Dansby Swanson and Hillsboro Hops Win NWL Championship


Dansby Swanson is a Champion. With the Hillsboro Hops. We dream he’ll be a World Champion one day. For now, the future of the Arizona Diamondbacks is a Champion of the Northwest. Swanson is only one ball player on the Hops team that took their 2nd consecutive Northwest League Championship. The Dbacks’ Single-A affiliate is a budding dynasty.

In the first round of the playoffs, the Hops fought off the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes to take the Northwest League South division. After both sides took a game, the series went to the decisive final contest. Hillsboro took a one run lead into the 9th only to surrender two runs. In the bottom half of the inning, the Hops tied things up. It took 13 innings, but Dansby Swanson sent the Hops the NWL Championship series with a bases loaded fly ball.

Just one night after those heroics, Hillsboro was right back at it, this time for all the marbles. The Hops were matched up against Tri City Dust Devils and Game 1 was a stalemate. In the 8th inning, the Hops broke a 1-1 tie and were able to hang on for a 2-1 lead. Although Hillsboro immediately scored two runs in Game 2, the Dust Devils tacked on runs consistently throughout the game to seal a 4-2 victory.

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The final game of the NWL season would take place on Sunday night at Tri City. The theatrics would not be needed as Hillsboro exploded for a four-run 2nd inning. That would prove to be enough run support. The bullpen featured three 2015 MLB Draft picks (Cameron Gann, Alex Young, Taylor Clarke) that were all scoreless. At the end of it all, the Hops were victorious 6-1 and added more hardware to their trophy case.

The roster was rich in intrigue leading off with the #1 overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, Dansby Swanson. 2nd round pick Alex Young was a stout member of the bullpen. 2014 2nd round draft pick Cody Reed had a good year with Hillsboro and started a couple of games in the playoffs. Jeferson Mejia was acquired in the Miguel Montero trade, but didn’t appear in the playoffs.

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If there’s one player that flying under the radar, it’s 2015 3rd round pick Taylor Clarke. From the College of Charleston, Clarke is establishing himself as a dominant arm. With the regular season and playoffs combined, Clarke has pitched 23 scoreless innings, while striking out 30. Yes, Clarke has yet to give up a run in his professional career.

Here are the regular season numbers for the top prospects, as well as other notable performances.

Top 30 Prospects

  • Dansby Swanson (1) SS
    • .289 AVG, 1 HR, 11 RBI
  • Alex Young (6) LHP
    • 0-0, 1.50 ERA, 5 K, 1 SV
  • Cody Reed (11) LHP
    • 5-4, 3.27 ERA, 72 K
  • Sergio Alcantara (19) SS
    • .253 AVG, 1 HR, 23 RBI
  • Jeferson Mejia (20) RHP
    • 6-4, 4.47 ERA, 52 K
  • Taylor Clarke (25) RHP
    • 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 27 K, 3 SV

Notable Players