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West Linn native and Stanford alum Tim Tawa was promoted to Double-A Amarillo June 23.

PMG PHOTO: JOHN LARIVIERE - Hillsboro's Ryan Bliss got his bat working this past week despite the team dropping 4-of-6 games to Vancouver, hitting .304 while stealing four bases.
Movin' on. That's the theme of this past week's Hops action as the minor-league team finished-up the first half of the 2022 season, while one of its best and most prominent players was promoted to Double-A Amarillo.

After dropping four-of-six games to Vancouver, Hillsboro ended the first half with a 29-35 record and in last place in the High-A West standings. But with the slate wiped clean, the team and its manager are excited to start anew with heightened goals for the second-half's 66 games.

"That's something we actually talked about with some of the guys who didn't have the first half they may have wanted," Hops manager Vince Harrison said. "A lot of organizations, especially ours (Arizona Diamondbacks), looks into that first half versus second half to see where the was improvement, but also it kind of puts you in a situation to finish better than you started.

"It sounds a little cliché, but it's definitely true."

One of those players headed for a fresh start is second-year-pro and West Linn native Tim Tawa who was promoted to Double-A Amarillo June 23.

The Stanford University and West Linn High School alum batted .282 with eight home runs and 30 RBI in Hillsboro this season, and did so while playing multiple positions including outfield, second base and a little bit of shortstop.

Tawa got the news from Harrison following what had been a tough Thursday game in front of his parents who were in attendance. The manager said it was a good way to end what had been an otherwise tough home loss to the Canadians.

"I met his dad for the first time and I told him, 'it's nice to finally meet you in person and I'm about to promote your son to Double-A,'" Harrison said. "His dad asked if I could do so in front of them and I said absolutely. I called him over and we started talking about all of the things I'd challenged him with along the way, then I told him he was being promoted and his emotion just changed because he had been frustrated, but then he was excited for the opportunity. It was pretty cool."

Tawa was joined by shortstop Elvis Peralta and pitcher Kenny Hernandez who too were promoted to Amarillo this past week.

Joining the Hops was Neyfy Castillo who returned from the 7-day injured list, along with righthanded pitcher Brent Teller and second baseman Fox Semones who arrived to fill the void.

PMG PHOTO: JOHN LARIVIERE - Hillsboro Hops pitcher Andrew Saalfrank during the team's game against Vancouver Thursday, June 23, at Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro.Semones, a 24-year-old independent league player, comported himself well in his first action with the Hops, playing in all six games and going 4-for-12 with five RBI. Harrison—who played a little independent ball himself towards the end of his playing career—said he's been impressed with Semones and added that he believes he can provide something valuable to the club.

"I always appreciate those guys because most of them either have been released from an affiliate or never had an opportunity to play for an affiliate," the manager said. "So, they tend to have a bit of a chip on their shoulder and that's always good for a clubhouse. Some guys need to realize that there are guys out there that want it bad."

Ortiz has been everywhere from Low-A to Triple-A over the past year and was 5-for-16 with a home run and five RBI against Vancouver. Harrison spoke to his versatility as a strength, along with his attitude which has ingratiated him to the team.

"He's just one of those guys that just plays hard and bounces around," Harrison said. "Everyone is just always happy for him."

Tristan English also had a nice week, batting .364 with two doubles and four RBI. And Ryan Bliss—who was a second round pick out of Auburn in 2021—has begun to get his bat going after a difficult first couple of months, hitting .304 in six games and subsequently raising his average 33 points in June.

"He's continuing to work through stuff," Harrison said. "I think he's starting to trust things a bit more. No put so much value on the result, but more into the preparation in trying to get good pitches and being on time…things that have stopped him from being more successful."

Now, having started the second half of the season 1-2, the Hops will travel to Tri-City before returning home July 4 for a series with the Eugene Emeralds.

The Hops' Fourth of July game with the Ems is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and will be followed by fireworks.

Last week's results...

Hillsboro 6, Vancouver 2

Vancouver 4, Hillsboro 2

Vancouver 10, Hillsboro 7

Vancouver 5, Hillsboro 3

Vancouver 8, Hillsboro 4

Hillsboro 8, Vancouver 3

High-A West First Half Final Standings

Eugene 38-25

Spokane 34-30

Everett 31-34

Vancouver 30-33

Tri-City 29-34

Hillsboro 29-35

Who's hot...

Tristan English batted .364 with two doubles and four RBI in six games versus the Canadians.

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