FAIRFIELD — While 2012 has 26 days left, the Fairfield Expos American Legion baseball team is already set for 2013.
Not waiting for summer to arrive, Expos manager Brad Hanson said the planning for next year starts almost as soon as the season ends.
After having tryouts in October, the Expos coaching staff made its choices and announced them over the weekend.
Hanson said 11 players will return from the team that won the 2012 state championship and reached the Region 8 championship game. The team also added six from the TC Legion junior legion team and one new player from out of town.
With two road trips to Oregon in June, the Expos have to start planning now, making the roster moves necessary, Hanson said.
Chief among the returning players is Fresno State-bound left-hander and staff ace Anthony Arias.
“The centerpiece of the whole thing is Anthony Arias with his scholarship to Fresno State, it’s good to have him back,” Hanson said.
The hope is to bring back slugging third baseman Jacob Booker as well, but if he doesn’t come back, it’s understandable.
“Booker is still a question mark,” Hanson said. “We really hope he gets accepted to the Air Force Academy, and if he does, he’ll have to leave in June. If he gets the call, we understand. We certainly hope he does.”
Also back is catcher Chris Parodi.
“He caught the championship game at the regionals,” Hanson said. “He’s a real quality kid, and he’s still young. He has three years of eligibility left.”
Along with Parodi, Armijo teammate Garlind Webster returns with three years of potential play with the Expos yet to come.
Webster missed the Region 8 Tournament with a broken collarbone sustained during the state tournament.
“They’re both key guys,” Hanson said.
Returning in center field is team captain Gio Torres.
“The real heart of the team is Gio Torres in center field,” Hanson said. “He was probably the most stable, dependable guy on entire team. He’s a real hard worker and a lot of people don’t know this, but he was injured in championship game for regionals.”
Returning players also include infielders Jake Hedrick and Jack Gamba as well as right fielder Mikey Brown, all of whom made contributions in the Expos run to the Regional final.
Pitchers Garrett Weiss, Troy Nixon, Payton Tyler all return as well for the Expos.
“We expect big things from Troy Nixon. He’s real effective. I see him playing a real important role this year,” Hanson said. “Same thing with Payton Tyler. He came on really strong at the end of last year.”
Newcomers from within the system include outfielders Richard Lindsey and Anthony Kaleczyc, shortstop Jason Brasile, pitcher/first baseman Jake Brandt, pitcher Paul Campise and catcher JP San Antonio.
In from out of town – he moved to Fairfield during the summer – is Joey Skinner.
“Skinner, he’s the wild card in this. I really like that kid,” Hanson said. “He’s got a good power swing, hits the ball hard and he can play outfield and first base. He gives us what we need with a left-handed power hitter. He’s kind of my replacement for (aged out slugger Nick) Spini. That’s tough to do.”
Returning in new roles next summer are veteran Expos Casey Towner and Brian Wilson, whom Hanson said will be coaching the program’s 13-and-under team.
“It’s pretty cool they want to stay involved,” Hanson said. “They’re quality kids, and any time you can keep them in the program it’s a win-win for everybody.”
Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.