Softball teams enjoy Park City atmosphere
The Triple Crown Fastpitch 10U and 12U World Series have been in full swing in Park City this week, with 94 teams playing games on every available field from City Park and Ecker Hill to Oakley and Coalville.
Teams from all across the West made the pilgrimage to Park City for the high level of competition Triple Crown offers. In addition to Utah teams, squads from California, Arizona, Colorado and even Texas have flocked to town to test their skills against each other.
But, while the tournament is heating up, with championship games on Saturday, a big plus for a lot of teams is the chance to cool down in the mountains.
En Fuego, a 12U team from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, took the field in City Park on Thursday afternoon for a winners’ bracket game. Assistant Coaches Lee Ledesma and Charles Rogan said the squad is having a great time beating the Texas heat.
"Right now, it’s about 103 down in the valley, with 90 percent humidity," Rogan said.
"Over here, it’s about 80 with 13 percent humidity," Ledesma added. "It’s great."
The girls on the squad agreed with Ledesma, giving unanimous support when asked by the coaches how much they were enjoying Park City.
"They love the weather — very little humidity, cool temperatures," Rogan said. "Getting used to the elevation took a couple days, though."
During the little amount of downtime the team has had, Ledesma and Rogan said the girls were able to get out and see some sights in Park City.
"We went to the Olympic Park," Ledesma said. "That was awesome."
"We rode the alpine slide and the girls had a great time," Rogan added. "But we’ve been playing two games every day, so there hasn’t been that much downtime."
Not having too much downtime isn’t a big issue for the girls, though, as the real reason they came out to Park City was to prove they can compete with some of the best teams in the country.
"We came out here for the competition because we’re not going to see this in Texas where we are," Rogan said. "It’s been good so far. So far, we’re doing well. We’re still in the winners’ bracket, so we’re doing something right."
"The competition has been amazing," Ledesma added. "This is the highest level of competition we’ve ever faced before. You’ve got all these California teams, some Utah teams — they’ve intrigued us. That’s the reason we came out here."
(As of press time, En Fuego was 5-2 overall and still alive in the gold bracket tournament.)
Like a lot of teams at the Triple Crown tournament, En Fuego is traveling with a small squad.
"We travel with nine," Ledesma said. "We only brought nine girls up here with us."
But, Rogan added, those nine girls are used to the rigors of traveling for tournaments across the country.
"This is a travel team," he said. "We’ve played in Oklahoma City and we go to Houston and Corpus Christi. We take these girls to go find the best teams and challenge them. They’re a good group of kids."
Ledesma said the girls have been playing with a chip on their shoulders, wanting to prove they belong at the Triple Crown tournament.
"California teams have been ranked the highest," he said. "To be able to not only compete, but also to beat some of the best teams out there, the sky is the limit for them."
"That’s what’s important, because a lot of people tell them they don’t belong here, that it’s a waste of time, a waste of money, to come up here and that they’re not going to compete," Rogan added. "They’re showing they can compete with the best and that’s what’s important and that’s what they need to take away. They need to be proud of what they’ve accomplished so far."
The championship games for the Triple Crown World Series will be held on Saturday. The 12U gold bracket title game is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. at the Park City Sports Complex. The 10U gold bracket title game will be held at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday at Treasure Mountain Middle School. For more information on the Triple Crown Fastpitch World Series, visit http://www.triplecrownsports.com .
The Park City High School baseball team was knocked out of the Class 4A playoffs on May 15 when they lost to Bear River 8-6.