Cardinals
|Hoffpauir pulling for Cardinals|
Vidalia's junior high football season put an exclamation point on an undefeated season Thursday night, dominating Caldwell 34-6 to win the Tri-Parish League Championship.
"We were hoping to have a good year, but weren't really expecting an undefeated season," said Vidalia Junior High head coach Bruce Pickle. "We didn't know what all the other teams had."
Vidalia posted two wins over Franklin Parish and beat Winnfield Junior High in Winnfield.
"Our guys played up to their ability," Pickle said. "The Franklin and Winnfield games we knew would be tough. I was very proud of the way they played."
Pickle had 22 eighth-graders.
"And they all played together," he said. "It was a very fun team to coach. They practiced hard and didn't care who got the credit. They wanted to block for each other and they carried out their assignments."
Eighth-grader Jonterrius Townsend rushed for more than 500 yards and had 15 touchdowns.
"J.T. can be as good as he wants to be," Pickle said. "He had good ability and loves football..He should contribute for the varsity next year, along with some others who will be freshmen."
Pickle led Vidalia's junior high boys team to a 27-0 record last year and the current VJH boys basketball team is 6-0.
There's no doubt as to which team the Jarrett Hoffpauir household will be pulling for in the World Series this year.
Hoffpauir, who was a member of the St. Louis Cardinals for a short time in 2009, wants to see the Cardinals go all the way.
"I'm excited for them," Hoffpauir said. "I've got a couple of close buddies I've been texting throughout the playoffs. And I know just about everybody on the team."
One player Hoffpauir knows real well is David Freese, who was named most valuable player of the National League Championship Series. Freese had three hits and was a triple shy of the cycle on the night St. Louis qualified for the World Series.
Hoffpauir and Freese were roommates when both played for the Memphis Redbirds, St. Louis' triple-A farm team.
Freese also attending Hoffpauir's wedding in 2009.
"He's a great guy and still a good friend," Hoffpauir said.
Hoffpauir was also a roommate of Daniel Descalso, who has played in eight games in the postseason.
"We've been texting back and forth quite a bit," he said.
Hoffpauir was named the St. Louis Cardinals' minor-league player of the month while in Memphis and was promoted to the parent club soon after.
Hoffpauir was hitting .276 with the Memphis Redbirds, and was leading the Cardinals' triple-A team with 10 home runs.
Hoffpauir got the call on July 1, 2009 that he was to catch a plane out of Albuquerque and head to St. Louis where a St. Louis policeman would meet him at the airport and take him to Busch Stadium.
Only hours after arriving in St. Louis, Hoffpauir was called to pinch hit for Chris Duncan, but manager Tony LaRussa called him back in the dugout.
Colby Rasmus would then hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning to win the game for the Cardinals.
On July 3 in Cincinnati, Hoffpauir entered the game against the Reds in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter for Duncan.
He walked on four pitches from Arthur Rhodes.
Reds starter Homer Bailey had been brilliant, retiring 13 consecutive batters at one point and going from the first until the seventh without allowing a base hit. He got into trouble in the eighth, though, with Colby Rasmus' pinch-single starting the uprising. After Brendan Ryan flied out, Skip Schumaker drew a walk, chasing Bailey. The Reds called on righty David Weathers to face Pujols despite Pujols' 9-for-18 career mark against Weathers.
On a 2-2 pitch, Pujols jumped on a fastball and drilled it 391 feet into the left-field seats for the 10th grand slam of his Major League career to give St. Louis a 4-3 lead. It was also his 350th home run in the big leagues, making him the third-youngest player to get there. Only Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. reached 350 at an earlier age.
Hoping not to use closer Ryan Franklin, they turned to Josh Kinney rather than one of their usual eighth-inning pitchers, Kyle McClellan or Jason Motte, and Kinney got in trouble. He surrendered two hits to open the inning, and it took Dennys Reyes and Motte to escape the jam without giving up more than one run.
In the top of the ninth with the game tied at 4-4, Hoffpauir was the hero as his two-out, two-run single over shortstop in the top of the ninth gave the Cardinals the deciding runs in a hard-fought 7-4 win.
"I don't even remember getting to first base," Hoffpauir said.
Hoffpauir was giving television interviews after the game when catcher Yadier Molina gave him a handful of shaving cream across his face.
After grounding out and popping out the next day, Hoffpauir was a pinch-hitter for Cardinal ace Chris Carpenter in the eighth inning, drawing a walk in his first at-bat against Carlos Fisher.
Hoffpauir then entered the game at second base and collected a double off the wall against Fisher in the ninth inning. The hit was a few feet from the top of the wall.
Hoffpauir was picked up by Toronto the next year and signed with San Diego this past season.
Hoffpauir started out the season with the San Diego Padres, but a strained quad muscle in his leg put him on injured reserve.
Hoffpauir went through rehab after being placed on the disabled list and was sent down to the Padres' triple-A team in Tucson.
Hoffpauir put together a 16-game hitting streak and was hitting above .300 most of the season before finishing at .281.
"I didn't put up the numbers I wanted to, but my average was OK," he said. "It was a rough year as far as the injuries and being beat up. That first injury killed me because it allowed other guys to move ahead of me. But that's part of the business."
Hoffpauir is a free agent and doesn't expect to sign with the Padres.
"I just want to get a fresh start," he said. "I'm working out now and I'm just looking forward to whatever opportunities come my way. Free agency begins after the World Series, so I will just have to wait and see what happens then."
Meanwhile, he will be watching a number of friends go after the top prize in baseball, a World Series ring.
"I think it's great," he said. "I'm very happy for those guys."
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