SHENANDOAH JUNCTION — Tommy Hoffmaster thought he was just heading over to Jefferson County Little League’s baseball and softball complex on Saturday to meet up with league officials and chat a little regarding league business in general.
Little did this 72-year-old gentleman know it was all a set-up. There was a bit of a surprise waiting for him.
As he walked toward the concession area, Hoffmaster was greeted by league members and members of the Giants’ team he coaches. They all pointed to a newly-erected sign on the back of the Majors field pressbox, which now bears his name.
“As of today, May 22, 2021, the Majors field at JCLL will now be known as Hoffmaster Field,” Martha Sager JCLL secretary, said. “Tommy, you will forever be Giant in the history of JCLL.”
Hoffmaster, who has coached in the league for 36 years, starting in 1986, admitted he was pleasantly blind-sided by this honor.
“I wasn’t expecting this,” Hoffmaster said. “There’s a lot of hard-working people in this league.”
At first, it was a little hard trying to keep this a secret. Some of his players gathered in the area behind the main pressbox in plain view, so they were asked to stand behind some nearby cars in order to
Saturday’s event came a year later than originally planned.
“This has been a long time in the making,” Sager said. “The board of JCLL started planning this dedication as part of Opening Day, 2020. Unfortunately, COVID-19 put a damper on our plans. The same happened for Opening Day, 2021.”
Sager said even though two opening days had passed with no ceremonies, there was no way the league was going to let the current season end without this dedication and ceremony taking place.
“He’s such a great coach,” Connor Engle, a utility player for the Giants, said.
Nicholas Wilson, who also played for the Giants under Hoffmaster’s leadership from 2010-12, said Hoffmaster was a very hard worker, dedicated to the game.
“He was always willing to help out in the program,” Wilson, now 22, said. “He knows the game so well.”
Over the past 36 years, Hoffmaster has coached 23 all-star teams. His teams made the state tournament in 1990, 1997 and 2014.
“He’s certainly earned this honor,” Greg Sager, JCLL president, said. “Tommy is such a great person, dedicated to these kids.”
Hoffmaster has also served as a board member, serving as equipment manager for 10 years.
Greg Stevens, a longtime friend of Hoffmaster, played against him in softball in their younger days. The pair graduated from the now-defunct Harpers Ferry High School.
“He’s such a great individual,” Stevens said.
Hoffmaster, still full of energy and enjoys coaching and working with the young baseball players, wouldn’t do anything different if he had to do it all over again.
“It’s been fun, “ he said.