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To our customers, clients and friends,
Much like the rest of the nation, Triple Crown Sports is working through the moment-to-moment challenges and obstacles created by the COVID-19 pandemic, doing our best to confront today’s news while also keeping an eye on the future.
With the office closed in accordance with public health requirements, our event directors have attempted to make the most of working remotely — reaching out to hundreds of coaches and parents and listening to how teams and families have been affected. Our appreciation of community has deepened as we’ve learned more about what you need, and what you want to see happen next.
We are as eager as you to get back on the playing field, but until then, know that we are working diligently to develop new events and opportunities for you and your families to look forward to once these arduous times are over. After 35-plus years in the event business, Triple Crown has seen tough times before and always emerged with more insight and determination to give you valuable, memorable experiences.
As it stands, our event schedule through mid-April has been cancelled. We will continue to update you on events in late April and May as new information is presented. If you have questions about specific events please feel free to reach out to the event director.
Through all of this we hope you and your families stay safe and healthy. Sports will return, and when they do, Triple Crown will be ready to deliver.
- Keri King
CEO, Triple Crown Sports
The drought is finally over -- for the first time in 2020, the bats finally got going in Texas.
The Texas Season Opener saw a total of 280 teams arrive in the Dallas Metroplex area for the first weekend of Triple Crown Baseball in the Lone Star State.
In a three-game minimum tournament and a single-elimination playoff bracket, coaches had the opportunity to get a look at their new lineups, and players from 7u-14u squads battled for early season bragging rights.
One of the biggest highlights in the Texas Season Opener was the invite-only 14u D1 Invite bracket. After both teams handed each other a loss earlier in the tournament, Dulins Dodgers Prime (Godwin) and Dallas Texans-Nalley survived and advanced their way in the playoffs en route to the 14u D1 Invite championship game.
In the championship showdown, the Dodgers’ completed a 3-0 shutout of the Texans and took home the tournament’s most prestigious trophy. READ MORE >> 14u Invite
The Dodgers were the big winners of the weekend as their 12u team also took home hardware. The only other programs to take home multiple championships were the Texas Edge from Granbury, TX in both the 11u D2 and D3 brackets, and also 5 Star Performance out of Longview, TX at 12 D2 and 14 D2.
On the other 14u D1 side, the Oklahoma Mudcats swept through the competition in Texas with a perfect 5-0 weekend. In the championship game, the Mudcats held on to a 5-4 victory over their in-state competition, Fuel Baseball. In back-and-forth action all game, the Mudcats took a 2-0 lead, but Fuel Baseball claimed the lead 3-2 in the third inning.
The Mudcats reclaimed the lead later in the game and never looked back, as they were crowned champions. READ MORE >> 14u D1
After a great weekend of baseball, this Triple Crown baseball season looks to be off to a high start. Congratulations to all the champions of the Texas Season Opener!
7u: Frisco Riders - Rae (Frisco, TX)
8u: TCR Bobcats - Deevers (Roanoke, TX)
9u D2: Texas Rattlers - Brown (Flower Mound, TX)
9u D3: Texas Baseball Club (Durant, OK)
10u D1: Arlington Twins (Arlington, TX)
10u D2: West Texas Mayhem (Hamlin, TX)
10u D3: Enemy (Plano, TX)
11u D1: Canes Southwest – Berry (Decatur, TX)
11u D2: Texas Edge - Taylor (Granbury, TX)
11u D3: Texas Edge - Carroll (Granbury, TX)
12u D1: Dulins Dodgers - Godwin (Melissa, TX)
12u D2: 5 Star Performance - Copeland (Longview, TX)
12u D3: Colleyville Texas Trouble (Colleyville, TX)
13u D1: Academy Select - Ingram (Allen, TX)
13u D2: TC Cougar Elite (The Colony, TX)
13u D3: Coppell Cowboys Red (Irving, TX)
14u D1: Oklahoma Mudcats (Choctaw, OK)
14u D1 Invite: Dulins Dodgers Prime - Godwin (Frisco, TX)
14u D2: 5 Star Performance - Moran (Longview, TX)
14u D3: Cooperstown Cobras - Tinius (Fort Worth, TX)
by Joseph Fragano
CARROLLTON, TX -- The Oklahoma Mudcats are champions of the 14u D1 bracket of this year’s Texas Season Opener after beating Fuel Baseball, 5-4, in a nail-biter of a final Sunday evening at McInnish Park.
It looked to be a pitcher’s duel after three scoreless innings for both teams. Mudcats starter Pryce Bender had a particularly good night on the mound. Bender threw three scoreless innings to start the game for the Mudcats and said his command of the strike zone was the key to his performance.
“My curveball was working,” said Bender. “I was locating, hitting my spots, and doing what I could just to get outs.”
The Mudcats (Choctaw, OK) struck first in the bottom of the third after Ty Parker’s RBI single up the middle broke the scoreless tie. The Mudcats scratched another run across the plate to take a 2-0 lead after three innings.
Parker said his approach at the plate was simple; put the ball in play.
“It was 0-0 with a runner on third and I needed to get it done,” he said. “He threw me a fastball down the middle and I just hit it up the middle."
Fuel Baseball (Edmond, OK) responded with an offensive outburst of their own. The Fuel hitters capitalized on several key errors by the Mudcats and jumped out in front with a 3-2 lead of their own.
The lead would not last for Fuel. In the top of the fourth the Mudcats scored on a bases-loaded hit batter, an error, and a fielder’s choice to see-saw back in front by a score of 5-3.
Mudcats coach Shawn Norman says his team has pitched well lately, but their ability to come through at the plate with runners in scoring position was the key to this championship victory.
“All weekend we threw strikes,” he said. “This is our first tournament, so you always worry about that but (Sunday) we had enough timely hits to win.”
Fuel mounted a comeback attempt in the sixth inning, closing the gap to just one run after scoring on a passed ball, but ultimately stranded the tying run on third base. The Mudcats would go on to shut the door in the seventh inning.
Both teams were air-tight defensively during their two pool play games Saturday; the Fuel allowed zero runs, and the Mudcats gave up just two runs.
By Lary Bump
GRAPEVINE, Texas – Right-hander Ian Garza was the losing pitcher for Dulins Dodgers Prime (Godwin) when Dallas Texans-Nalley rallied to stay alive in the Texas Season Opener 14u D1 Invite.
With the championship on the line Sunday at the Texas Season Opener, left-hander Ian Garza came out of the bullpen to save the Dodgers’ 3-0 shutout of the Texans.
As a parent in the stands said, “same pitcher, different arm.”
Garza, you see, is ambidextrous.
“I’ve always been able to do it,” he said. “I’ve thrown more right (handed) over time, but I’ve been getting more left. I threw the same pitches with both, and I’m as comfortable with each.
“As a kid, my dad just assumed I’d be a righty. I would just do things lefty because I was natural-born lefty and now I just throw with both.”
Chris Godwin owns the Dulins Dodgers program at Diamond Kings Baseball Academy in McKinney, TX. It is affiliated with the Performance Sports Institute in Memphis, founded by former minor league infielder Tim Dulin. Growing up there, Godwin played for the original Dulins Dodgers. He later was a catcher in summer college baseball in the Northwoods League.
“(Garza’s) very special,” Godwin said. “His poise on both sides is fantastic. But with that, there’s extra work. Now he has to get bullpens from both sides.”
What Garza doesn’t get are separate innings limits from the left and right sides. His total from the two sides combined can’t exceed the innings limits of right- or left-handed-only pitchers.
“There’s a little strategy from the coach’s side for managing that process,” Godwin said.
Sunday's drama began with the 3:00 14u Elite title game between the Dodgers and the Texans; the Texans won, 4-3, to force the "if" game in the double elimination format. Coming off that one-run, complete-game loss, Garza started the 5:00 final in left field. In the third inning, he tripled home the first run and scored the second of the three that proved to be the game’s only runs.
Winning pitcher Matthew Mainord pitched five scoreless innings, allowing five hits. Garza then retired six of the seven batters he faced.
The Dodgers are likely to be traveling this summer.
“We’ll go all over the country,” Godwin said. “If they continue to progress, we’ll continue to put them in the right events. As crazy as it sounds, some of these guys will have an opportunity to start the college recruiting process.”
Dallas Texans-Nalley spent most of Sunday at windswept Oak Grove Park Field H on the shore of Grapevine Lake fighting their way back after Dulins Dodgers handed Nalley its first loss, 3-1, in the 11:00 a.m. opener.
In the losers’ bracket final, the Texans trailed Texas Stix 2024-Boughton 7-1, and then 9-4 after 3½ innings. They scored twice in the sixth but still trailed 9-6 in the time-limited last inning, the bottom of the fifth.
Caleb Watkins tripled home two runs and scored the tying run on a single by Jack Sharp. With one out and the bases loaded. Zach Pearrow dribbled a slow roller down the third base line, and Sharp took home a 10-9 win when the ball couldn’t be handled.
Dulins Dodgers appeared to need only one game to take the title when they scored three runs in the first inning and put their first two batters on base in the second. Cameron Randall relieved starting pitcher Pearrow and pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings.
In the meantime, the Texans scored two runs in the third inning and another in the fourth before taking a 4-3 lead on Matt Millett’s fifth-inning sacrifice fly.
It wasn’t over yet. The Dodgers loaded the bases with two out in the bottom of the seventh. Then Kendyl Johnson got a 2-0 count from Randall. Layton Nalley relieved Randall and threw his first pitch high and way wide of the plate. He settled down to get two called strikes. On the 3-2 pitch, Johnson lifted a fly ball to left field that Watkins caught to set up the winner-take-all "if" game.
The Dulins Dodgers-Godwin 12u D1 team also won a championship, defeating Dallas Tigers Reynolds, 8-4.
“I coach both teams,” Godwin said. “Unfortunately, I can’t be at two places at one time, but we’ve got a great staff. We’ve always got another good pair of hands.”
by Tanner Puckett
The AZ Diamond Dawgs rode a stellar starting pitching performance and a seven-run inning to an 8-7 victory over the Chandler Stars (AZ) in Sunday’s 12u championship game at the Arizona Spring Championships.
The two teams, both from the East Valley area of metro Phoenix, have faced off several times over the years. On this occasion, the Diamond Dawgs (Queen Creek, AZ) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a triple by Cameron Mitchell and an RBI single by Nolan Agostini.
They lost that lead just once after a rough top of the fourth, loudly reclaiming it with seven runs in the bottom half of the inning. Diamond Dawgs starting pitcher Zach Bolles puzzled the Stars’ bats for most of the afternoon, striking out nine over 4 1/3 innings. He was charged with four earned runs on four hits, one walk and a hit-by-pitch.
“He’s our big horse,” Diamond Dawgs head coach Jason Cronin said.
Asked if he took any special preparations for the game, the only one was rest.
“I was actually sick this morning,” Bolles said. “So the first two games I sat on the bench and just hit, just to get ready for this game.”
Eli Cramer-Cronin’s relief of Bolles in the fifth inning was the final pitching change made by the Diamond Dawgs. He pitched out of trouble twice, allowing an inherited runner to score in the fifth before getting the last out and stopping a sixth-inning rally after three runs scored to end the game.
“We go to Eli to finish things up,” coach Cronin said. “It got a little rough, but he handles that pressure. We’re gonna stay with him to the end.”
After falling behind 2-1 after a home run from the Stars’ Ryan Hardwood, the Diamond Dawgs focused in on striking quickly. Cronin told his team there was a lot of game left to be played. A seven-run fourth inning proved to be enough to put the game out of reach.
“We got a couple of key hits and then it was just enough to hang on,” Cronin said. “Because we knew they were going to keep coming. We’ve been playing these guys for a long time and that’s what they do.”
That fourth inning saw the Diamond Dawgs collect five hits and two walks to post the seven-spot, primarily on the back of a three-run home run by Cayden Hokanson and a grand slam from Marley Chancey.
The players echoed their coach in terms of approach. Hokanson’s homer came first on a 2-2 breaking ball and put the Diamond Dawgs back on top, 4-2.
“His curveball was good so I was expecting him to throw it to me, and he kind of just hung it,” Hokanson said.
Chancey’s grand slam was the hit that put the game out of reach.
“I was just looking for my pitch to drive,” Chancey said. “Needed those runs.”
The win was an important one for the Dawgs, both in the context of the 12u championship and in the bigger series with the Stars. Even though they’re close in proximity and go toe-to-toe often, there’s a lot of respect between the two teams.
Cameron Mitchell, who went 3-for-3 for the Dawgs with a triple, stolen base and two runs, said the competition is a fun one.
“It’s always been close games and it’s always been a great experience playing baseball with them.”
by Marcos Aragon
CHANDLER — After coming back to avoid an early upset on Sunday morning, Prevail Baseball faced off against Vipers Baseball for the 14u title game at the Arizona Spring Championships.
The Vipers were not able to strike first; instead, Prevail jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.
Prevail (Huntington Beach, CA) defeated the Vipers (Mission Viejo, CA), 7-0, behind their two pitchers, Tony Martinez and Aaron Minnicucci. The duo combined for eight strikeouts and kept the high-powered offense of the Vipers at bay -- the top-seeded Vipers offense scored 67 total runs entering the championship game.
Prevail head coach Bryan Perez explained that the pitching on his team and its defense are the strengths they can rely on in any game.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that can go innings,” Perez said. “We put ourselves in the right position to capitalize on the way the ball is hit to us.”
Minnicucci said his confidence was high coming into the game to replace Martinez in the sixth inning.
“We were up by a lot, (Martinez) had shutout innings...I knew our defense would back me up and stuff. Once again (Martinez) threw a hell of a game, and our bats would come through.”
Martinez agreed with his coach that the strengths of the team are good pitching, along with a great defense behind it.
“Even though our pitching is really good and we throw strikes, our defense backs us up really good,” Martinez said.
Prevail never looked back after taking the lead, but the team had first-hand experience of a team blowing a lead after Prevail came back on the RC Bulldogs in their earlier game, winning 11-9. Martinez controlled the pace of the game but knew in the back of his head that they couldn’t take their foot off of the gas.
“In the first inning, I think we scored a lot of runs and we got our momentum after that," he said. "We didn’t stop and we tried to keep it up. We felt confident but we didn’t want to lose our ground because that’s what happened to (RC Bulldogs) today: they scored a lot of runs and we came back. We didn’t let our guard down.”
Even though Prevail is the champion, Perez noted that the larger point of the tournaments is to groom the players and help them become better ballplayers in their respective next levels.
“Keep getting better. I’m a firm believer in if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse,” Perez said. “I don’t like complacency. I always tell the kids ‘always do something to get yourself better’. That’s why we’re in these tournaments - to get looks mostly and to develop them into the high school baseball players they need to be ... winning is just a byproduct.”
by Marcos Aragon
CHANDLER — After upsetting the top seed in the 11u bracket Sunday, the No.4 seed Golden Spike Pirates continued the theme and earned the title at the Arizona Spring Championships after defeating the Midland Bandits Black, 10-7.
Golden Spike’s Crosby McGreal said the team was riding high off of their victory over top-ranked Swarm.
“I was kind of happy. I had a feeling we were going to win since we beat the no.1 seed, and our team was playing really good.”
The Pirates (Las Vegas, NV) started the game off hot by scoring four runs in the first inning. Mitch Walker drove in a run to get the scoring started, followed by McGreal hitting an RBI single; later a huge two-run inside the park home run by Jayson Marquez put the Pirates ahead at the end of the inning.
Golden Spikes head coach Scott Haney explained that his team had a bit of an advantage on Sunday because they were the visitors both times. Haney noted that the opportunity to put points on the board first was big for his team’s mentality.
“That right there is a huge confidence builder for the boys,” Haney said. “If they can go up three or four runs and shut down that first inning — it’s a good recipe.”
Golden Spikes added two more runs in the second inning, putting some added pressure on Midland to come back from 6-0. The Bandits (Midland, TX) responded by posting three runs in the bottom of the second and third inning to tie the game at 6-6.
With everything tied heading into the fifth inning, Midland’s Cisco Rodriguez drove in a run with two outs to put the Bandits ahead, 7-6.
The Pirates’ Santiago Cocon was the team’s pitcher from the third inning on. He said that he was nervous at first because he didn’t want to surrender the lead, but had faith in his team’s offense to bring them back if necessary.
“I felt pretty confident when we came up to bat that we might come back and take the lead,” Cocon said.
Golden Spike’s Mitchell Walker said he was also a little nervous going into the inning, especially as the leadoff hitter, but his nerves were quickly calmed after he got the hit.
“As soon as I led it off with a hit and then (McGreal) got a hit, I thought we were going to score at least a couple runs,” Walker said. “I was pretty confident in our team and our hitting because our hitting has been good this weekend.”
Like Cocon predicted, the hot bats of the the Pirates returned in the top of the sixth inning where Marquez hit a deep triple and brought two runners home to give Golden Spikes the lead. Jordan Haney was next to bat and drilled the ball deep and used his speed to earn the two-run inside the park home run.
After the final out of the game and all the celebrating was completed, Haney knew his team would enjoy their moment but still have baseball on their minds.
“It’s huge for the boys. We haven’t had a big championship win like this in a while,” Haney said. “We’re getting ready for Steamboat Springs in July. So it’s great for building for us and we have all spring to play.”
Meanwhile, Jordan Haney echoed his coach’s thoughts about keeping sharp until their next tournament. And with a laugh, he said the first thing he was going to do after winning the title is just go home.
“I’m probably going to play games, play baseball, and keep practicing so we can keep getting better,” he said.
by Tanner Puckett
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Playmakers capped an undefeated run through Session 1 of the Arizona Spring Championships on Sunday, topping the 13u division with a victory over the top seed Militia, 10-6.
The Playmakers' bats struck early and often against the Militia, opening the scoring with two runs in the top of the second inning on Evan Yau’s two-out triple.
“We came in solid and came out with a dub,” Yau said when asked about his team’s performance against the Militia.
Yau accounted for four of the team’s RBI, also bringing in runs on a single in the fourth and a groundout in the sixth.
The Militia (Murrieta, CA) touted the most productive offense of the division through pool play, with 44 runs scored in three games. Their +16 run differential was tied for first. The Playmakers (Hayward, CA) flexed quality pitching that was able to keep the Militia off the scoreboard until the fifth inning and didn’t allow a hit until the third.
Zayden Zataray, the hero of the Playmakers’ last pool game in which he stole home to secure a walk-off victory, was on the mound for those first five innings. He gave up just five hits and one earned run while striking out three and hitting three batters.
Playmakers head coach AJ Aguon said, if the team was in the championship, the plan was to have Zataray on the mound.
“I told him on the first day, ‘Be prepared for Sunday,’” Aguon said.
Zataray’s teammate Yash Gupta said the team felt the same way.
“He’s really good in those pressure situations so we knew he was going to come out and throw his best stuff, and we all trusted him,” Gupta said.
Zataray was efficient in his approach, throwing 74 pitches over those five innings, with 49 going for strikes. He said confidence in his defense was important.
“They played great behind me, great defense,” Zataray said. All 12 of Zataray’s outs that weren’t strikeouts were recorded on ground balls.
The Militia looked to be mounting a comeback in the sixth inning after Yau came on to pitch in relief. With two outs the Militia strung together five consecutive hits, capped by a three-run inside-the-park home run by Aidrian Carrillo.
In all, they had tallied five runs in the sixth to reduced the Playmakers’ lead to 8-6.
The rally looked to continue after the next two plate appearances turned into full-count walks. Yash Gupta entered the game and got an important ground ball out after walking the bases loaded.
“I was just trying to throw strikes and make sure I didn’t leave any balls high so they didn’t get anything good to hit,” he said.
Those two batters were the only ones Gupta faced, but Aguon said that’s the role Gupta has on the Playmakers.
“That’s one of our good closer guys,” he said.
He continued to make a mark, ripping a triple into the outfield in the top of the seventh and bringing two important insurance runs home.
“I was sitting fastball because I hadn’t really seen his curveball,” Gupta said. “Just get something through the infield, make sure one run scores, and I happened to get a good hit.”
It was exactly what Aguon had hoped to see from his lineup after a rough half-inning.
“I told them we need to get on the board, get some insurance runs, close it out,” he said.
The Playmakers were able to squash a potential Militia rally in the bottom of the seventh when a 7-4 double play set up a strikeout to end the game.
Coach Aguon said he thought his team played really well when asked about their undefeated run.
“They gave me a lot of effort all five games,” he said. “Didn’t stop until the game was called by blue (the umpire).”
By Lary Bump
Fundamentals and strong relief pitching carried Dulins Dodgers TX-Maes to a season-opening two wins Saturday.
That was good timing, because it put the Dodgers into the Platinum Bracket of the Texas Season Opener 13u D1 tournament.
“We’re dusting the rust off,” Dodgers coach Mike Maes said. “We didn’t play any fall ball. This was a good start.
“We play a lot of small ball. These kids, I’ve had five of them from 7u, 8u, 9u, so they’ve been with me a long time.”
Using that small-ball approach, Dulins Dodgers won 5-3 decisions at the Railroad Park Yellow diamond over Dallas Mustangs-Martin and NTXBC Dirtbags-Woods from Southlake, Texas.
The Dodgers, representing McKinney, won’t have an easy road to win the bracket Sunday. They’re seeded eighth and will have to play No. 9 USA Prime 13u Torres from neighboring Melissa.
Win that one, and the Dodgers would meet top-seeded Academy Select-Ingram from Plano. Without a first-round bye, Dulins Dodgers would need to win four games to take the double-elimination championship.
Against the Dirtbags, it didn’t appear early on that the Dodgers would be one of the eight teams winning two games on Saturday. The McKinney squad left the bases loaded in the top of the first inning, and the Dirtbags scored three runs in the bottom of the inning.
“We don’t like to get down because we know that always leads to bad body language,” second baseman Jake Lyons said. “We just kind of keep our heads up. Something good’s going to happen when we hit the ball, and we were able to rally.”
Sure enough, still trailing 3-0 in the third, the Dodgers used four hits, including a double by third baseman Roman Robinson, to score three runs.
That’s when Maes went full-on small ball. Diego Reyes bunted in front of the plate and beat the throw to first base for a hit.
“That kid is the fastest kid on our team,” Maes said.
Reyes then stole second base, and Lyons came up with instructions to bunt the runner to third. His effort accomplished more than that. He bunted down the first base line and the Dirtbags pitcher threw wildly, allowing Lyons to reach second base and Reyes to score for a 4-3 lead.
“In a crucial position in the game, I was trying to help the team out,” Lyons said, “at least move the runner so we could knock something in. I wanted to lay something so I could get to first and maybe get a bad throw out of the pitcher, which we did.
“We feel like we’re very polished.”
Lyons held second base on a single off the shortstop’s glove, then scored himself when the Dirtbags made another wild throw on an attempted double-play relay.
The Southlake team didn’t have a chance to tie the game. The Dodgers’ No. 5, Drew “Cinco” Hanstad, struck out all three batters he faced in the third inning. In the fourth, Robinson struck out the first two Dirtbags and got the final out on a grounder to shortstop Dylan Terry, who also contributed a double and a single.