FAIRFIELD — The season’s barely over for the Fairfield Expos American Legion and TC Legion Junior Legion teams, but already changes are in the offing for the parent Fairfield Expos Baseball Association.
The biggest change, according to a release, is combining of the organization’s 15-and-under Lions and Rams teams into one.
“FEBA is going to stop expanding and will actually tighten the program making it more elite than it already is,” Expos president Brad Hanson said in the release. “We do not want to keep growing whereas we become too big to give proper attention to the individual player and fail to provide ample field time for any particular team.”
That still leaves FEBA with the Expos, TC Legion, the 14-U Tigers and the Eagles and Cobras in the spring Junior High School League.
Hanson added that the organization is working out plans for September through January, with an emphasis on skill development.
“It is our belief that too many games throughout the year (without individual skill work) is not as good as a structured approach,” Hanson said.
After an injury-riddled season, the defending state champion Expos saw their season end with an 0-2 showing in the District 5 tournament.
It helps ease the pain that Petaluma, this year’s District 5 champ, went on to win the Area 1 tournament and is the lone unbeaten team left in this year’s state tournament now underway at Yountville.
Should Petaluma go on to win the title it will be the first time that District 5 will have had back-to-back state champions.
“I guess this helps put our league (District 5) in perspective,” Hanson said in an e-mail. “We have one helluva tough league and everybody knows it. You have to be real good to survive in our district.”
With 19 players eligible to return in 2014, the Expos hope to avoid a repeat of this season’s difficulties.
“We will do a lot of work over the next few months and a complete re-evaluation of players, with interviews for all 2013 players eligible to return, as well as new prospects,” Hanson said. “There are no guarantees. Out of the 22 players on the 2013 team we have 19 players eligible to return, but intend to have no more than 14 back, thus enabling us to take a giant step up the ladder in quality, commitment, work ethic and dedication.”
According to Hanson, plans for next season include either a trip to Billings, Mont., or three tournament stops, including either Boise, Idaho, or Eugene, Ore., as part of a swing through Alaska.
“All these would involve great excursions and lots of fun outside of the baseball side of it,” Hanson said.
There is also the possibility of an 8-10 team combination league with the Expos playing Yolo Post 77, Fair Oaks, Lodi and several Sacramento squads with wood bats used for league play.
TC Legion might also be involved in a combination league, according to the release, with between 12-14 teams and wood bats used.
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.