By the early 1990’s, Triple Crown’s ability to connect with thousands of slow-pitch softball athletes began to reverberate in another sport, that of youth fastpitch. Countless conversations put Triple Crown CEO David King in a position to appreciate the growth of youth/club fastpitch, and in 1992 TCS launched its three-leg series. Leg 1 was a partnership with Fort Collins Buckaroos at the Mountain Magic tournament in Steamboat Springs; Leg 2 was the Colorado Classic, and Leg 3 was the Fireworks, which had begun in Arvada back in the early 1970s but by then had moved to Boulder.
A couple of years later, youth fastpitch was on the cusp of exploding, and King asked TCS slowpitch coordinator Bill Pilcher to focus on the youth side. Pilcher got in touch with Dede Pendleton, a California native and high-end fastpitch player, and the two of them established relationships that allowed TCS to secure quality fields in the hotbed of Southern California. A beachhead in the market was secured.
By 1997, TCS ran a fastpitch World Series alongside the baseball World Series in Steamboat Springs, and a year later fastpitch had its own week and drew 160 teams to the mountains. The passion and growth in fastpitch took off, and the World Series moved to Park City, UT, where it had more elbow room to expand.
The steady success of the fastpitch series plan led to a critical development in 2002, with the advent of the Sparkler. This tournament marked a huge dive into the national market, and coast-to-coast interest continued to build in this “Canada Cup” model that embraced a festival-like environment. In 2009, TCS purchased the now Aurora, Colo.-based Fireworks event, which fully put the division in front of the nation’s most elite club programs.
In this era, Triple Crown also ran the Steamboat Camp, which drew college coaches to work with and assess prospective recruits, and this concept took off with the building of showcase events in Las Vegas and a variety of All-Star Games that were copied widely. The fastpitch division also explored the creation of national rankings; the first try needed improvement, but eventually TCS built rankings that were respected around the country and then used to identify teams that were appropriate fits in the TC/USA National Championship and the Power Pools at Sparkler/Fireworks.
Restless to improve and grow the game, Triple Crown also backs multiple TC Stars fastpitch teams that compete in our best events, as well as with other tournament providers. By experiencing an event as a customer, TCS gets real-time information playing alongside teams around the nation.