The Hillsboro Hops have announced their guests for the 4th Annual Hillsboro Hops Fund Banquet to be held on Thursday, January 26th at Northwest Events & Environments in Hillsboro at 5:30 PM. Confirmed as speaking at the event include three members of Hillsboro's 2014 Northwest League Championship team: left handed pitchers Zac Curtis and Jared Miller, and catcher Elvin Soto.
Banquet tickets are available now at www.hillsborohops.com/banquet, or by calling the front office at (503) 640-0887.
Curtis pitched for the Hops for the entire 2014 season, and was named to the 2014 NWL All-Star team. As the closer for Hillsboro, he set the franchise record for saves in a season (14) which still stands today. He also recorded the save in each of Hillsboro's four playoff victories on the way to the 2014 title.
He shot through the Arizona Diamondbacks' system and made history in 2016 when he became the first ever former Hop to be promoted to, and pitch for the Diamondbacks. He was just the second former Hop to scale the mountain, just behind Aaron Blair's debut with the Atlanta Braves.
He spent close to three months in the big leagues before finishing the season in Double-A. He was traded in November of 2016 to the Seattle Mariners as part of the deal that sent pitcher Taijuan Walker to Arizona.
Miller pitched in Hillsboro in parts of 2014 and 2015 as a starting pitcher. He played a pivotal role in Game 1 of the 2014 NWL Championship Series, and started the 2015 NWL-Pioneer League All-Star Game in Spokane. He was promoted to Kane County in August of 2015 where he finished the season.
He reported to spring training in 2016 where the D-backs told him he would be moving to the bullpen. Now a tall left-handed reliever, Miller flew through the system, pitching in Long-A Kane County, Advanced-A Visalia, Double-A Mobile, and Triple-A Reno all in one season. His cumulative numbers across four levels in 2016: 0-2, 2.64 ERA with 80 strikeouts in 61.1 innings. Hitters batted a meager .169 against him.
His strong regular-season performance earned him a trip to the prestigious Arizona Fall League where he became the breakout star of the circuit. In 18.1 innings in the AFL, Miller allowed six hits and walked four while striking out 30. He did not allow a single run while putting himself firmly on the major league radar for 2017.
Soto played for the Hops in the 2013 and 2014 seasons, being named a NWL All-Star in the 2014 season. Over the course of his two seasons in Washington County, Soto logged 78 hits, including 19 doubles, 6 triples, 4 home runs and 30 runs batted in.
He continued with the D-backs organization into 2015 and then played in independent ball for a season. He signed a contract with the Colorado Rockies on December 16, 2016 and will report to Spring Training in February.
Soto was a fan favorite in his two years in Hillsboro, contributing meaningfully to the team's inaugural season, as well as their first championship.
Welcome back to Hillsboro Zac, Jared and Elvin!