The 2019 schedule for Pathway Baseball, the 15u-18u arm of Triple Crown baseball, has been announced, with five national-scale events ready to deliver unique value in the world of recruiting and showcasing.
Backed by a long list of trusted facility partners and a growing reputation for matching the right player with the right college program, Pathway Baseball launches the 2019 campaign in Albuquerque from May 31-June 5.
Next up is the Pathway Games Omaha (June 24-28), followed by Pathway USBC in Richmond (July 17-28) and the Northern Colorado Fall Classic (Aug. 23-25). A late-fall event in 2019 will be added in Tempe, AZ.
“We had a promising year of growth for Pathway Baseball last season, with the new events in Albuquerque and Phoenix, and the expansion of the Northern Colorado Fall Classic,” said Pathway director Gino Grasso. “Among other things, our fall has been spent reviewing and revamping the Richmond event for 2019. We have built a lot of deep relationships in 2018 with some quality people and organizations, and we remain focused and excited about what we fully expect to be a great year in 2019.”
Pathway Baseball directors are dedicated to building and executing premium, intimate events that will allow true exposure for the players while always working to make sure college coaches are in one location throughout the event, at top level facilities.
For more information: https://www.pathwaybaseball.com/
Event directors from Triple Crown Sports have finished digging through the data from the 2018 youth baseball calendar and are pleased to announce their 11u and 12u National Rankings.
The top spot at 11u is held by MVP Hustle – Prieto from California, and the 12u rankings are paced by Spitfire Elite – Pizarro from Texas.
Triple Crown’s youth baseball rankings required ongoing research throughout the season, totaling six months’ worth of tournaments. Results were pulled coast-to-coast from more than 30 events in each age division, and each event was weighted based on the number of Top 10 teams that competed.
“Triple Crown has a long history of producing nationally respected rankings in fastpitch softball and volleyball, and we’ve always prioritized traveling to top events,” said TCS baseball event director Jason McCoy. “The competition you face in a given tournament, and the number of quality teams on your schedule, are important factors in identifying a team’s body of work.
“The state of Texas is well represented on both the 11u and 12u rankings list; this is consistent with other national rankings published by youth baseball organizations and is a testament to youth baseball programs in Texas that eagerly look to test themselves against the best.”
Here’s the 11u Top 20:
1. MVP Hustle - Prieto, CA
2. Midwest Elite Bombers, TX
3. Alamo Drillers, TX
4. Chino Hills Thunder, CA
5. East Cobb Astros, GA
6. LA Xtreme Elite, CA
7. SGSA Sharks, GA
8. Dallas Tigers - Bazzell, TX
9. Lone Tree Halos, CO
10. Academy Select - Hebel, TX
11. Texas Canes, TX
12. Academy Select - Ingram, TX
13. Five Star Elite, FL
14. Easton Elite, CA
15. Dulins Dodgers - Maes, TX
16. Academy Select - Blass, TX
17. San Diego Show Black, CA
18. Stickmen, LA
19. Scottsdale Dirtbags Black, AZ
20. Utah Grays, UT
And here’s the 12u Top 20:
1. Spitfire Elite - Pizarro, TX
2. Hustle Premier, TX
3. Crawdads by Yeti Baseball Club, TX
4. MVP Hustle - Garcia, CA
5. Team Derty - Dirty South Bats, TX
6. Extra Innings Stickmen - Pizarro, LA
7. ABC Scrappers, TX
8. Banditos Black, TX
9. Yankees Exit Velocity, MS
10. Dallas Texans - Nalley, TX
11. SA Kings - Martinez, TX
12. Team Clutch, FL
13. MVP Elite, FL
14. Louisiana Empire Black, LA
15. Rebel Baseball Red, CA
16. Dulins Dodgers - Fesmire, TN
17. Team Xtreme Adiktiv, FL
18. Five Star Tigers DeMarini, FL
19. EM Majors, AR
20. Oklahoma Mudcats, OK
When Matt Crudale had his final run-through with professional baseball scouts in 2003, one of the questions in his head got a definitive answer – his playing days had come to a close.
A separate question remained – what happens next?
After enjoying the lifestyle and comparatively chill schedule of bartending in northern California, Crudale found himself serving up something else people wanted. Friends, neighbors and others in that circle began to ask Crudale to give their kids some baseball training, and soon enough he found his daylight hours busy enough to reconsider his restaurant gig.
Crudale obviously knew the right mix of tone and temperament when it came to baseball, as he now runs a 17-team organization, the Danville Baseball Academy, known widely as the DBA Crushers. Located about 22 miles east of the Bay Bridge, the DBA Crushers have evolved from a backyard-and-birthday-party production to a dynamic travel-ball program that prides itself on proper development and passionate competition.
“I was at a loss, trying to figure out my life. I was bartending and making pretty good money,” said Crudale, whose program includes multiple camps, clinics, workouts and a tight roster of players, as tryouts are handled by appointment only these days. “I was finding more work with neighbor kids, then private lessons, working at camps … after we started that initial (10u) team, it all came together and I realized this was what I wanted to do.
“When we first started, travel ball was picking up in popularity, and there were a lot of startups. A lot of those have come and gone. We did have to find a niche and separate ourselves from other clubs and Little League. We loved every minute of playing and wanted to share what we learned. Our goal is to teach the game and make it fun – a huge part is the life lessons, dealing with failure and respecting the entirety of the game. One of my biggest goals was to change lives outside of baseball; we want to get them to make smart choices on and off the field, and hopefully what we’ve taught, they can teach as well.”
Success in baseball requires discipline and attention to detail, but the DBA Crushers are willing to let kids have fun as they put in their time in practice as well as games. The organization has the same end-goal as everyone else in the academy space, but there’s just not a frantic desire to get there too quickly. From 9u through 12u, playing time is very balanced as the athletes rotate through multiple positions and simply build confidence and experience. At 13u and 14u, players will still get a healthy portion of available at-bats, but there’s more honing in on the best defensive fits for each kid.
With a solid indoor facility at their disposal – The Dome – the DBA Crushers have that much greater an ability to train and provide consistent touches on the ball, gloves and bats.
“Our big thing is, and we say it up front, is we don’t care about winning. We do win; at initial tryouts and evaluations, people are shocked, and others love that,” Crudale said. “We focus on the fundamentals and game play. Work in practice on mechanics and your swing, your throwing, defensive technique, and come game time, you put it to work. It all starts with playing time, learning and understanding the game, and it’s not all about winning.
“We also want kids to have to make decisions … we’ve seen a lot of coaches who are so hands-on, the kids just wait for directions. But when you get older, you can’t wait – you have to be instinctual. We implement and encourage kids to make mistakes. Learn the limits of your baserunning, your approach at the plate … you need to learn what you can or can’t do.”
With that tone and philosophy in place, the DBA Crushers back it up with a dedicated coaching staff. For several years, Tony Arnerich has been contributing his insight on the disciplines of hitting and catching – he’s a catching coordinator and assistant hitting coordinator for the Seattle Mariners’ minor league system. Arnerich and Crudale played against each other a few times; their extended families ended up having kids in the same swim class, and one thing led to another once people started talking baseball.
The common ground includes the belief in competing against the game, at first – digging in and learning how to play – and then digging in against your opposition as you get older.
“Matt can be loud and be very to the point, but he cares about the kids, and I could see that from Day 1. He genuinely cares,” Arnerich said. “I have a good buddy in Santa Rosa, who made a good point about year-round baseball. I wasn’t a fan, but he said you have to look at it differently. Most kids are going to play year-round, whether you coach or not. You might as well help them do it the right way. Take care of their arms, and care how they are treated. You owe it to the kids to do it correctly so they can have a good experience with baseball.
“Matt had same vision, not have a kid throw 200 pitches in a weekend. That’s how I was, and I’ve seen too many people who are out there to just make a buck. It was an easy fit for me. We always preach that we play to win, but you must recognize it when a team improves, especially in the lower levels … being in the right places, throwing to the right places, tagging up on the right play, pitchers covering first … the moments in the game where you won the play. You can say, ‘Hey, we ran it perfectly, we did it right, and that other team just got us today.’ People get it wrong with a loss, and they think, oh you must stink, you did nothing right, the coaches are wrong. No – we did things right, and that’s a win going forward.”
Connor Bruce, a Sports Illustrated “Faces in the Crowd” honoree and a sophomore catcher who just transferred from NC State to Ohio State, met Crudale a long time ago, at Bruce’s baseball-themed birthday party that Crudale worked. He recalls the DBA Crushers creating a positive environment for his skills to take firmer root, as well as helping get his name out three in the world of college recruiting.
“When we had practice, it was all about, ‘We’re not screwing around, let’s get our work in and get better.’ He had good plans,” Bruce said. “Going into games, you always wanted to win, but with the younger teams, he didn’t care about wins and losses, which I really loved. We won 20 of the maybe 60 games when I was 10, and he came out saying how proud he was, and that you could see how much better everyone was and had improved over the year. That’s why we stuck with him, the improvement each year. When we were 12 and went to Cooperstown, we were 18th of 104 teams that were legit – it was all about the development. In the older ages, he expects development to come along with winning.”
With five years of history running 15u-18u baseball, Crudale and the organization have learned plenty. Some of that has to do with simply how teams are operated – policy handbooks for all age levels help calm moods and give excitable parents an early understanding of what to expect. On top of that, instructors like Arnerich are anchoring athletes with the proper fundamentals, an approach to the game that will hold up over time.
“With mechanics, certain ones are high-risk, and you have to look for that. I want to look out for any glaring mechanical issues, although you have to remember we are all different in how we might throw,” Arnerich said. “Parents might think high school is the most important time, but I think in pro ball, that’s where the job (aspect) really starts. You have to get there, but you have to be able to maintain a career or position. The numbers suggest it’s hard to do, so you need to have priorities in line, have a good experience, and be healthy when it’s done.”
“The vast majority of parents think their kid is going D-I, Pac-12 or SEC. It’s a shock to have to consider D-II or NAIA,” Crudale added. “We have to tell them up front the reality of things, and that will help their transition into being more realistic. Not everybody is going to Stanford or Oklahoma. People get eye-washed; there are so many showcases going on, and people think they have to do every one. If you pick and choose the right two showcases, you’ll be better off than going to six or seven around the nation.”
Crudale, who has three daughters, was asked if he thought an entry in to fastpitch made sense – he said that might have to get confronted around the house in the future, but it wasn’t a big topic at the moment.
“That’s been discussed … we need more bandwidth,” he said, laughing.
Support Your Officials Campaign
Starting Memorial weekend, Triple Crown Sports® (TCS) will have stricter enforcement towards respecting officials and allowing players a better event experience.
Officials and TCS staff will have an expanded commitment to enforce good behavior through:
Why is TCS doing this? Two main reasons:
Can I still debate a call with the official?
Are you a head coach? Then yes, go for it. Do it in a positive manner and not to ridicule or belittle the official. If you’re a parent then please enjoy the game and don’t confront the official.
What is considered bad behavior?
We know that you don’t always agree with the official and we acknowledge that they make mistakes. That said, sports officials rarely, if ever, determine the outcome of a game. Players and coaches cause the true outcome of a game.
Triple Crown’s purpose is to “bring athletes and families together in competition and create experiences that embed lasting lifetime valued memories”. Our “Respect of All” value says that there’s “no grunts, no servants and we’re all equal, real people”. These two guiding principles lead us to the decision to crack down on poor treatment of officials and we’re excited to improve the youth experience.
Thank you and enjoy the game,
Keri King- CEO
Triple Crown Sports, Inc.
The Triple Crown Baseball staff battled another Colorado rainstorm at The Challenge at Pikes Peak this past weekend. However, thanks to the awesome facility partners at El Pomar, Skyview, Cottonwood, Goose Gossage, Memorial Park and Leon Young, the fields were playable.
Unfortunately, the annual UCCS instructional camp was cancelled due to rain. On the bright side, there were about 100 athletes that signed up which showcases what a positive experience this can be moving forward.
Over the past five years, the event has averaged more than 100 teams. 2018 was no different; it featured 157 teams across the 8u-14u age groups and D1 and D2 divisions which is the most teams in event history. Aside from the storm, this event provided a solid geographic mix of competition along with beautiful scenery.
“It rained both days, but we were able to get all 297 scheduled games in without missing one,” said TC Baseball event director Gino Grasso. “It ended up being a great event and it took everyone on board to make it happen.”
Congratulations to all 19 teams that were crowned champions this weekend and we look forward to seeing you all at future Triple Crown events this summer.
The Challenge at Pikes Peak 2018 Champions
8u Kid Pitch: Elite Baseball
9’s Division 1: Salty Dawgs Baseball Club
9’s Division 2: Elite Baseball
10’s Division 2: Platinum – Colorado Cutthroats; Gold – Elite Baseball Reynolds; Silver – CageRats
11’s Division 2: Platinum – TCA Majestic Baseball 10u; Gold – Slammers Ice; Silver – Brighton Predators
12’s D1/D2 Combo: Platinum – TCA Braves; Gold – Colorado Springs Majestic; Silver – Cherry Creek Bears
13’s Division 1: Emotional Game Black Knights
13’s Division 2: Platinum – Colorado Yard Dawgs-White; Gold – Slammers-Balser; Silver – Windsor Wizards Tovar
14’s Division 2: Platinum – TCA Spiders Elite; Gold – Eagle Baseball Club; Silver – SJ Columbine Rebels
The World’s Largest Youth Baseball Tournament is upon us, and soon 530-plus teams from all across the country will hit the road to Omaha, Nebraska throughout the month of June. The Omaha SlumpBuster enters its 16th year offering four sessions of competition. The excitement begins on June 14th with Session 1.
This event has become a tradition for countless organizations. In 2018, teams will be traveling from more than 40 states including Hawaii, California, Texas and New Jersey.
Sessions 1 and 3 feature our fun, fire-filled Festival Night. Thousands of people descend to enjoy pin trading, vendors, skills challenges and the appearance of our favorite baseball prodigy, Domingo Ayala. The night will end with a bang with the explosive burning of two 10-foot wooden bats.
As if there isn’t enough excitement at the SlumpBuster, the 2018 Men’s College World Series will also be taking place at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, giving Slumpbuster teams the chance to watch some of the best college athletes in the world compete on the big stage.
Mike Stevens, head coach of the Coppell Cowboys 11u, has been with the Cowboys organization for 10 years and has taken his team to the SlumpBuster every single year.
“Our 11u teams go to Omaha every year. It’s the College World Series trip,” Stevens said. “My older son went three years ago and he’s in a tournament that weekend this year, but he had such a great time at SlumpBuster when he was 11 that he’s forgoing his tournament in Dallas to come watch the 11u Cowboys play in Omaha. It’s kind of a rite of passage for 11u; we go to Cooperstown with our 12’s but our parents say Omaha is much more enjoyable.”
As true Omaha veterans, the Cowboys have learned where to stay and what to do in order to get the most out of their time at the Slumpbuster.
“We’ve learned to stay downtown so it’s easy to go to the Saturday night CWS games and let the kids do the fan experience. Then we obviously go to the SlumpBuster Open Ceremonies. We also do the skills competition and watch the burning of the bats. It’s a trip they’ll always remember,” added Stevens.
Among the vets there are also some newbies, including the Massachusetts Hurricanes 14u team that will be attending Session 3 of the Omaha SlumpBuster. The Hurricanes are traveling from Medfield, Massachusetts with their head coach Mark Nickerson.
“A team in our league, I noticed it on their schedule last year on the website and looked into it. I’ve always wanted to be in Omaha during the College World Series. Selfishly it was an opportunity for me to go watch some CWS games and bring my team there to play as well,” said Nickerson.
With teams flying cross country for this event, an opportunity that those teams take advantage of is the option to play two pre-tournament games. This makes the SlumpBuster a hefty 6-game guarantee, opposed to a 4-game guarantee. The two games count against each team’s innings-pitched limit; however, a win or loss does not count for their tournament record.
“We just figured if we’re gonna travel all the way out there, we might as well play as many games as we can,” added Nickerson. “I manage nine teams. This is the first one of any of our teams to go so if it’s a great thing, which I’m expecting it will be, our other teams will go in the next few years.”
Speaking of next year, early interest is at an all-time high for the 2019 Omaha SlumpBuster. It’s not too early to consider securing your spot in the event. Follow the link below for 2019 dates and jump on the Who's Coming List today by contacting event directors Brandon Hardy or Jason McCoy.
“There’s a lot to keep track of in an event this size, but we are excited about the days ahead and fortunate to have so many passionate baseball families and teams motivated to make this trip,” Hardy said. “With our elite division in Session 1 and our pro-player workout with Iowa Western Community College, the event continues to evolve and offer a terrific summer baseball experience.”
By Bradey King
For more than 20 years, Triple Crown Sports has provided a superior Word Series solution for youth baseball teams looking for that special championship destination.
For 10u teams in 2018, you’ll find sturdy competition and great fun at the foot of the mighty Rocky Mountains in Park City, Utah. Clear your calendar for July 16-21, as we have a thrill-packed five-game guarantee waiting for your team!
The event features a festival with pin trading and a team parade, as well as a show featuring legendary YouTube comedian Domingo Ayala. When you are off the diamond, the diversions are easy to find – hiking, fishing, Olympic Park, Alpine slide, white-water rafting – Triple Crown is ready and willing to help you sort through the options.
Escape the heat and humidity; find your happy spot in the mountains at the 2018 TCS 10u World Series!
Approaching its 7th year, the Lone Star Classic continues to be a big success for Triple Crown Baseball, drawing 160 teams to compete at the Dallas Metroplex this coming weekend.
For over 20 years, Texas has been a baseball staple for TCS events. Texas Baseball event directors Gino Grasso and Adam Kline are excited to see an increase in teams year after year.
“This event always offers good competition. We have a few of the best 14u teams in the country playing this weekend,” said Kline. "The area's league schedules have kicked in, making it more of a challenge to secure fields, but we could tell the market was excited about getting into the Lone Star. We expect that interest to stay high for our other events to come."
More than 450 Texas teams and others around the Southwest kicked off their season at the Texas Season Opener in early March. In case of any inclement weather at the Season Opener, the Lone Star Classic has always served as a great insurance opportunity for teams to get back on the field and stay sharp, but that was not a concern this year.
We look forward to seeing a variety of 8u to 14u teams hit the diamond at the Lone Star Classic on April 6th-8th.
Full schedules have been posted: http://bit.ly/2GxC45n
Texas State Championships: May 25-28, 2018 (https://bit.ly/2Eh4uKD)
Texas World Series Warm-Up: June 15-17, 2018 (https://bit.ly/2EfBa7x)
SportsEngine, a division of NBC Sports Group, today announced a partnership agreement between its tournament management solution, Tourney Machine, and Fort Collins, Colorado-based, Triple Crown Sports (TCS), a longtime leader in producing impactful youth events from coast to coast.
Part of the SportsEngine platform of services, Tourney Machine facilitates team registration, schedule management and results tracking all in one place for fans, coaches and teams. TCS is a leading tournament operations company throughout the US with over 200 events and more than 18,000 teams per year. TCS will utilize Tourney Machine’s scheduling, scoring, and tournament management technology to operate all of their youth baseball, softball, lacrosse and basketball tournaments making Tourney Machine the official tournament technology partner of TCS.
Additionally, Tourney Machine will enable its external API services to allow TCS to consume data from its own tournaments and track team and player participation. The use of advanced features such as real-time alerts, schedule updates and live scoring through the Tourney Machine mobile app, will assist TCS in operating their events more efficiently.
“We’re very proud to become the official technology partner of Triple Crown Sports,” said Justin Kaufenberg, CEO of SportsEngine. “With our shared commitment to youth sports combined with TCS’s solid reputation as the leader in providing premium youth sports experiences and events, we’re excited to empower TCS with with the technology solutions that will help fuel its growth and further their mission.”
“We are excited to form this partnership with Tourney Machine to strengthen the technology, tools and resources we offer to our teams and their families,” said Keri King, CEO of Triple Crown Sports. “Moving away from our own proprietary scheduling software will allow TCS to focus on our purpose statement — to bring athletes and families together in competition and create experiences that embed lasting lifetime memories. Tourney Machine is robust software with the mobile user in mind; it will enhance the TCS experience.”
“We are all really excited for the impact and the value our customers will quickly appreciate with our newest tech partner,” said Elliott Finkelstein, TCS director of fastpitch. “Tourney Machine will help give our users a much improved experience.”