The Triple Crown World Series baseball tournament returns to Park City |

The Triple Crown World Series baseball tournament returns to Park City

Ryan S., pitcher for the Menace BBC, trows a fast one into home plate against the Skullcandy Crushers during the Triple Crown Baseball tournament at the Park City Sports Complex Tuesday morning, July 19, 2016. The Menace BBC are from Temecula, Calif. (Tanzi Propst/Park Record)
Tanzi Propst

Beginning next week, a staple of summer in Park City returns as the Triple Crown World Series gets underway. The 12-and-under baseball tournament is set to begin on Monday and run for four days, ending with the semifinals and championship games on Thursday.

“This is always an exciting event for us because you really get to see some good baseball regardless of the age,” said Matt Pilcher, onsite director of the Triple Crown World Series.

Participating in the tournament are 34 teams from nine different states, including 18 teams from Utah. The Park City Miners baseball club will represent Park City, after having already played nearly 40 games this summer as part of its tournament schedule.

“We decided to keep 15 players this year because we played in two different leagues, as well as a few tournaments and with that game schedule, we need kids,” said Chris Schmidt, Park City Miners 12U head coach. “All of those kids have gotten playing time this year so we feel more prepared and ready for this tournament than ever before.”

The 34 teams are broken down into 12 three-team pools, while two other pools have just two teams. After pool play, all the teams will be split into three brackets: elite, platinum and gold.

The elite bracket will feature the top eight teams from pool play, while the platinum bracket will house the middle 16 teams and the gold bracket will consist of the final 10 teams. From there, it will be a simple double-elimination format with teams only guaranteed four games (two pool, two bracket).

According to Pilcher, there is a significant difference between the 12U and 12U Elite team divisions, with the elite making up some of the top 12U teams in the western half of the United States.

“The difference between 12U and 12U Elite is typically the amount of games the teams play per year, the geographic makeup and talent,” Pilcher said. “Elite is the best of the best. Fans will see some excellent baseball next week; especially in the eight-team Elite Bracket.”

Spread out over the four days, the tournament will take place at six different locations: Park City High School, City Park, Treasure Mountain Junior High, the Park City Sports Complex, Ecker Hill Middle School and the Oakley Recreation Complex.

For the Miners, serving as the de-facto hosts of the tournament is an honor for Schmidt and his players.

“We are honored to be the ‘kind of’ hosts. … It’s a big deal to us because we are truly a community-based team, getting nearly all of our players locally,” Schmidt said. “In the past, we’ve had to play because we are the hosts but we finally feel like we have a competitive team.”

The Miners are set to begin the tournament on Monday with an 8 a.m. game against the NoCo Rush Blue and follow it up with a 10 a.m. contest against the Ca Lookouts Black — both games will be played at the Park City Sports Complex, Field B.

According to Pilcher, the reasoning behind Park City hosting the annual tournament is its wide range of activities as a vacation destination. Whether it is the amount of fields available for play to the various non-baseball activities available for families, Park City is the ideal location to host a tournament of this magnitude.

“Park City is a beautiful destination for families to spend their summer vacation and play in a national baseball tournament, having hosted our World Series for 15 years,” Pilcher said. “It is easily accessible from anywhere in the country and its amazing scenery is a huge draw for California, Nevada, and Texas teams and families.”

One of the highlights of the tournament is planned for Monday night with the opening ceremonies parade of teams on Main Street, an honor for all those walking.

“It’s very prideful and we would love nothing more than to be able to walk around town, in front of our families and friends, wearing our shirts and representing our community,” Schmidt said.

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