Sun’s out, (radar) guns out.
On one of those impossibly beautiful late-summer days the Front Range is known for, top-flight high-school age baseball programs met up Saturday at the Northern Colorado Fall Classic, giving potential recruits and a wide swath of regional college coaches a chance to get in view of each other and continue the work of finding a place to play at the next level.
Developed by Triple Crown Sports and the University of Northern Colorado, the Fall Classic concludes Sunday – upperclass and underclass teams meet on terrific facilities and play in a unique format. Pitchers face a maximum of six batters per inning to help keep pitch counts reasonable, and no one is worrying about the score — that keeps things moving at a useful tempo that scouts appreciate.
“It’s an interesting, early-season get-together with a lot of teams; it’s just an hour out of Denver, so we get to play some very good competition,” said Marc Johnson, who coached 40 years of prep baseball and brought his Cherry Creek 17u team to the event. “The best competition in Colorado stays home this weekend, and it’s a good chance to match up. The combination of Triple Crown and UNC has been a good thing.”
The Bruins took on the 17u Slammers-Martin team Saturday at UNC’s Jackson Field and got off to a slow start, but began to hit the ball with authority. There were RBI doubles from Jacob Stoken and Luke Pezdirtz, a run-scoring single by Ethan Miller and a deep RBI triple from Tyler Schultz. In three of the middle innings, lefty Stephen Sigman came in and tied up the Slammers with his breaking ball and excellent location of all pitches.
Sigman is a stellar student at Cherry Creek and is eyeballing a strong academic setting like the University of Chicago, but he appreciated the chance to strengthen his case with area schools as well.
“Coming in from last year, I had a lot of struggles. I played for the Slammers in the summer, had some success and then came back to Creek in the fall,” Sigman said. “It was important to have this opportunity and perform against a solid team, to earn my spot and show what I can do. I thrive in competitive environments and love to play against good teams.”
Even if the Slammers-Martin team wasn’t at its sharpest early, there was a ton of baseball left to make things right until the end of the weekend.
“It’s a nice opportunity to get to Northern Colorado and have some school come out to see the boys. It’s a nice venue, and great competition,” said Slammers coach Billy Martin. “Anytime you get a chance to play a good team on a nice field, you got to get them going.”
One standout for the Slammers was ThunderRidge senior Jake Haze, who lashed a single to left field and walked, and also made the defensive play of the game from third base, on a bare-handed grab and throw of a bunt attempt.
“I’m hoping to maybe get a few more phone calls after the weekend. The weather is really nice, so you can’t ask for much better,” he said. “Playing Cherry Creek is always awesome – they have some of the best kids in the state, and Marc Johnson is a great coach. I kind of expect myself to make that (barehand) play – if I don’t make it, I’d feel disappointed in myself.”
Other teams playing this weekend include the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks Scout teams, WYCO Academy, Regis Jesuit, Rocky Mountain Baseball and the Demons out of Golden.
“This is a partnership with UNC, and an opportunity to help UNC’s baseball program, and to help the baseball community in Colorado and the surrounding area,” said TCS event director Chris Knabenshue, a UNC graduate who was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 1982 and worked as an MLB scout for 20 years. “A lot of kids can get seen in a fairly small geographical area. The format is designed to showcase the players’ abilities, and kids won’t be strained to get out of an inning – to let them play and not put them in a vulnerable position this early in the fall.”
HotelPlanner.com is proud to announce their newest sports partnership with Triple Crown Sports, the largest premium sports events organization in the country.
The agreement which goes into effect in September, sees the leading provider of online group travel services as Triple Crown Sports official hotel booking partner for the 2018 season, helping to provide quality accommodations and professional services for Triple Crown Sports’ tournament sports travel.
Family owned and operated since 1983, Triple Crown Sports provides the perfect tournament experience for players and their families with more than 100 tournaments and 6,500 teams participating in major events nationwide. From fastpitch softball to baseball, volleyball, and basketball, the organization has continued to grow and thrive as an innovative company in the youth and collegiate sports industry, transforming organized tournaments for the better.
HotelPlanner.com will assist Triple Crown Sports by licensing their individual and group booking software to power their event RFP for hotels and booking engine to streamline and improve the hotel booking process for Triple Crown Sports’ coaches, players, and parents.
Tim Hentschel, Co-Founder & CEO of HotelPlanner.com, welcomed the partnership, saying:
“We are excited to partner with a world class organization like Triple Crown Sports and enable their business with our proprietary booking technology, Book-in-Block, that will help make the user experience that much easier throughout the season. HotelPlanner.com looks forward to establishing a long-term working relationship.”
“Triple Crown’s customers will now be able to book their hotel rooms online which will greatly improve the overall event experience,” said Triple Crown CEO Keri King. “The HotelPlanner staff are wonderful, they match the culture and values of Triple Crown, and come with a passion for excellence. I’m very excited for the partnership.”
Triple Crown Sports and HotelPlanner.com will work together to actively promote, engage and facilitate the partnership via all available media and digital platforms.
About Triple Crown Sports:
Based in Fort Collins, CO., Triple Crown Sports has been producing events in youth athletics and the college ranks for more than 35 years.
In college athletics, TCS runs both the preseason and postseason WNIT basketball events and produces the men’s and women’s Cancun Challenge tournaments in November, which have been recognized by Sports Illustrated as a top-5 destination tournament for D-I basketball programs. The Puerto Vallarta College Challenge has quickly become a favorite preseason destination tournament amongst D-I softball programs. In 2017, the event featured No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 2 Auburn and was played in front of a national audience on ESPNU. Using its success from 25 years of running the NIT in women’s basketball, TCS successfully introduced the concept to D-I softball and volleyball in 2017 with the creation of the NISC and NIVC.
In youth athletics, TCS fastpitch tournaments (including the 1,000-team Sparkler/Fireworks event) draw the nation’s finest club programs, and hundreds of college coaches attend TCS events for recruiting purposes. TCS produces the Omaha Slumpbuster, which is the world’s largest youth baseball tournament held during the NCAA College World Series. Each year more than 500 teams from 40 states arrive in Omaha for the event.
TCS is quickly becoming one of the top brands on the club volleyball scene with the success of the Triple Crown Volleyball NIT in Salt Lake City, UT. In 2018, the event will draw more than 440 teams from around the country with nearly every division I head coach in attendance to recruit.
For more information on Triple Crown Sports and the 100+ events visit: http://www.triplecrownsports.com.
HotelPlanner.com is the leading provider of online services in the global group hotel marketplace. Listed among the top 50 travel sites in the world and ranked number one in group travel, HotelPlanner.com is on track to produce nearly 1 million group leads this year, and is providing group hotel booking services to over 3,000 groups per day. The company’s robust technology and automated rate checkers provide customers with the guaranteed lowest available rates from a network of more than 100,000 quality hotel partners worldwide, making it easier and faster to book hotels for any corporate and leisure event. With its new eRFP group booking system, “Book-in-Block” and licensing technologies, HotelPlanner.com continues to advance the group booking process online for direct clients, market leading affiliates and hotel partners worldwide.
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