By STEVE KRAH
Bryan Hoeing has been pushed as an athlete and a person throughout his life.
And that’s the way he likes it.
Now a 22-year-old right-handed pitcher in the Miami Marlins minor league system, Hoeing grew up as the youngest son of a mother who was a standout athlete in her time then a coach and educator.
Donna (Lamping) Hoeing is in the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. She was a standout at Batesville (Ind.) High School and Ball State University and then coached at Batesville.
When Bryan was 3 (brother Mike is two years older), his father John died of a seizure and Donna was left to raise the two youngsters.
“I like to say I got some athletic genes from her,” says Bryan Hoeing of his mother. “She was single parent, raising me and my brother.
“She found time to make us better athletes and people.”
Donna Hoeing retired two years ago after more than 30 years as a math teacher.
Bryan Hoeing’s head baseball coach at Batesville High School was Alex Davis. With the Bulldogs, Bryan was an Under Armour All-American (2014), ranked No. 131 in his class as well as fourth overall and No. 3 as right-handed pitcher in Indiana by Perfect Game (2015).
He was all-state and a Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference MVP as a junior (2014). The 6-foot-6 athlete earned four letters in baseball and basketball, where he was all-state on the court and also academic all-state.
Besides his mother, sibling and high school coaches, Bryan learned from other coaches and teammates, playing youth baseball in Batesville then the Indiana Bulls travel organization during his teens. Some of his Bulls coaches were Rick Stiner, Quinn Moore, Todd Bacon, Dan Held, Jered Moore and Tony Cookerly.
“I met a lot of great coaches,” says Hoeing. “They helped me develop my craft as a baseball player. My teammates pushed me. They made me want to work even harder.
“(The Bulls) gave me exposure to the college world.”
When it came time to choose a place to play college baseball, Hoeing decided to go about two hours down the road at the University of Louisville, where his mother, brother and extended family and friends could see him play, and be led by head coach Dan McDonnell and pitching coach Roger Williams.
“(McDonnell) did a very good job of motivating us. He said this program is not for everybody. It’s for the right people. You have to buy into his system and trust the way he coaches. It definitely works out.”
Hoeing was selected three times in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft — 2015 by the Arizona Diamondbacks (32nd round), 2018 by the San Francisco Giants (36th round) and 2019 by the Miami Marlins (seventh round).
The lanky righty was a redshirt at Louisville in 2016 and pitched for the Cardinals for three seasons (2017-19). He appeared in 52 games (14 starts) and went 10-4 with a 3.34 earned run average, 130 strikeouts and 50 walks in 139 2/3 innings.
In 2019 at U of L, Hoeing took the mound in 22 games (five starts) and was 3-2 with a 2.66 ERA, 61 strikeouts and 12 walks in 50 2/3 innings.
Throwing from a three-quarter overhand arm angle, Hoeing employs a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, cutter, curveball and change-up.
The curveball breaks 1-to-7 on the clock.
“It’s not a true 12-to-6,” says Hoeing. “My change-up dives late. It goes down and in to a righty and down and away to a lefty.”
Hoeing opted to return to Louisville for 2019 to complete his sport administration degree and to reach some teach goals. The Cards (51-18) won the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title and made it to the College World Series.
Each fall around Thanksgiving, the Louisville squad is split into two groups and competes in team-building activities known as a the “Omaha Challenge.”
“It’s mentally and physically tough,” says Hoeing. “It’s mind over matter. You push yourself and push your teammates because there are times during the season that you’ll have to do that.
“You have to believe and trust in the process.”
Like McDonnell, Hoeing describes Williams’ approach as business-like.
“He wants you to get your work done and be consistent,” says Hoeing. “Roger was really good with approach. He’s a mastermind with pitch calling and what to do in certain situations. He helps you with the mental side of pitching.
“(McDonnell and Williams) are very advanced for the college level.”
The Marlins assigned Hoeing to the New York-Penn League’s Batavia (N.Y.) Muckdogs. In eight games (all in relief), he is 0-2 with a 4.26 ERA, 14 strikeouts and five walks in 19 innings. Batavia is in the thick of the pennant race. The regular season ends Sept. 2. If the Muckdogs make the playoffs, they could play until mid-September.
Marlins instructional league in Florida is scheduled for Sept. 8-27 and Hoeing has been told to attend. After that, he says he will likely come back to Batesville, seek an off-season job and find a place to work out while getting ready for 2020.
Now that Hoeing is a pro, baseball is his job. Most of his waking hours is devoted to it. He is learning about people from other countries and what it’s like to get one day off a month and to ride on buses for long distances.
“All around, it’s been good,” says Hoeing. “I’m adjusting to it well.”
Hoeing has also been helped along his baseball path by Alex Meyer, a cousin from his father’s side of the family (Alex’s mother Sandy was a sister to John Hoeing).
Meyer, a 6-foot-9 right-hander, went to Greensburg (Ind.) High School, the University of Kentucky pitched for three seasons in the big leagues with the Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Angels and retired in June.
“He helped me with the approach to the game, the mindset and how you go about your day,” says Hoeing of Meyer. “You trust your stuff. You don’t ever doubt your ability. You believe in yourself.”
Bryan Hoeing, a graduate of Batesville (Ind.) High School and the University of Louisville, is now a pitcher in the Miami Marlins system. (Batavia Muckdogs Photo)