Fairfield Expos set roster for upcoming season

By From page B1 | January 08, 2014

FAIRFIELD — Twenty players and one goal: chemistry.

The Fairfield Expos Baseball Association announced its 2014 rosters recently and 19-under manager Brad Hanson said this season’s oldest squad, the Fairfield Expos American Legion team, wasn’t too difficult to pick. It was about finding the players that fit best together.

“It’s a process,” Hanson said, Tuesday. “I wouldn’t say it’s difficult, just time consuming. All roads lead to the same place. Once you’re through the process, it’s evident who you want on the team. You pretty much know their abilities, that’s one side of it, but also how they fit socially and the chemistry side of it. You want a group that blends well together.

“We started with a consideration list of about 37 players. We quickly whittled that down to 24. We then focused on them with interviews and ascertained who was the best fit.”

That strategy has worked well for the Expos in recent years, winning a state championship in 2012 and coming within one win of the American Legion World Series. Last season the Expos won the District 5 regular season title before being eliminated in the district tournament.

“Potentially, they are right there with any other team,” Hanson continued. “You have to travel with them until you know for sure. At the surface, we’re pretty much parallel to the last couple of years.  This year we’ve got a couple of guys that have been around a while, but no four-year guys.

“The key will be the young guys on this team. If they can contribute this year, we will be fine.”

Hanson said in a press release that “the 2014 season will be challenging, with the team scheduled to head north three times. The first will be to play in the Willamette Classic, at Willamette University, in Salem, Ore. The second will be to play a three-game series in Eureka, and then it will be off to Corvallis, Ore., to play at Oregon State University in a showcase select tournament, with teams from five western states.”

The manager said having these trips is important for the team to build that chemistry, though the team will need to find a pitcher that can become the Expos’ ace.

“I would say the strength will be the chemistry, a good group of guys to build off each others strengths,” Hanson said. “That will be the strength. Does that win championships? That in itself doesn’t, but that’s the cherry on top.

“From a talent perspective, we don’t have overpowering pitchers, but we a have a lot of good pitchers. We can’t match a really good pitcher with a really good one of our own. We might have a tough time (against a top-notch pitcher).”

If recent seasons are any indication, the Expos will find a way.

Reach Brian Arnold at 427-6969 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barnolddr.

Brian Arnold

Brian Arnold

1992 graduate of San Francisco State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism.

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