Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


revolving door kind to Hops

It’s the nature of minor league baseball.

The season starts, and you start to get familiar with the players. Then some of them move on and others come in, forcing you to start the process over.

The Hops have not been an exception to that rule this season. But some of the good in that change is that several of the newer players — specifically Steve Nyisztor, Kevin Cron and Stryker Trahan — have also been some of the team’s most impactful since their arrival.

“It’s been good. They came in with good attitudes and ready to work and fit right in,” Hops manager J.R. House said earlier this month. “They’re all good kids, good personalities. We haven’t had any setbacks because of it.”

Of the three, Nyisztor, 23, has been in Hillsboro the longest. And while no pro baseball player comes without a backstory, Nyisztor’s might be one of the most interesting on the squad. The New Jersey native was a high school star and a freshman All-American at Rutgers before struggling academically and eventually dropping out.

Then, after a year of junior college ball in North Carolina, he didn’t get drafted. So he signed with independent Rockland of Pomona, N.Y., and the Can-Am League. After a decent season last year, his first with the Boulders, Nyisztor was batting .341 in 40 games this season before the Arizona Diamondbacks picked up his contract in early July and sent him to Hillsboro.

Though he is naturally a middle infielder, Nyisztor helped shore up a thin Hillsboro outfield at first.

“He’s one of the big reasons why we were able to win the first half, because of his versatility, being able to go into the outfield,” House noted.

He has also been productive at the plate, batting .291 (one of the team’s best averages) through 32 games to go with 22 runs, 37 hits and 16 RBIs.

“I was real eager to prove myself in the beginning, but … the clubhouse environment and the coaching staff is just great that it really makes it easy to play,” Nyisztor said. “Any questions I have or anytime I want to do extra work, there’s about four or five coaches ready to help me out. I’m not doing it by myself.”

Cron, 21, has been a regular at first base since joining the Hops from rookie affiliate Missoula earlier this month. Though he is a first-year pro out of Texas Christian, he is hardly a stranger to professional baseball. His brother plays for the Los Angeles Angels and his father is a hitting coordinator in the Diamondbacks organization who filled him in a little bit about his new town when he was getting transferred.

“I like Hillsboro a lot,” Cron said. “It’s a nice city and we draw good crowds here, too. It’s a beautiful stadium, brand new basically. It’s definitely a place you want to be playing at, for sure, so I’ve had a great time.”

His move up has been beneficial all around, as Cron has given the Hops a true power hitter. At 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds, Cron has played in just 18 games this season (through Tuesday) but he led the team with six home runs. He also was batting .291 with 19 runs, 22 hits and 13 RBIs.

“We’re excited about having him,” House said. “We put him right in the three-hole and like to watch him swing the bat.”

Trahan, an unusual hybrid of a catcher and outfielder, hasn’t been too shabby in the power-hitting department either. In 17 appearances, he was hitting at a .284 clip and posted 11 runs, 19 hits (including six doubles and four home runs) and 13 RBIs.

House said Trahan, 20, a first-round draft pick in 2012, moved down from South Bend to get a little more time at catcher, but he has also shown well for the Hops in the outfield, which House said he started picking up this year.

“He’s in good shape,” House said. “He runs well. He’s a good athlete, so he can do both.”

Nyisztor helped Hillsboro win the first half, and with Trahan and Cron now in tow, the Hops are also making a run at the second-half title. Their continued productivity would suit their manager just fine.

Said House: “We need them to be big parts of our offense and our team in general.”



Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

57°F

Hillsboro

Partly Cloudy

Humidity: 77%

Wind: 3 mph

  • 1 Oct 2014

    Partly Cloudy 67°F 46°F

  • 2 Oct 2014

    Mostly Sunny 73°F 49°F