Originally written on Oregon Sports News  |  Last updated 11/18/14
As we get closer to the Hillsboro Hops opening day on June 14th, players and sports fans everywhere are beginning to shift focus to all things baseball.  With MLB season underway, young minor league players throughout the country are vying for the chance to play professionally someday, and for many, the dream is not far out of reach. Every year, players from the minors are brought up to major league play.  Nothing shines like the heart of a minor league player, fueled by passion and fire to turn what they love into their very own reality. The Hillsboro Hops (formerly the Yakima Bears) continue to produce solid players at the A- level. Just this week, Northwest fans witnessed past Bears players play excellent baseball both defensively and at the plate.  Franchise alumni Wade Miley, who played for the Bears in 2008, led the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 3-1 win over the Brewers on Friday with 8 strikeouts. Miley, who played for the Northwest League in 2008, posted a 4.91 ERA in the minors, and has consistently improved his stats as he worked his way up to major league play. Veteran Bears player Shane Victorino, who played for the team in 2000, has bounced between minor and major league play since the San Diego Padres drafted him in 2003.  However, Victorino settled comfortably into his new team last Monday, helping carry the Boston Red Sox to an 8-2 win over longtime rival New York Yankees.   While there have been many skeptics surrounding Victorino’s ability to produce for the Red Sox, his three RBIs and two hits on Monday spoke differently.  Victorino is batting .345 this season thus far. Yet another Northwest League veteran, Carlos Gonzalez, has posted notable at-bats for the Colorado Rockies since their season opener last week.  Batting third in the lineup for the Rockies, we have watched Gonzalez become quite the hitter since the Colorado team drafted him in 2009.  Not only a threat at the plate, Gonzalez was the recipient of the Golden Glove Award for the National League in 2012 for his infallible defense in left field.  As a league, the Northwest continues to produce future Major League All-Stars, preparing players for professional baseball and fueling young players’ dreams of someday playing for their favorite team.  New to the Portland area, residents of Hillsboro will now have the opportunity to watch these rising stars.  With a newly finished stadium, a unique coaching staff and some very eager players, the Hops look to shine this season.  Summer is in the air, and with the sunshine comes some great times at the ballpark. 
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