Fastpitch invasion |

Fastpitch invasion

You may have noticed this week that Park City seems to be teeming with tween girls, vehicles with painted windows, and plenty of team pride.

It’s that time of the year again. The Triple Crown World Series has returned for its annual extravaganza and fastpitch softball players ages 10 to 18 are taking over the town.

Now in its 14th year, Triple Crown brings together competitive, select and traveling teams from all over the country to battle it out for the national championship. The event moved to Park City from Steamboat Springs, Colo., in 2003, and each year it brings an influx of thousands of players and fans.

This year’s World Series runs through July 25 at locations including City Park, Ecker Hill International Middle School, Park City High School, Treasure Mountain International School and the Quinn’s Junction Recreation Complex, which serves as the tournament headquarters.

Throughout the course of the series, 265 teams and nearly 3,000 players from across the U.S. and Canada will converge in Park City. This past week featured 10-and-under and 12-and-under teams; next week 14-and-under teams will be highlighted; and the final week will present 16-and-under and 18-and-under teams.

In each age division, teams compete in four games in pool play and are placed in a bracket depending on wins and losses. The brackets are double elimination and no teams are out of the tournament until the day before the final games. Championship games will be held July 11, 18 and 24.

The series also serves as a scouting opportunity for college recruiters. "On average, a couple dozen girls are offered scholarships during this event," says tournament coordinator Bill Walters. All-star games are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday next week and college showcase games will be held nightly July 21-24. All-star players are nominated by their coaches and work with college coaches to prepare for the games.

On July 20, players from the 16- and 18-and-under divisions are invited to the Triple Crown Showcase Camp, where college recruiters will be on hand to observe general skills, infield and outfield drills, and pitching and catching aptitude.

Among more than 40 teams from Utah that are participating in the tournaments is Summit County’s own Silver Strikers, coached by Scott Chester. The Silver Strikers have been volunteering with the younger teams and will begin playing on July 21 in the 16-and-under division.

All softball games during the series are free and open to the public. Although the championship and all-star games attract the most fans, "It’s good softball no matter when you come out," says Walters.

Aside from games, the players will participate in parades down Main Street each Monday during the tournament, donning elaborate costumes, face paint and outrageous hairstyles in an all-out display of team spirit. On Tuesdays, the teams come together for skills contests, which feature hundreds of players scrambling for prizes in hitting, fielding, pitching, throwing and base running drills.

For a schedule of games, tournament results and more information on the Triple Crown Fastpitch World Series, visit .

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