New season for Hillsboro Hops begins Friday night
HILLSBORO, Ore. (KPTV) - Minor league fun with big league dreams; the Hillsboro Hops - the Single-A Advanced affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, are gearing up for Opening Night this Friday.
The boys of summer are back in town, in the spring, as it’s “One Vine” for season nine for the hometown nine of the Hops.
“It feels normal again. This is what we knew before 2020 hit,” said Hops manager, Vince Harrison.
Harrison is back to skipper squad for his second season and their first full foray into a 132-game High-A season.
“I think you are going to see guys that are closer to the big leagues than what they have traditionally seen,” he said. “But there is still some growth but there is a lot of experience and excitement, and it’s always fun to watch these guys early in their career and you look up a few years later on TV and they are doing well.”
The Hops Opening Day roster features 19 returners to Hillsboro and 11 newcomers, including a hometown star on the diamond of big league dreams.
“I get to play professional baseball, I get to do it at home, can’t ask for anything else. It’s going to be good,” said Tim Tawa, from West Linn.
Tawa was drafted out of Stanford last July, and the four-time Gatorade State Player of the Years for the Lions in football and baseball couldn’t have crafted a better spot to be.
“When I committed to play baseball at Stanford, I knew that’s what I wanted to do and what I wanted to pursue professionally at some point, and again getting to live out that dream right now and getting to do it here in Oregon with family that is going to get to watch and friends, it’s pretty surreal. It’s pretty cool,” Tawa said.
Sunset season is here at the “hoppiest” place on earth - Ron Tonkin Field, which will expand to grow the game in 2024 and beyond.
“What we are doing is we are setting it up doing construction to make this ballpark indispensable to Major League Baseball.” said Hops owner Mike McMurray. “The plans we have, we think we will have a ballpark that can fit at any level. Possibly not Major League, but we want this to be the premiere ballpark in the Minor League system.”
The three-time league champs begin chase of the 2022 Northwest League pennant on Friday night to open up a nine-game homestand. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m., and Opening Night will be capped off with fireworks.
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