TRAER — Cameron Hoeg has spent much of the past five years working to acquire a handful of tools to take with him to the ballpark.
The North Tama senior has developed power and speed to complement his strong arm, natural instincts at shortstop and ability to hit for average. His contributions have helped lead the Redhawks to a 65-16 record over the past three seasons, including his 23-5 mark on the pitcher’s mound.
“He has great baseball knowledge and is a real sharp player on the field,” North Tama coach Dan Kopriva said. “I can’t say enough about this kid.
“What I really like about him is that he’s an all-around player. There’s not one phase of the game that he does bad. When you think of a five-tool player, if you have three out of five of them, you’re a heck of a player. I think he’s got all of them.”
Hoeg’s strength and speed work, in particular, have shown in the boxscores over the past two seasons with 47 of his 87 hits going for extra bases. He already has three home runs and ranks among the state leaders with 31 RBIs to support a .477 batting average.
“It’s a lot of pride, actually,” Hoeg said, addressing his versatile skillset. “I’ve been working really hard at it for the last five years.”
Hoeg has supplemented high school baseball with a couple seasons on Perfect Game Select teams and also a year playing for the Iowa SWAT. Following this final summer of high school baseball, Hoeg plans to continue his career at Ellsworth Community College as both a position player and pitcher.
It’s a road that has been traveled by multiple ballplayers in the Hoeg family. Cameron’s dad, Jeff, played baseball at Ellsworth and North Tama. He also has three uncles who played baseball at the collegiate level and his cousin, Matt Hoeg, has gone from Iowa Western Community College to a regular starter on Iowa’s baseball team.
“He’s been a really big role-model,” Cameron said of his cousin. “He comes down with his dad and hits with us and the high school team sometimes.
“They really said that I should go somewhere for college that I know I’ll get playing time so I can advance on further after that.”
Certainly, Hoeg remains driven to see how far he can elevate himself through the baseball ranks. One example of his ability to make adjustments is a sinking fastball that has proven tough to hit.
Hoeg has struck out 63 batters in 38 innings with a 0.73 ERA this season after posting a 0.69 ERA with 117 strikeouts in 81 innings a year ago.
“I’ve changed grips a couple times over the years and I finally found this one that was a little more consistent and moving,” Hoeg said.
Added Kopriva, “When he’s pitching, we have a chance to beat just about any team.”
Hoeg joins fellow senior Cael Kopriva as two of the more vocal leaders on this year’s Redhawks squad that has won its last 10 games. Similar to Hoeg, his coach Dan Kopriva has faith he’ll find success beyond high school baseball.
“I think he’s just driven to doing the best he can and hopefully climbing levels,” Kopriva said. “I really look forward to seeing him playing at higher levels. He’s got so much potential.”