Posted January 11, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

Express partner with Conn. team

By Tommy Keeler Jr.

The Strasburg Express announced that its Valley Baseball League franchise has entered a partnership with the Connecticut Titans of the Collegiate Baseball League.

The Titans will act as a "farm team" to the Express, including sending them players during the summer when they need them. All moves are subject to approval from the individual players and their college coaches, but any players moving would remain with the Express for the duration of the summer season.

"It's going to give us another set of eyes," Strasburg Director of Player Personnel Parker Neal said. "It gets our name out there. One big advantage it gives us is if we lose players during the summer they will send us some of their players. Sort of like a band aid for us, rather then me having to scramble around to find somebody else."

The CBL is a wooden bat league which has a six-week schedule. Neal said the league was comparable to the Rockingham County Baseball League, except with more college players playing in the league.

The Titans will help the Express with scouting and recruiting and gives them more options when looking to fill out their roster. The Titans operate under the charter and mission of USA Baseball, while also running baseball programs for players starting at age 12 (12U, 14U, 16U and 18U).

Duke Dickerson and Marc Russo own and operate the Titans. Dickerson graduated from Virginia Tech and pitched in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. The Titans manager is Tony Wilmot is a graduate of Texas Christian University and his assistant Roger Dean is a former member of the Detriot Tigers organization.

The Titans had a similar deal with a team in another league, but felt the VBL and the Express would be a better fit for their organization. Neal said he and his father, Jay, knew Dickerson and thought it would be a great move for the Express.

The Express will be the first team in the VBL to do this, but Parker Neal said the league is fine with the arrangement.

Parker Neal said the Express already has a full roster, but they expect to lose some players as it gets closer to the season. As of now there are no Connecticut Titans on the team, but Neal said he's sure there will be at some point this season. The Express has one local player on the team on the 2013 roster -- Sherando graduate Tre Porter.

The Express made the VBL playoffs last year in only their second year of existence.

Contact assistant sports editor Tommy Keeler Jr. at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com

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