One reason fastpitch teams came running to the start of the Triple Crown Super 72 NIT hinged on what was waiting at the finish line.
This past weekend’s event in Chicago offered a paid berth to the winners of each age group into TCS’ 2019 Fourth of July championships in Colorado – the 14u champ getting a ticket punched for Sparkler Juniors, while the 16u and 18u champions were added to the Fireworks roster.
Not for the first time in a tough Triple Crown event, the Iowa Premier had an outstanding run in the brackets, claiming the 14u and 16u titles. And in the 18u division, the Chicago Cheetahs were the last team standing.
14u – The Iowa Premier were overpowering on offense, posting wins of 13-5 and 10-6 to reach the semifinals in Sunday’s bracket action. The Premier then eased past the Indiana Gators, 8-0, before prevailing in the final with a 11-7 win over the Beverly Bandits Premier Futures. That Futures team had defeated Iowa Premier earlier in Saturday’s box bracket play, 3-0.
16u – This Iowa Premier team made its way through the opposition more on defense and the ability to stay cool when things got tight on the scoreboard. On Sunday, a 4-3 victory over Batbusters KB was followed with a 4-3 win versus the Lemont Rockers, setting up a championship showdown with the New Lenox Lightning. The Premier had the answer, with another 4-3 victory.
18u – The Chicago Cheetahs scored 17 runs and gave up one in two wins in the box bracket; they followed up with 9-0 and 11-0 victories to reach the semifinals in the championship bracket. Sunday saw the Cheetahs top Iowa Premier, 8-4, and then in the final the Cheetahs cranked up the offense again, topping the New Lenox Lightning, 10-7.