Berwick’s Mitchell Stanford signs his letter of intent to play baseball at LSU Wednesday at the school. With him are his family, Raegan Sanford, Dan Sanford and Novalyn Sanford. (The Daily Review/Corwin Murray)
Family joined Zeph Hoffpauir as he signed a national letter of intent Wednesday at Berwick to play college baseball at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. They include Keaton Bella, Chad Bella, Cru Bella, Layf Bella, Wren Bella, Jeremy Hoffpauir and Stacy Hoffpauir. (The Daily Review/Corwin Murray)
Berwick's Sanford headed to LSU, Hoffpauir to ULL
It will not be a house divided when the LSU and ULL baseball teams battle for bragging rights in the state the next few years. In fact, before Berwick High’s Mitchell Sanford and Zeph Hoffpauir could sign their national letters of intent to play college baseball at LSU and ULL, respectively, their family came draped in half red and half purple attire.
The first cousins and best friends have dreamed of this day for a long time.
“This means the world to us,” Sanford said. “We’ve dreamed about this since we were little kids, and with all the positive feedback from this community and our families, this has been great.”
Sanford, a talented quarterback, just finished helping lead the Berwick football to the state playoffs for the third straight year.
Sanford finished his football career throwing for more than 6,600 yards and 74 touchdowns and rushing for more than 1,000 yards and 17 touchdowns.
“I thought about playing football (in college), but once I started getting recruited in baseball, I knew it was baseball and LSU,” Sanford said. “Once I toured LSU’s classrooms and study halls, really all the facilities are amazing.”
Sanford likely will play in the outfield for the purple and gold.
“I know I have to work on my bat if I want to stay on the field in college,” Sanford said.
As a junior, Sanford batted .370 with 12 doubles, five triples, one home run, 29 RBIs and 13 stolen bases. He also scored 37 runs.
In the outfield, he had an .871 fielding percentage.
Sanford also excelled on the mound where he finished 7-1 with a 0.94 ERA. In 53.2 innings, he surrendered 17 runs (seven earned) on 29 hits with 17 walks and 68 strikeouts.
Following the season, he earned multiple honors. He was named a second-team selection on the American Family Insurance ALLUSA Louisiana Baseball Team, which picks its teams from all of the state’s players, regardless of class. He also was a first-team Class 3A All-State recognition by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, all-region and Class 3A All-State honors from the Louisiana Baseball Coaches Association and was a first-team All-District 8-3A selection.
As a sophomore, he was an honorable mention All-District 8-3A selection.
Hoffpauir will join one of the state’s best baseball teams in ULL.
“It feels really great to sign with them (ULL),” Hoffpauir said. “It’s really a great program with great coaches. I just want to go in there and make an impact. I just want to help us win.”
Hoffpauir will play first base and may pitch when he lands in Lafayette.
Hoffpauir says Wednesday’s signing celebration was outstanding but winning the state championship last season was the cousins’ greatest accomplishment.
“Winning that championship was a total team effort,” he said. “We knew we were pretty good, but you go through a lot mentally and physically during the season and getting through playoffs can seem overwhelming and once you get it done, it’s the greatest feeling in the world.”
Hoffpauir earned multiple honors following his junior season. He was a first-team All-District 8-3A selection, both a Louisiana Baseball Coaches Association all-region and Class 3A All-State pick and a Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 3A honorable mention All-State selection.
He batted .349 with eight doubles and six home runs. He had 39 RBIs, seven stolen bases and scored 39 runs.
Defensively, Hoffpauir had a .957 fielding percentage.