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Fireballer riding pitch higher

POSTED: July 14, 2007 5:03 a.m.

By Jimmy Currier
Coastal Courier (Hinesville, GA) Sports Editor

Liberty County High School rising senior Skyler Hoffer is getting a taste of what it’s like to be a major athlete.
There’s a lot of suitcases and travel involved.
To start off the month, the Panther pitcher traveled to Norman, Okla., as a member of Team Georgia to compete in the 31st Annual Sunbelt Classic baseball tournament.
Hoffer was one of 20 juniors across the state chosen to play on the elite team.
While in Oklahoma, he wowed scouts and opposing hitters by consitently throwing in the low 90s. And he even hit 96 mph once.
Hoffer’s high school coach Steve Cotrell said Skyler has a gift.
“Kids can work and their arms get stronger but sometimes these kids come along and they have a gift and he has a gift,” Cotrell said. “The sky’s the limit for him ability-wise.”
For the next 12 days, Hoffer will again show off his fastball to scouts as he competes on the Savannah Chain’s showcase team. The team will play in Athens, Clemson, S.C., and Atlanta.
Hoffer’s travelling ball team Line Drive coach Mike Wells believes there are big things on the horizon for him.
“I’m as proud of Skyler as anyone can be,” he said. “I think the sky’s the limit for him, if he keeps his mind straight and puts the work in. I think he can go as far as he wants to go if he makes the effort.”

Like most pitchers, Hoffer has several other pitches he can get a batter out with. He throws a two-seam fastball. While not as fast as his four-seamer, it tails in a little to fool the batter. He throws a curveball, that Wells described as outstanding with a lot of bite. Hoffer also throws a slider and a changeup.
Cotrell is looking forward to Hoffer’s senior season and said his phone will be ringing off the hook.
“I’ve already received calls from Middle Georgia, Kennesaw and Columbus State,” he said. “Now, Georgia’s looking at him and if Georgia recruits a kid then all the schools out West will find out about him. So, it’s just a matter of Skyler taking care of what Skyler needs to take care of. Get that high school diploma.”
Even though Hoffer can light up the radar gun, Cotrell said there is still work to do.
“He’s still a little raw around the edges, but a lot of high school kids are,” Cotrell said. “We’ll take one step at a time.”
Hoffer is 6-foot, 2-inches and weight 175 pounds. Cotrell said he would like him to gain at least 10 pounds and learn to use his lower body more when pitching.
“If he does that, then he will be a mid-90s guy by the time he peaks out, which is at the major league level,” Cotrell said. “He polishes up his off-speed pitches and five to six years down the road we’ll see him pitching on TV like Dustin McGowan.”

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