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Shakopee shortstop is go-to guy for getting a grip

By Star Tribune, 05/29/12, 5:24PM CDT


Zak Hoffman

Senior Zak Hoffman is on the verge of wrapping up a stellar three-sport career at Shakopee.

He is the starting shortstop on the Sabres baseball team, which is seeded No. 1 in the Class 3A, Section 2 playoffs. Hoffman will continue his baseball career at St. Cloud State University.

Here is a closer look at Hoffman, who also played football and hockey for the Sabres:

The best movie I've seen in the last year? "Act of Valor."

Three songs I never skip on my iPod are ... 2Pac songs; any Eminem song; or "Awake and Alive" by Skillet. I didn't get an iPod until this year.

Three words or phrases my friends or teammates might use to describe me? Athletic; sportsmanship; hard-working.

How do you balance school and sports throughout your high school career? I get home from practice or a game and get my homework done and get up early in the morning to go see my teachers.

How did you get started playing sports? I knew I would always play football and hockey because I like to throw my weight around. Baseball was my sport as soon as I picked up a ball when I was little. I would always hit in my grandma's back yard when I was about 3. It just came naturally to me.

At my first varsity practice, I felt ... very nervous because I had to face our ace pitcher who threw almost 90 miles an hour in an intrasquad scrimmage. I got up to the plate and got a single and made a few diving plays and settled right in.

What did you work on in the offseason for baseball? During the offseason I work out daily and try to make myself better, whether it's lifting weights or going to the batting cage until I get blisters on my hands.

What was your goal prior to the start of the baseball season? To be a good senior leader that everybody wants to be around. I want the younger kids to look up to me and ask me if they need help with hitting or fielding.

To get focused for a game, I ... hit with my entire team on the field in the Ryan Express. We all have a fun time and try not to stress about the game. We pitch to each other and try to hit home runs. It's a great time.

Favorite meal before a game?

My grandma's mac and cheese. She makes it better than anybody else I know.

What is your most memorable moment as a high school athlete? My entire senior year because it is something I will never forget. I will remember every moment when I have moved on.

If you could change one thing about high school sports, what would it be? Nothing because I couldn't have had a better time of my life.

In 10 years, I hope I'm ... in a successful job with a great family and living life to the fullest.

Do you have a secret talent -- and if so, what is it? I am an expert at taping my grip on my bat.

What is the best sports advice you ever received? If you have a bad at-bat or make an error, stay positive and cheer your teammates on to pick me up and make the next play that comes to me. Thanks dad and coach Nick Dahlen.


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