Southeastern Louisiana third baseman Brett Hoffman doesn’t like watching the Lions play baseball; he’d rather be out on the field with his teammates.
But Hoffman suffered a minor injury last week, so watching is exactly what he was doing two days before Southeastern opened postseason play against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the Southland Conference tournament Wednesday.
Despite sitting out two games against UNO last weekend, Hoffman is adamant he’ll be in his usual starting spot by the time the Lions take the field in Sugar Land, Texas, but he knows every practice is a lost opportunity to play the game he has dedicated his life to.
He’s also running low on opportunities to put himself in the Southeastern history books. Hoffman is four games from tying the program record for career games played (232) — just enough to secure the milestone if Southeastern reaches the tournament’s championship game.
“Really, my only goal is to win and advance,” he said. “If the record is there, it’s there. If it’s not, it’s not. … I’m obviously hoping it does, because that means we’re still winning.”
The record also holds a certain sentimental feeling for Hoffman, who is nipping at the heels of former Lions outfielder Cass Hargis, who was a volunteer assistant during Hoffman’s sophomore season.
Hargis, who graduated in 2011, departed as Southeastern’s all-time leader in hits, runs and games played before returning to Hammond in 2013.
Hoffman said he hasn’t spoken to Hargis about potentially passing his record, but he knows he’ll probably still hold the hits and runs records over his head.
“(The record is) definitely cool, especially with who I’m chasing,” Hoffman said. “Cass Hargis is a big name to this program. I always looked up to him and always knew who he was.”
Southeastern coach Matt Riser said players like Hoffman are the type who help build a program, and the team will lose a wealth of experience and leadership at the end of the season. But Riser and Hoffman are hoping that loss might come later than expected; Hoffman hopes to stick around as an assistant following graduation in December.
Hoffman’s and Riser’s talks about that have been preliminary at best, both wanting to wait until after the season, but they seem optimistic about the future.
“I think he’ll make a phenomenal coach, and that’s why we had that conversation,” Riser said.
“What do you do when you lose that guy? You try to hire that guy.”