Dodger Farm Report July 14

Add Jamie Hoffman's name to those who chose baseball over another sport. In his case, he's starting to look like one of the more promising. Hoffman was a defenseman, drafted by Carolina of the National Hockey League but Dodger scout Jeff Schugel found him playing American Legion baseball in New Ulm, Minn., the hometown for both of them. Hoffman was persuaded to give up the ice for the diamond; now, instead of checking opponents into the boards, he's slamming base hits in the Gulf Coast League.

The 19-year-old third baseman leads the league in hits (33), runs batted in (21) and triples (5) and is third in batting average (.398). He was doing all of the above Wednesday in leading the Dodgers in a come-from-behind win over the Expos 5-4.

Montreal's entry had jumped to a 4-1 advantage, mostly on two home runs in the first two innings off Javy Guerra before the Dodgers picked away at the lead. Hoffman singled home one run in the fourth, then tripled to start the eighth and score the tying run. It went 10 before Derry Jackson's sacrifice fly with the bases loaded brought home the winner to pull LA to 11-10, two games behind the Mets in the East.

Guerra went four before David Pfeiffer, Chase Bassham and Kalen Gearheart blanked the 'Spos the rest of the way. Pfeiffer allowed only one hit in three innings to lower his ERA to 0.40. Gearheart, an undrafted free agent, pitched the 10th for his first pro victory. Tony Harper doubled and singled and both Jesus Soto and Jackson had a pair of hits to aid the cause.

Elsewhere:

Columbus 5, Savannah 0--Brandon Weeden (6-5) turned in his finest performance yet, going six in which he allowed only two hits. Luis Jimenez slammed his 15th homer, both Mike Nixon and Chin-Lung Hu tripled and singled and Xavier Paul doubled and singled. The Catfish are just one game out in the SAL South.

Daytona 5, Vero Beach 2--The Cubs scored four in the first off Jonathan Broxton (6-5) to decide the game early. Broxton then threw four scoreless and Clint Hosford went four in which only one run counted. Joel Guzman sent his 13th out and Andy LaRoche banged three hits including a double. The Dodgers remained in a first-place tie with Palm Beach (which also lost) in the Florida State East.

Helena 9, Ogden 7--The Raptors have now lost seven of their last nine and in every instance the pitching has been the culprit. Second-round draft pick Blake Johnson (2-1) had been the most reliable starter but not this time as he was ripped for seven runs in 3.2 innings. Chris Westervelt (6), Blake DeWitt (4) and Emilio Marcos (2) all homered for Ogden, which is 11-13 but only 1 1/2 behind in the Pioneer South.

Las Vegas and Jacksonville are scheduled to resume play tonight after taking All-Star breaks.

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