Hooft adjusts to life in pro baseball

Galena High had an extra rooter on its sideline for last Friday's High Desert League football showdown against top-ranked McQueen.

Joey Hooft, who played college baseball at Arizona State and Miami (Fla.), had just concluded its first season in professional baseball with the Texas Rangers organization, and was on hand to see his alma mater.

Hooft played for Spokane in the Pacific Northwest League, helping the Rangers' farm team win the playoff championship. Hooft hit .225 with a homer and 20 RBI in 60 games at Spokane.

"I think I did a good job," Hooft said. "I got to play (almost) every day. It's an adjustment. That's why it takes guys so many years to make it. Each year you adjust more and more. The thing about pro ball is consistency."

And, learning to deal with the day-to-day grind that is different than college baseball. It's easier in the sense that all you are doing is playing baseball. It's tougher in the sense that if you have a bad stretch, you have more time to think about it because you don't have classwork to take your mind off any failings on the diamond.

"We played 81 games in 84 days," said Hooft, who rattled off the three days off that he had this summer. No doubt he had those dates circled on his calendar.

"The one thing that surprised me is that it's about yourself at this development stage," he added. "College ball is just about winning. That's how the coach gets paid. You have to be more selfish at the same time. Winning isn't emphasized. You are trying to make a name for yourself."

Using a wood bat for the first time and facing probably better pitching probably effected Hooft a bit. His average tailed off toward the end of the season.

"It (the pitching) was a little harder overall," Hooft said. "We faced great pitching in college, and these were some of the same guys I saw in college. You just try to stay focused."

Hooft will report to spring training in February to Surprise, Arizona. He hopes to be assigned to Clinton, a full-season Single-A team in the Midwest League.


Andy Heiser, former University of Nevada quarterback, is helping coach football at Dayton High School.

Heiser came out at the request of T.W. Cunningham, who played wide receiver for the Wolf Pack in the Chris Tormey era. Cunningham was recently hired to coach varsity basketball at Dayton, and he's also helping coach the freshman and JV squads. Heiser said he's going to help Cunningham with basketball, too.

"He (T.W.) is three years older than me, but we stayed friends after he left (UNR)," Heiser said. "It's fun.

"I don't want to be known as the guy that played. I want to teach them as much as I know."

Heiser sticks around for varsity games, and works in the press box, sending down information to coach Rick Walker. Being a quarterback, and Heiser was a good one, has proven helpful.

Heiser admits he's not as knowledgeable about basketball as he is football, but he's learning the game. He said he's just trying to give Cunningham another pair of eyes on the court.

Heiser said he wants to coach football long enough to get his own program, and no doubt he would do a tremendous job. Cunningham said Heiser's forte is his knowledge of the game, and his ability to communicate and work with kids. The latter, as we all know, isn't an easy thing.

n Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1281


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