We are one week away from the highly competitive TC/USA Nationals. Triple Crown Fastpitch has taken this tournament all over the United States from New York City to Reno to Austin and back again. 2018 is the seventh year of the event and Alpharetta, Cumming and surrounding towns in suburban Atlanta will play host on July 9-12.
The TC/USA Nationals is a six-game guarantee that is well known for featuring the nation’s top 14u, 16u and 18u fastpitch teams, based on U.S. Club Rankings. All box brackets will be pre-seeded based on ranking, geography and strength of roster. Box bracket outcomes will determine team seeding into double elimination brackets. The top two teams from each double elimination bracket will feed into a single elimination bracket for the championship. Triple Crown is excited for another year of partnering with ESPN3 to produce a live broadcast of the top championship games in the 18u and 16u divisions.
Nobody will want to miss watching the best competition in the country go head to head; especially college coaches! TC/USA Nationals has quickly become a hotspot for college coaches to scout the current and upcoming talent. This year more than 40 colleges have pre-registered to make an appearance at the tournament.
There are 64 teams set to play in the 18u Gold division including the No. 1 ranked team in the nation and 2017 TCS National Champions, the So Cal Athletics – Richardson. The East Cobb Bullets – Schnute, Birmingham Thunderbolts, Texas Bombers Gold – Smith and Aces Express – McCorkle are all ranked within the nation’s top 10 and will take the diamond in Georgia to rival the Athletics.
The 16u Open division will showcase 48 elite teams with No. 6 ranked Vision Gold – Poole and No. 9 ranked Texas Glory Adkins Gold in attendance. Glory Adkins was the runner-up of this event last year and will be fighting to end up on top next week. In 2017, Firecrackers TJ was our TCS National Champion in 14u and have since moved up to play in the 16u division. The 14u Open lineup welcomes 32 teams, many of which are also nationally ranked powerhouses.
The entertainment is not limited to the ballfield; Triple Crown has partnered with some of Atlanta’s finest restaurants, theme parks and shopping destinations to provide players, coaches and families with special discount codes and great group deals. Visit www.tcusanationals.com to check out the event partners, schedule/results, U.S. club rankings, college coach list and more. TC Fastpitch is fired up and ready to rock the Georgia heat – see you all next week!
It’s our favorite time of the fastpitch season here at TC headquarters in Fort Collins, CO. We are just days away from 900-plus teams and 16,000 players invading Colorado for the 49th annual Fireworks and the 16th annual Triple Crown Sparkler and Sparkler Juniors tournaments. Our Colorado 4th of July premier events offer a platform for the best athletes around the country to go head to head with other elite clubs and showcase their skills in the presence of more than 600 college coaches.
Before the competition begins, there are numerous opportunities for players to display their talents in front of college coaches, starting with the highly anticipated TC College Camp Sunday on June 24th. This year’s slate features 15 separate camps, including 38 different schools from top-level Division I programs through multiple Division III institutions. A day later, event directors have provided a separate workout tailored to unsigned seniors and players interested in the Junior College level. For the younger athletes, the 14u Elite Camp will take place on Monday, July 25th at The Ballpark at Erie. This sold-out event features eight highly notable Division I universities.
The early part of the week will also include Organization Workouts, On Deck Camp, All-Star Games, All-Academic Games, Unsigned Senior Combine and the National Speed Combine. The goal is for players is to refine skills and develop a deeper understanding of the game, while having the opportunity to work with coaches from a particular school or group of schools.
The All-Star Games are invite-only and feature some of the best athletes in the country. They begin on Monday, June 25th and run through Wednesday at Christopher Sports Complex. The All-Academic games feature girls who meet an incredible standard in the classroom and are equally impressive on the diamond. Schools looking to fill roster spots with those who check both boxes will keep a keen eye on these games.
What’s 4th of July week without a big celebration? The Sparkler Juniors opening ceremony will take place on Monday in Loveland and Sparkler/Fireworks will each host a Festival Night (the first on June 27th at Christopher Complex in Westminster, the next June 28th at Aurora Sports Park). One can expect a slew of vendors, pin trading, Pro/Olympic player signings, 4 the Heroes Flag Ceremony and the highly anticipated TC Idol Singing Competition where we’ll witness the intriguing entertainment talents of several softball players.
Teams will hit the diamond on Monday for two match-up games that are essentially warm-up games and don’t count toward bracket record. Later, teams will face off in two box bracket games that will seed them into elimination brackets. These four total games will be played throughout Monday-Thursday with one of those days as an "off" day so that travel teams can rest and explore Colorado. Double elimination starts Friday, and teams will battle it out over the weekend determined to reach Championship Sunday.
Throughout the week, Triple Crown Sports and ESPN3 have partnered to broadcast four games during the exciting week of fastpitch. Wednesday, June 27 at Christopher Fields during the Sparkler Festival Night, ESPN3 will bring audiences across the nation a showdown between two powerhouse 18u programs. Directly after, the “Best of the Best” game featuring the tournament All-Americans also receives ESPN3 treatment at 9:30 p.m. ET.
When the Fireworks Festival Night kicks off on Thursday, June 28th at the Aurora Sports Park, both the 14u and 16u Power Pool championship games will go live on ESPN3. The 14u Championship is slated for 7 p.m. ET, while the 16u Championship is set to go at 9:30 p.m. ET.
Below is the official TV schedule of the ESPN3 games:
Power Pool Championship (18u)
Westminster, CO | June 27 | 6:30 p.m. ET
Best of the Best All-American Game
Westminster, CO | June 27 | 9:30 p.m. ET
Futures Championship (14u)
Aurora, CO | June 28 | 7:00 p.m. ET
Power Pool Championship (16u)
Aurora, CO | June 28 | 9:30 p.m. ET
The countdown is on and the TCS fastpitch staff cannot wait to see you all in Colorado for the most spectacular week of the summer!
Support Your Officials Campaign
Starting Memorial weekend, Triple Crown Sports® (TCS) will have stricter enforcement towards respecting officials and allowing players a better event experience.
Officials and TCS staff will have an expanded commitment to enforce good behavior through:
Why is TCS doing this? Two main reasons:
Can I still debate a call with the official?
Are you a head coach? Then yes, go for it. Do it in a positive manner and not to ridicule or belittle the official. If you’re a parent then please enjoy the game and don’t confront the official.
What is considered bad behavior?
We know that you don’t always agree with the official and we acknowledge that they make mistakes. That said, sports officials rarely, if ever, determine the outcome of a game. Players and coaches cause the true outcome of a game.
Triple Crown’s purpose is to “bring athletes and families together in competition and create experiences that embed lasting lifetime valued memories”. Our “Respect of All” value says that there’s “no grunts, no servants and we’re all equal, real people”. These two guiding principles lead us to the decision to crack down on poor treatment of officials and we’re excited to improve the youth experience.
Thank you and enjoy the game,
Keri King- CEO
Triple Crown Sports, Inc.
Triple Crown Fastpitch is less than one month away from the annual Valley Invite in the beautiful state of Oregon. The excitement begins on Friday, June 15 with College Camp Friday and continues on to a Saturday and Sunday double elimination tournament.
College Camp Friday will take place at Hillsboro Stadium and it presents a “can’t miss” opportunity for athletes to learn from numerous Division I, Division II and community college schools such as Washington, Portland State and Blue Mountain CC. There are 12 3-hour camps, in addition to a High Academic Camp and an Unsigned Senior Camp.
The camps provide an invaluable experience and recruiting opportunity for 14u, 16u and 18u athletes. There are already more than 40 college coaches pre-registered to attend the event.
“Year after year the Valley Invite keeps drawing the top regional teams to compete against each other. Oregon is the perfect location for athletes interested in visiting Northwest colleges or teams just wanting to play some quality ball and get college camp exposure,” said event director Rachel Cavallaro.
In 2018, 192 teams will travel from to Oregon for the five-game guarantee tournament. The event will feature a 14u Open and 14u Division I, II and III so there is an opportunity for any skill level in the 14u age group to play. There is also 16u and 18u Open divisions.
The Maui Titans DeMarini fastpitch organization has found that the Valley Invite is well worth the 5 ½ hour flight from Hawaii to Oregon every summer. 2018 marks the third year in a row that they will attend.
“The kids really like the region, and the tournament is a great venue for them to see a lot of coaches in a short amount of time. It’s away from home, but not too far I guess,” said Titans 16u head coach Dennis Harmon. “It’s more of a business trip. We do a lot of camps and visits; there’s a lot of schools in that region right there close by. So we’ll go visit NW Christian, University of Oregon, Pacific University and just make the rounds all week long.”
The Valley Invite as a whole has a lot to offer; Cavallaro and the rest of the Triple Crown Fastpitch staff is happy to see it blossom.
“We’ve known Rachel for a long time from doing Colorado events and we’re happy she’s involved with this event because she’s someone we know and trust,” added Harmon.
By Bradey King
These are the facts – Triple Crown’s 2018 City of Lights events will sell out early.
Our two sessions in Las Vegas are Oct. 26-28 and Nov. 9-11; each weekend features a Team Showcase and an Individual Showcase, where we bring an array of coaches from NCAA D-II, D-III, NAIA and JUCO to watch players showcase their skills at the beautiful 12-field Majestic Park. Our model puts players and coaches shoulder-to-shoulder, whether in games or workouts, and coaches are rotated to make sure they have access to all attendees.
The Team Showcase features a five-game guarantee and is scheduled to make sure players can attend the Individual Showcase without fear of timing conflicts. Parents and players will get multiple chances to talk to coaches and learn some essential, fundamental information about finding a fit in college softball.
HEADS UP! The Team Showcase for Oct. 26-28 will likely sell out by Aug. 1 at the latest; while the second Team Showcase on Nov. 9-11 will be full by Aug. 15.
Don’t lose your chance to flex your skills in front of college coaches determined to find solutions for their rosters!
Visit the website: CLICK HERE
By Bradey King
It’s that time of year again – the top NCAA Division I softball programs are making their final push to end up in Oklahoma City for the Women’s College World Series while our Triple Crown Sports staff is gearing up for the 12th annual TC OKC fastpitch event.
TC OKC offers great competition and the opportunity to experience the WCWS in person, so it’s no surprise that the 2018 event is already sold out. It will be an exciting schedule featuring teams from across the country that have never crossed paths before. Nearly 160 teams from 20 different states near and far will be represented.
Among the lineup of programs, there are several Oklahoma City locals and teams from Oklahoma and surrounding states.
“TC OKC brings out all the local Midwest talent. There’s good competition and good umpiring. I don’t bring my team here looking to win, but to have fun and get better,” said Randy Williams, head coach of Team Synergy 16u out of Wichita, KS. “And I love taking them to the WCWS as an end-goal opportunity, watching the elite players and realizing that could be them one day.”
While most teams are in driving distance, others are traveling from as far as Washington and Florida to play in OKC. Cindy Corrado is the head coach of the Central Florida Eagles Select “Rip-It” 12u and 14u teams, and her teams were first to pay in each age group, showcasing how eager they were to be a part of this event.
“When coach Lori Castellano and I took a 16u team a few years ago, I came back to Florida determined to give younger student athletes an opportunity to experience this (TC OKC) event. I felt by exposing them to the WS at a younger age would help them envision themselves playing at that level and encourage them to establish goals for their own personal success,” Corrado said. “The opportunity and experience for them is priceless. The kids I train in Florida all have a dream to play college softball one day and taking them to OKC to experience the WCWS, to play in the Triple Crown tourney, to tour Oklahoma University and the ASA Hall of Fame is an opportunity of a lifetime for these young student athletes.”
The five-game guarantee begins with the Opening Ceremonies on Friday, June 1st at 2:00 p.m. All players, coaches, parents and family members are welcome. Coaches are required to be present to check in their teams and pick up any purchased WCWS tickets.
Tournament Director Sarah Pow is currently working hard on the brackets. She’s excited about the turnout and is ready to get the ball rolling.
“It’s a special event. Opening ceremonies will be really cool; we’ll have a photo booth, airbrush tattoos, pin-trading and tons of vendors. Our allotment of WCWS tickets is sold out so we’re excited that teams will get to enjoy the games,” added Pow.
Tournament play begins Saturday, June 2nd and will continue through Monday, June 4th. Full schedules will be released on Friday, May 4th. Visit www.triplecrownokc.com for more event details and to pre-order the official Triple Crown OKC tournament T-shirt.
The National Invitation Softball Championships (NISC) returns for its second year, offering a fresh postseason opportunity for dozens of talented D-I softball programs. This event gives teams a chance to enjoy the experience of a postseason run, while building momentum and player development that is key for next year.
Important 2018 NISC Dates
Sunday, May 13 (shortly after NCAA Selections)
Wednesday, May 16-Friday, May 18
(Saturday, May 19 is weather day)
Wednesday, May 23-Saturday, May 26
(Sunday, May 27 is weather day)
Schools in consideration will begin receiving participation agreements and invitations starting the week of April 16.
We will be announcing our automatic qualifiers as the conference tournaments unfold – check back often at www.womensnisc.com.
Dave King - Executive Chairman & NISC Director
Kelly Berry - Assistant NISC Director
With two daughters who not only loved softball, but also had the tenacity to truly develop their talent, Darrell Landry ended up doing what a lot of fathers do in that situation — start coaching.
Landry, 54, is the general manager of the Marucci Patriots, based in and around Baton Rouge, LA. The Louisiana Patriots date back to the 1970s; Landry’s daughter Courtney jumped in with the Patriots in 2004, and Bailey also came through the system and graduated from LSU in 2017.
As coach, Landry started in an era where local tournaments drew the interest of teams and parents, but as that changed with the maturation of club softball, so did Landry. He had coached Ascension Catholic High School to a state championship game in 2009; soon he saddled up with the Patriots and brought back the defunct 18u program in 2012.
The Patriots have been a factor ever since, not playing very much in Louisiana any more but looking to get players and teams on the road, in elite competitions, in front of college coaches. Landry visited the Triple Crown Sports offices a few weeks ago and sat down to share a little history and perspective on the game he loves.
Q: As you took over the 18u piece of the Patriots, what were your priorities?
A: I saw it as an opportunity to get kids seen at the collegiate level, and to get them prepared. That was my whole focus; local tournaments didn’t mean a whole lot. I can have all the T-shirts and trophies I want with the kids I could develop, but the idea was to get these kids a college scholarship. I wanted them to be serious; this wasn’t a hang-out situation. In 2012, all five seniors all signed, and nine signed next year. We started off in big tournaments and didn’t know what we were doing, to be honest.
My team has always been based on Louisiana kids; I won’t go out and recruit from six different states, eight states away, pay someone’s way or buy kids. Our players are developed through our program. Just running the 18s, I didn’t have control of the organization, and I found I was rebuilding that 18u team every year. With the 14s and 16s – I couldn’t (control development). I might take two or three, or I might not. I had to go looking for kids around the state and area.
Q: How did Marucci get involved with the Patriots?
A: Marucci had approached me before. They came back when they wanted to get into softball (the company is based in Baton Rouge), and they saw us as the premier club in the state. They wanted to learn from us, see what elite players are looking for, and I thought it would be good for kids to see that part of the company grow from scratch. Marucci had no knowledge of softball. Those first bats weren’t very good, and we gave them feedback. They’d lay out a bunch of unmarked bats and ask, how’s it feel? When it came to gloves, the girls want it up their wrist tight, with Velcro … and they kept adjusting things through our feedback. We were part of that first group that helped design their products, and there was value for our kids to see how a company grows.
Q: What’s something about upper-level softball that troubles you?
A: This early recruiting thing – it gets on my nerves. I don’t have 7th or 8th graders committed, and I would advise any of my kids not to. I don’t feel it’s fair to a kid or a coach. It’s almost like exploitation; there’s no way you can know where a kid is going to be (developmentally) in four or five years. Life changes so much and you don’t know where the kids’ dreams or work ethic might be at; it can change dramatically either way. We have these young kids coming to us, and their No. 1 question is, how do I get recruited? When my daughters came through, it was about learning the fundamentals of the game and getting better every day.
I had a freshman get a huge offer from a huge school; I didn’t think she was ready, and I advised her not to commit. And I told the coach the same thing.
I’m not going to lie to a college coach. I tell them about strengths and weaknesses. I never oversell a kid; never have and never will. The kid needs to know, too – their life is going to change.
Q: What keeps you coming back to the diamond year after year?
A: I’ve always been competitive as a person, player and coach. It’s always about getting to the next level and winning that big crown, but also seeing the kids have success. I’m at the point where kids I coached have graduated from college; last year, I had two kids (Louisiana State’s Bailey Landry and Arizona transfer Aleah Craighton) make first-team NFCA All-American who played for my first team, two of the three outfield spots, and they only lived a mile apart. And you’re talking about thousands of kids playing softball … I’m not saying I had a lot to do with it, but there it is.
Those are fulfilling moments. Also, my niece (Megan Landry) at Nicholls State, she’s been pitching since she was a freshman. What she does is amazing; she’s a Godly kid, and I can see her Godliness spreading to other kids on that team. That program has been winning, and I think it has something to do with us because we’ve sent two or three there every year the last four or five years. There was a game where seven of the starting nine was from my program! I was proud of that.
We had 71 seniors from 2012 to now, and all have signed college scholarships and played. To me, it could change their lives. You send kids off, and there’s a good chance it creates a direction in their life, hopefully for the good, where maybe they meet the person of their dreams and a partner for life. And you had a part of that.
SportsEngine, a division of NBC Sports Group, today announced a partnership agreement between its tournament management solution, Tourney Machine, and Fort Collins, Colorado-based, Triple Crown Sports (TCS), a longtime leader in producing impactful youth events from coast to coast.
Part of the SportsEngine platform of services, Tourney Machine facilitates team registration, schedule management and results tracking all in one place for fans, coaches and teams. TCS is a leading tournament operations company throughout the US with over 200 events and more than 18,000 teams per year. TCS will utilize Tourney Machine’s scheduling, scoring, and tournament management technology to operate all of their youth baseball, softball, lacrosse and basketball tournaments making Tourney Machine the official tournament technology partner of TCS.
Additionally, Tourney Machine will enable its external API services to allow TCS to consume data from its own tournaments and track team and player participation. The use of advanced features such as real-time alerts, schedule updates and live scoring through the Tourney Machine mobile app, will assist TCS in operating their events more efficiently.
“We’re very proud to become the official technology partner of Triple Crown Sports,” said Justin Kaufenberg, CEO of SportsEngine. “With our shared commitment to youth sports combined with TCS’s solid reputation as the leader in providing premium youth sports experiences and events, we’re excited to empower TCS with with the technology solutions that will help fuel its growth and further their mission.”
“We are excited to form this partnership with Tourney Machine to strengthen the technology, tools and resources we offer to our teams and their families,” said Keri King, CEO of Triple Crown Sports. “Moving away from our own proprietary scheduling software will allow TCS to focus on our purpose statement — to bring athletes and families together in competition and create experiences that embed lasting lifetime memories. Tourney Machine is robust software with the mobile user in mind; it will enhance the TCS experience.”
“We are all really excited for the impact and the value our customers will quickly appreciate with our newest tech partner,” said Elliott Finkelstein, TCS director of fastpitch. “Tourney Machine will help give our users a much improved experience.”
This year marks the third Triple Crown NAIA College Classic, slated for Feb. 9-11, 2018, and presented by the TCS California fastpitch franchise. It’s one of the true unique gems on the schedule, as more than 10 NAIA programs descend on the Big League Dreams complex in West Covina, CA, to show their stuff.
On Friday evening, the NAIA teams and any interested high-schoolers will be invited to the Biola University campus for a session of Church in the Dirt; the event features U.S. Olympian Jennie Finch and Team USA members Ali Aguilar, Aubree Munro, Michelle Moultrie and Nikki Udria. On Saturday evening and Sunday morning, these athletes will be on hand at BLD to interact with the NAIA and youth players on hand.
The level of play will be terrific, and it’s also a chance for youth players in the area who are eyeballing a college career to get as look at the NAIA brand up close. Here’s a capsule look at the teams coming to West Covina – click HERE for the schedule.
California University-Marymount (Palos Verdes, CA) – The Mariners went 18-25 last year and now welcome new coach Shane Schumaker. His hopes for a turnaround get a major boost from sophomore center fielder Nicole Barrow (.341, 42 starts, 9 SB), junior shortstop Princess Nava (.321) and pitcher Mary Gonzlaes, who won 10 games a year ago and hit .316 with 22 RBI.
Carroll College (Helena, MT) – The Saints had a 2017 record of 15-21; look for another year of solid production from Anna ApRoberts, a sophomore who hit .287 last year. Ashley Davis (.359) and Allison Bayer (.358) are also back in the fold.
Hope International (Fullerton, CA) – The Royals wrapped up 2017 with a 30-17 record, the best-ever win total for the program. Justice Walker returns after hitting .370 with 13 triples and 31 stolen bases in 2017; pitcher Tori Banks won 15 games last year and had a 2.52 ERA.
La Sierra University (Riverside, CA) – The Golden Eagles’ roster is going through some serious churn, with 20 players coming aboard in this June’s recruiting class. The team finished 22-24-1 last year but has some punch coming back in Genifer Garbellini (.416, 35 RBI) and Berlyn Benavides (.338, 29 stolen bases).
Menlo College (Atherton, CA) – The Oaks had a 31-18 record last season and have more than a few key contributors returning in sophomore pitcher Victoria Cervantes (14 wins, 1.91 ERA) and infielders Cassie Grana (started all 49 games, hitting .322) and Bryce Etzler (team-high .386 with 13 doubles).
Northwest Christian (Eugene, OR) – There’s nowhere to go but up for the Beacons, who are back in the fight after going 4-38 last season. Avery Daniels started every game as a freshman and was second on the team with 30 hits and led the team with 19 RBI.
Ottawa University (Phoenix, AZ) – The Spirit is a brand-new enterprise athletically; 21 sports sprang to life in August 2017. The softball team’s head coach is Lee Dobbins, who has 20 years of experience coaching in college.
San Diego Christian College (Santee, CA) – The Hawks will look for a bounce from new coach Sarah Hershman-McGrath; the team was 26-23 last season and welcomes back all-league junior outfielder Jordan Neal (.368, 8 HR last year).
Southern Oregon University (Ashland, OR) – The Raiders had a breakout season last year, going 46-15 and reaching the final six of the NAIA World Series. All-American shortstop Kelsey Randall is back for her senior campaign after hitting .431 last year (she added 10 triples and 29 stolen bases), as is catcher classmate Harlee Donovan (.367, 11 HR, 63 RBI). Three returning pitchers combined to win 40 game last season with a 1.73 ERA.
Vanguard University (based in Costa Mesa, CA) – The Lions went 46-15 last season, reaching the first round of the NAIA World Series. Coach Beth Renkoski is back for her 22nd season.
William Jessup University (Rocklin, CA) – The Warriors closed last year at 22-17, and pitcher Shelbi Graifman returns after ringing up 14 wins with a 2.12 ERA. There’s a nice buzz around the program, which reached the Golden State Athletic Conference championship game for the first time last spring.