Skullcandy Crushers earn second-place trophy
The Skullcandy Crushers 12U baseball team got a lot of game action during the Triple Crown World Series in Park City in July.
Over the course of the five-day tournament, the Crushers played a total of 12 games. Still, by the time the dust settled on the marathon week, the Skullcandy squad emerged with a trophy by finishing in second place in the tourney’s silver bracket.
Coach Kevin Johnson credited the Crushers’ teamwork and preparation for their success at this year’s Triple Crown.
“To me, it was a culmination of the work they did prior to the tournament,” he said. “They were able to come together and work with each other. It was really impressive to see a bunch of players come together and sacrifice for the greater good of the team. You can see them really enjoying the game and that’s what it’s all about.”
Brent Milner, the director of Skullcandy Baseball, said the teams that have the most fun on the field are generally the teams that perform the best.
“What we’ve learned now in nine World Series events is that the kids that find friendship and camaraderie and embrace the fun and joy of it, those are the teams that do really well,” he said. “It’s extraordinary to watch.”
In the Crushers’ first game on Saturday, they defeated the Salt Lake Stingers 17-3. In the second game, they squeaked by the Utah Hitmen 13-11. In game three, the Skullcandy squad earned a big 19-6 win over the Blue Devils to earn a shot at the silver bracket title against the Utah Horns.
By the time the Crushers had to play their fourth game on Saturday, though, fatigue was starting to show. In a 19-11 loss to the Horns, the Skullcandy pitchers struggled to get opponents out, Milner said.
“We had plenty of offense, but we just couldn’t hit our spots pitching in that last game,” he said. “We were able to run and put the ball in play, but we just got a little thin on pitching.”
“Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough in our tank for the fourth game when the other team was only playing its second game of the day,” Johnson added. “Our arms, even though we were throwing it across the plate, we weren’t really fooling anybody by the fourth game.”
Despite the loss in their final game, the Crushers did exactly what their team name would suggest — they crushed the ball at the plate.
Over the course of the tournament, seven players hit .500 or better, led by Beck Milner’s .615 average. Connor Heiden hit .565, Gage Cox and Jack White each hit .556, Zach Foote hit .545, Tommy Di Vittorio hit .542 and Francisco Lovato finished with a .500 average.
With the exception of Di Vittorio, the Crushers’ best hitters all train frequently in Park City, Milner said.
“The local Crushers, guys who get to The Turf and get on the HitTrax, six of those guys hit .500 or better,” he said.
In addition to their prowess at the plate, the Crushers were unstoppable on the base paths. Heiden led the team with 17 steals and Cox added 14.
In total, the 12U squad stole 72 bases while only getting thrown out five times, an outstanding 93.5 percent success rate.
On the mound, Skullcandy used 12 different pitchers. Milner noted that using several hurlers was done to keep the players from throwing too much in one week.
“We had nobody throw more than 6.2 innings,” he said. “Most people were 6.0 and under even though they could have thrown as many as 14 innings.”
“We want to look after these kids’ longevity,” Johnson added. “That’s something that’s only going to help us in the long run, too. That’s a very important part of the philosophy of Skullcandy Baseball.”
Overall, the 12U Crushers went 8-4 in the Triple Crown tournament. The 13U Skullcandy squad competed in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, this week at another Triple Crown World Series event. For more information, visit http://www.triplecrownsports.com.
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Chase Campbell, a Park City High School sophomore, has a busy summer schedule, including the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships on July 22-23.