Strasburg Express ranked No. 8 in nation

Strasburg manager Butch Barnes talks with the umpire on a foul ball call during playoff ation against Purcellville on July 29 at First Bank Park.   Rich Cooley/Daily file

Strasburg manager Butch Barnes talks with the umpire on a foul ball call during playoff ation against Purcellville on July 29 at First Bank Park. Rich Cooley/Daily file

STRASBURG – The Valley Baseball League season has been over for several weeks, but the honors keep rolling in for the league champion Strasburg Express.

The Express finished ranked No. 8 in the country in the Collegiate Summer Baseball Top 35 final rankings. Strasburg manager Butch Barnes said it was a great honor for the Express.

“To the players and the franchise I think it means a lot,” Barnes said. “That’s pretty prestigious as far as I’m concerned to be ranked in the nation in collegiate summer leagues.”

The Express led the North Division from start to finish and had the best record in the league for almost the entire way. They finished 36-13 (a .735 win percentage) for the season, including playoffs. Strasburg went 30-12 in the regular season and then 6-1 in the playoffs.

The Express swept the Waynesboro Generals, 2-0, in the championship series. It is Strasburg’s second straight VBL championship.

Barnes said it was a special year and a special team.

“Just the quality of young men that we had. Not only their baseball talents but just them being good people,” Barnes said of what stood out to him about the season. “They were a very enjoyable group of young men to be around. And, oh by the way,  they could play baseball, too. It makes it fun when you got all the pieces to the puzzle, and then you finally put the last one in and you push it down and it fits perfect. And everything comes out the way you wanted it to, the way you dreamed that it would come out.

“Because not always do you get to fit that last piece of the puzzle, but we got it and it was very rewarding.”

YD-Red Sox and the Falmouth Commodores of the Cape Cod League were ranked first and second in the final rankings. Waynesboro finished ranked 22nd.

Barnes said to have two teams ranked in the Top 25 is good for the league.

“You talk to other managers and I think the common goal and for the other presidents of the other teams is to not only make your team better, but to make the league better,” Barnes said. “I think that’s a good step in the right direction.”

Barnes said that he has stayed in touch with many of the players on his team since they left Strasburg and everyone made it home safely and seem to be doing well.

With back-to-back championships, Strasburg should have a good chance to bring in another talented roster.

“Any kind of publicity in the positive framework of anything is always good,” Barnes said. “I wouldn’t say publicity is good, because it has to be positive, I think. You don’t want negative publicity, but when you do finish in the top 10 in the country in the final rankings, people want to play for people who win championships.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com

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