Skullcandy baseball players earn skills trophies
Each year, before the Triple Crown Baseball World Series officially starts, players gather at the Park City Sports Complex for a skills competition.
Events include a home run derby, a speed throwing competition, a race around the bases and a team-oriented around-the-horn throwing drill.
The Skullcandy Crushers, based in Park City, had a strong showing at the 9U and 12U skills competitions, bringing home four trophies for their efforts.
In the 9U base-running competition, RJ Wilson raced around the bases in 13.48 seconds, .02 seconds faster than the second-place finisher.
“RJ flew around the bases,” Skullcandy Coach Kevin Johnson said. “It was a great time.”
In the 12U base-running contest, Skullcandy’s Connor Heiden finished in 13.03 seconds, good for third place. The first-place finisher crossed home plate with a time of 12.56 seconds.
“I would put him against anybody at 12U in the country,” Johnson said of Heiden.
The around-the-horn throwing competition is an event where every player on the field must touch the ball. The goal is to quickly follow the throwing sequence to return the ball to where it started, with each player throwing or catching the ball, or both.
In the 9U around-the-horn contest, Skullcandy finished in 14.00 seconds, a whopping 1.09 seconds ahead of the second-place squad.
In the 12U event, the Crushers turned in a time of 12.06 seconds, also good for first place. The second-place squad completed the contest in 12.50 seconds.
Though the Skullcandy squads are made up primarily of Utah players, athletes from California, Illinois and elsewhere joined the Crushers for the Triple Crown tournaments. Johnson said the skills competition allows the teams to get to know each other in a fun, competitive environment.
“The number one thing is trying to bring a team together that comes from different regions,” he said. “The best example of teamwork is to be able to throw the ball around the horn. That’s a springboard for confidence. They get that feeling of winning and that feeling of competition. They have the pride of having a trophy before anything else even gets started.”
Working together (and performing well) at a skills competition makes the tournament games more fun for the players, Johnson added.
“The excitement of getting to know your teammates and learning about them puts a smile on their faces,” he said.
The 9U and 12U Triple Crown World Series tournaments end on Saturday. For an updated schedule of games, visit http://www.triplecrownsports.com.
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Morris is a force on Park City’s offensive line, excels in the classroom and is an accomplished powerlifter.