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

Kansas City - J. Guthrie 7:07 PM
San Francisco - T. Hudson
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Dallas 6:00 PM
Orlando
New York 6:30 PM
Toronto
San Antonio 7:00 PM
Houston
Miami 7:00 PM
Memphis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Chicago
Phoenix 8:00 PM
Utah
Sacramento 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
Denver 9:30 PM
Golden State
Portland 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Dallas 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Tampa Bay 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Vancouver 8:00 PM
Colorado
Carolina 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Columbus 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Houston 7:00 PM
Chicago
Montreal 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent 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 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who wins and loses in football this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close