Tommies aiming for top at baseball, softball nationals

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 22, 2014 - 12:37 PM

Two former Eagan pals helped lead St. Thomas to two Division III World Series in the same season.

hide

Catcher JD Dorgan and shortstop Jenna Hoffman grew up playing baseball as kids in Eagan. But now they have another connection. Both have helped lead their St. Thomas team to the Division III national tournament in baseball and softball.

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Half a lifetime ago, the diamond was the asphalt circle of an Eagan cul-de-sac.

Baseball marathons were conducted outside of JD Dorgan’s home. Nearly every summer evening, youngsters from around the neighborhood would take turns swinging a plastic bat at a tennis ball. If they were lucky, they would circle the painted bases over and over until it was too dark to see.

Occasionally, Jenna Hoffman would prance over from a couple blocks away and show up the group, otherwise made up of all boys.

“She was probably better than a lot of us,” Dorgan said.

Now, the friendly rivalry has taken a much larger stage. After reuniting at St. Thomas, where Dorgan is a catcher for the baseball team and Hoffman plays shortstop for the softball team, the senior pair is capping off hugely successful collegiate careers in the same impressive way: leading their respective teams to the Division III World Series.

St. Thomas softball opens the national tournament in Tyler, Texas, with Salisbury (Md.) on Thursday, while the Tommies baseball team will play defending national champion Linfield (Ore.) in Appleton, Wis., on Friday.

“It’s kind of cool that our paths have both led us in the same direction and led us to the same place, competing for a national championship,” said Hoffman, whose 79 hits this season are one away from the school season record.

Despite living just a child’s scamper apart in the Hawthorne Woods neighborhood, the two athletes’ courses diverged after those intermittent bouts of street baseball. After attending Faithful Shepherd school together in elementary school, Dorgan left for Dakota Hills in middle school and then chose Eagan High. Hoffman attended Cretin-Derham Hall, carpooling there with Dorgan’s next-door neighbor.

Had they met up again, it would have seemed most likely to be at St. John’s, where both Dorgan’s and Hoffman’s fathers played sports — the former, football, the latter, baseball. But Hoffman never visited the Johnnies’ campus and Dorgan, after falling in love with St. John’s initially, ultimately found the persuading comfort level at St. Thomas.

Those decisions have been validated throughout four years that have been filled with great success individually and with their programs, a combined 50-19 in postseason games during that time. They became close with each other — mingling throughout back-to-back practices — in the process.

The prosperity of Tommies baseball, which won national titles in 2001 and 2009, and softball, which duplicated those feats in 2004 and 2005, is a reflection of just how dominant St. Thomas sports have been across the gamut. In addition to softball, the Tommies won 2013-14 league titles in baseball, men's basketball, men's hockey and women's hockey; and tied for second in football and women's basketball. Ten of St. Thomas’ sports teams have ranked in the top 15 nationally at some point this season.

Dorgan and Hoffman have helped to lead the way for their respective sports. Hoffman, who was just named Division III All-America, is a career .409 hitter and this year leads the team in stolen bases, hits, runs and triples. Dorgan, who has hit or picked up at least one RBI in 19 consecutive games, is batting .333 for his career and is tied for the most RBI this season with 50.

His home run and sacrifice fly Sunday helped send St. Thomas to its second World Series in the past three years with a 9-4 victory over Rose-Hulman. Last time around, in 2012, the Tommies, joined in Appleton, Wis., by several members of the softball team, started out 2-0.

“We kind of felt like we were in the driver’s seat and it was going to be a cake walk,” said Dorgan, named the Most Outstanding Performer in last weekend’s six-team tournament in Illinois. Dorgan needs three hits for 200 in is career.

Ultimately, the baseball team finished third, going 3-2.

This time, the Tommies are hoping things will be different. After watching the softball team eradicate a 4-1 deficit to win 10-4 in a super regional championship game — Hoffman’s two-out, two-run single put them ahead to stay — the baseball team collectively decided to travel to Texas to cheer on their sister program if they didn’t win, much like the ladies had supported them two years earlier.

Instead, the men will attempting to bring a pair of NCAA titles to the school for the first time in the same year in those sports.

Now, when it gets dark, there are bright lights to illuminate the games for Hoffman and Dorgan.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 12/18/14 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Atlanta 127 FINAL
Cleveland 98
Phoenix 111 FINAL
Charlotte 106
Dallas 117 FINAL
Detroit 106
Utah 105 FINAL
Miami 87
Orlando 92 FINAL
Boston 109
Brooklyn 89 FINAL
Toronto 105
Memphis 117 FINAL
San Antonio 116
Milwaukee 97 FINAL
Portland 104
Houston 115 FINAL
Denver 111
Indiana 100 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Ottawa 2 FINAL
New Jersey 0
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 2
Dallas 2 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Langston 65 FINAL
North Texas 78
Delaware State 72 FINAL
St Francis-NY 64
James Madison 72 FINAL
Ball State 52
SIU Edwardsville 65 FINAL
Campbell 70
St Francis-PA 67 FINAL
Duquesne 52
North Florida 77 FINAL
Florida State 93
Catawba 69 FINAL
George Mason 99
Ferrum 48 FINAL
High Point 106
Hampton 55 FINAL
Illinois 73
Gardner-Webb 65 FINAL
Jacksonville 68
Longwood 60 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 71
Arkansas State 69 FINAL
Miss State 55
Tennessee 72 FINAL
NC State 83
NC A&T 55 FINAL
Ohio State 97
Manhattan 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 65
Robert Morris 57 FINAL
Toledo 83
Char Southern 58 FINAL
Wofford 64
Kennesaw St 90 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
Barber-Scotia 52 FINAL
NC Central 108
Detroit 70 FINAL
UCF 75
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 73
TX A&M-CC 73 FINAL
Denver 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 61 FINAL
Houston 56
UT Martin 54 FINAL
Illinois State 64
Milligan 76 FINAL
Louisiana 115
Abilene Christian 44 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 83
USC Upstate 73 FINAL
Memphis 83
Alcorn State 56 FINAL
Murray State 94
Central Mich 80 FINAL
Northwestern 67
Georgia State 54 FINAL
Old Dominion 58
TX-Pan American 69 FINAL
Saint Louis 75
Ill-Chicago 46 FINAL
SMU 67
Texas State 60 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 66
SC State 39 FINAL
Texas Tech 101
Missouri State 70 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Chicago State 60 FINAL
Western Ky 75
Morehead State 50 FINAL
Green Bay 66
Northern Colorado 82 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 92
Winthrop 62 FINAL
Auburn 80
New Mexico St 55 FINAL
Baylor 66
San Diego St 62 FINAL
Cincinnati 71
Eastern Mich 46 FINAL
Michigan State 66
Loyola Marymount 58 FINAL
Stanford 67
Incarnate Word 82 FINAL
Grand Canyon 80
Northeastern 58 FINAL
Cal Poly 60
Central Arkansas 55 FINAL
New Mexico 76
Howard 45 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Portland 73 FINAL
UNLV 75
CS-Northridge 56 FINAL
Oregon 79
Grambling St 38 FINAL
Washington 86
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Western Carolina 79 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 66
(21) Miss State 66 FINAL
Louisiana 51
(25) DePaul 109 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 84
Liberty 64 FINAL
NC State 67
Elon 77 FINAL
Campbell 51
Akron 73 FINAL
UCF 64
Richmond 77 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 67
Montana 70 FINAL
Seattle 64
(7) Stanford 46 FINAL
Chattanooga 54
Florida A&M 69 FINAL
Southern U 80
Oklahoma 72 FINAL
(13) Duke 92
Savannah State 56 FINAL
Auburn 62
Northern Colorado 43 FINAL
South Florida 84
Youngstown St 73 FINAL
Robert Morris 65
Siena 75 FINAL
Sacred Heart 65
Vermont 63 FINAL
St Francis-NY 61
(1) South Carolina 69 FINAL
Hampton 49
Fla Gulf Coast 91 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 46
Texas Southern 92 FINAL
Houston Baptist 80
Northwestern 88 FINAL
UNLV 84
NC A&T 70 FINAL
Appalachian St 72
NC Central 52 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 67
Drexel 50 FINAL
Quinnipiac 74
Cincinnati 52 FINAL
Northern Ky 66
Alabama State 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 77
Morehead St 69 FINAL
USC Upstate 75
Arkansas State 59 FINAL
Kent State 44
American Univ 60 FINAL
Manhattan 52
UNC Greensboro 60 FINAL
St Bonaventure 78
Arkansas-Monticello 56 FINAL
Northwestern St 61
Prairie View 70 FINAL
Sam Houston St 51
McNeese State 59 FINAL
(3) Texas 76
Yale 90 FINAL
Wagner 65
Oakland 61 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 54
Eastern Kentucky 62 FINAL
Alabama A&M 56
SIU-Edwardsville 47 FINAL
Northern Ill 69
McMurry 25 FINAL
TX-Arlington 82
Portland 65 FINAL
Eastern Washington 72
North Texas 42 FINAL
San Francisco 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

<
Gophers Football Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How much do you like the Gophers going to the Citrus Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close