Triple crown back in town
July 8, 2008
Monday night, 1,000 girls converged on Main Street in a bit of a friendly takeover of the town. A total of 91 teams competing in the Premier Resorts Triple Crown Girls Fastpitch World paraded down the street showing off their team colors and spirit.
According to tournament director Bill Walters, participants begged for a return to the parade format. After taking a one-year departure from the usual procession last year, many teams expressed missing the usual experience of coming in together and watching other teams in a celebration of the start of the tournament. Walters said the choice of Main Street was made for many reasons. He said that he thinks Main Street is very quaint and unique and offers a special atmosphere for the teams. He also hopes that the all of those athletes, fans and spectators will be a big boost to local merchants.
Walters said the these weekly marches down Main Street will create a festival-like atmosphere each time and even added a number of extras to ensure that everyone has fun. He encourages the coaches to wear costumes and teams to wear Mardi Gras beads. At the end of each parade there is a best pin contest where each team posts their team pins and an award is given to the best. Walters said this a way for the girls to see each others pins and encourages the teams to get to know one another.
This is the opening week for the month-long tournament with girls in the 10- and 12- and-under divisions competing. In the following weeks, the 14-and under division, 16-under and college bound senior divisions will take turns playing in Park City and surrounding areas.
Although numbers are slightly down from last year due to the economic downturn in the country, Walters said he is still looking forward to a very successful month.
Most of the teams will play in Summit County, with a few games scheduled in Salt Lake and West Valley. All Star games will be held for each division on Thursdays and Fridays, except in the 18-and-under college placement level, which will hold All-Star games Tuesday through Thursday, a televised championship game on Friday and finish with a best-of-the-best All-American game on Saturday. The All-American players will be chosen by college coaches that are attending the tournament to scout talent.
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The bulk of the teams hail from California, Colorado, Utah and other western states, but a few Canadian teams plan to make the trek. But the real excitement for Summit County is the long-awaited entry of a Summit County team the third week of competition. The Summit County Silver Strikers, comprised of varsity high school players from Park City, North Summit and South Summit High Schools have put together a team to play in this year’s tournament and have also become very involved in the running of the tournament. In exchange for entry fees, the Silver Strikers are helping to run the weekly skills contests and will assist in setting up various aspects of the tournament. Silver Strikers coach Scott Chester, who is also the Park City High School head softball coach, said that it means a lot to finally have local representation in one Park City’s biggest events.
"This sets the tone that we will be here a long time and that girls can come and play in a tournament like Triple Crown," he said. "It’s making a difference for this team and girls up the road. I want the Silver Strikers name to be synonymous with the tournament."
Sliver Strikers player Brittney Stokes, who plays for North Summit during the school year, said that playing in this tournament is a dream that been a long time in the making for many Summit County softball players.
"It’s really cool to be a part of it finally," Stokes said.
Chester added that the tournament also offers a unique opportunity to Parkites.
"This is huge. It’s a month worth of softball players," Chester said. "Every field in our county has a game. People should get out and watch it."
Walters is elated to be back in Park City and hopes to eventually grow the booming tournament into an 800-team undertaking in the next five years. The tournament already changes the demographics of the city, seemingly doubling the population and encouraging locals businesses and organizations to offer concerts, free discounts and other options.
"It generates a reason for people to come and do things targeting teams," Walters said.
Walters said that when Triple Crown advertises the event, they bill Park City as family vacation destination, not a tournament.
"They just love to come here," he said.
For a complete schedule of the tournament, visit http://www.triplecrownsports.com