Hoffpauir finalist for La. Mr. Baseball

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 10, 2001

The Associated Press

Vidalia’s Jarrett Hoffpauir was one of a record four nominations for the Louisiana Sports Writers Mr. Baseball Award.

He was joined by Lake Charles outfielder Austin Nagle, catcher Jonathan Zeringue of E.D. White Catholic in Thibodaux and J.C. Holt of Oak Hill.

One thing the Louisiana Sports Writers Association traditionally opposes is Co-Most Valuable Player selections in any sport, but there are times when traditions must be set aside – if only briefly. That’s why the LSWA is honoring both Nagle and Zeringue with its 2001 Mr. Baseball award.

It marks the second straight season Nagle has received the award, which is given to the state’s top player each spring. It has never been shared by two players.

Nagle and Zeringue both put up numbers worthy of this honor and many others. Zeringue was voted the Class 3A MVP after leading the Cardinals to their fourth straight state title. The 6-foot-3 Zeringue hit .514 with 13 home runs and 56 runs batted in.

Incredibly, Zeringue had a 1.143 slugging percentage.

He also was 5-0 as a pitcher, including a 2.05 earned run average. Zeringue was drafted in the third round by the Chicago White Sox.

”It (winning the Mr. Baseball award) is a surprise,” Zeringue said. ”There was a lot of good competition around the state.”

Although individual awards are nice, Zeringue said he will cherish his teammates. ”Before we started playing, we were not all friends. But after we started playing together we were not only friends, but more like brothers.”

Nagle’s accomplishments were just as impressive as he led the Bucs to their third Class 5A title in four seasons. The 6-0 outfielder hit .485 with four home runs, 47 RBIs and 61 runs scored from the leadoff spot.

Those numbers and a career batting average of .523 helped Nagle become a sixth-round draft choice by the Oakland Athletics. The fact that Nagle capped his career with a game-winning home run in the bottom of the seventh inning in the 5A title game didn’t hurt, either.

”When you go to a high school program like Barbe, you don’t know what to expect as far as what kind of impact you are going to make,” Nagle said. ”But I just work hard and try to do whatever I can to help the team win.”

Like Zeringue, Nagle says he will remember his senior season fondly. ”This one (state title) we’ll remember apart from the rest because people had said we could win it this year. But it was a great tournament. I think every game with the exception of one was decided by one run and we just can out on top.”

And now ultimately, Nagle and Zeringue end their prep careers with Louisiana’s top award.

Here are the winners of the Mr. Baseball award given each year to Louisiana’s top player by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.

2001 – Austin Nagle, Barbe and Jonathan Zeringue, E.D. White

2000 – Austin Nagle, Barbe

1999 – Nick Bourgeois, Barbe

1998 – Aaron Lowe, Parkway

1997 – Chucky Son, Parkview Baptist

1996 – Joe Lawrence, Barbe