FORT COLLINS, CO. – To mark the official launch of the Triple Crown Sports Series program, TCS has secured an agreement with USA Tourney Series, which will run multiple baseball tournaments in the spring and summer of 2023 out of its home base of South Weymouth, Mass., about 30 minutes south of Boston.
Triple Crown Series is designed to combine the insight and expertise of local and regional tournament directors with the marketing muscle and production skillset found at Triple Crown Sports, which has 40 years of experience in professional execution of premium, must-attend events. Triple Crown Series will be a magnet for and natural fit with high-value organizations across the country that attract teams to their weekend tournament slate.
The TC Series will help continue to move youth diamond sports forward in the right direction and provide unparalleled experiences for athletes and their families across the country. USA Tourney Series has worked hard to provide the Northeast and New England states with a stellar experience at an affordable price.
"The USA Tournament Series is run by a Northeast based organization with experience at the collegiate, collegiate summer ball, high school and club baseball levels,” said Chris Diver, USA Tournament Series co-owner and event director. “We look forward to providing a high-quality slate of events for our first year of operation using a combination of top area venues and minimal distance between those venues. We fully expect to prove ourselves as the top baseball tournament provider in the Northeast."
Here’s a quick look at the 2023 tournament offerings from USA Tourney Series:
April 14-16: 11u April Vacation Baseball Bash
May 12-14: 12u Mother’s Day Madness
May 26-29: 9u-14u Memorial Day Classic
June 2-4: 13u/14u Invitational
June 16-18: 9u-12u Father’s Day Frenzy
June 23-25: 15u-17u Summer Slam
June 30-July 4: 13u-17u Independence Day Celebration
Aug. 4-6: 15u-17u Summer Ender
“USA Tourney Series does their events the right way – they care about the teams, players, and coaches who register for their tournaments and provide a top-notch experience for ages 9 through 17,” said Brennen Flores, TCS event director and Series coordinator. “Their history in the market and the respect they have from their peers made it an easy decision to launch the Triple Crown Series with them.”
“Triple Crown Sports is proud to announce its partnership with USA Tourney Series. They are producing high-quality baseball events in the Northeast,” said Matt Pilcher, national director of Triple Crown Series.
USA Tournament Series
Name: Aaron Martinez
Job title: Warehouse/Purchasing Agent
Hometown: Cedaredge, CO
Family: One rascal of a son, Julian Caddis Martinez, age 2. I am the second oldest of four boys, parents are Celeste and Anthony.
College attended: Red Rocks Community College, Metro State (Denver), Front Range Community College.
Sports background: As a youth, I was involved in all types of sports – especially T-Ball, wrestling, basketball, football and track. I played center and nose tackle in football, and discus and shotput were my track and field events. My most humbling moment in sports was wearing a coaches jersey in T-Ball because I was too big for the player’s uniform. My friends break out that team photo, often.
Hobbies: I was raised to love the outdoors and did plenty of hunting and fishing as a child. My No. 1 hobby is fly fishing; a river full of trout and a box of dry flies is my sanctuary. Would love to get art back into my life; I am also getting plenty of time in changing diapers.
Favorite trip: My honeymoon to Hawaii was the most memorable trip so far, as we visited all the major islands on a cruise. Five of my best friends and I made a fishing trip to Lake Michigan this summer, and that was also great.
How did you become associated with Triple Crown?: Rachel Cavallaro mentioned there was an opening, and I also saw the job post online.
What intrigues you the most about Triple Crown?: Triple Crown’s core values are what anyone would want to experience in a workplace. I see eye-to-eye with all of them. The Triple Crown staff has been very welcoming, and you get that “team” feel as soon as you walk in the door. It’s exciting to be a part of this unique industry.
Name: Kimberly Mehalos
Job title: Lodging manager -- focus on AZ Spring Championships, AZ Fall Championships, AZ/ABQ Pathway, SoCal, Las Vegas Fall Nationals, Best of the West (Sparks, NV).
Hometown: Gilbert, AZ
Family: Parents are Deno and Theresa Mehalos, married 50 years. My sister Kelly Graziano is married to Tony Graziano; their children are Alex, Joe and Grace. My two dogs are Duke (8) and Princess (11).
College attended/graduated: Johnson & Wales University, 1999
Sports background: Played slowpitch and fastpitch softball growing up; in high school I also played indoor soccer, golf and softball.
Favorite trip: In 2019, I took a 3-week trip to Europe, with destinations such as Paris, Barcelona, Mallorca, Ibiza, Malaga, Gibraltar, Portimao, Lisbon, Oporto, Honefleur and London.
How did you become associated with Triple Crown?: I have been working with TCS since 2009 as a hotel partner.
What intrigues you the most about Triple Crown?: The employees!
With full appreciation of the talent pool and competitive drive found within Texas youth baseball, Triple Crown Sports has entered into a marketing agreement with Central Texas Select Baseball for two 2022 events in Waco, TX.
First up is the North/South Shootout, set for Sept. 24-25, followed by the Battle on the Bosque, slated for Nov. 5-6. Both events welcome teams from age groups 9u through 14u; the primary facility for the tournaments is Riverbend Park, an eight-field complex in the north-central part of the city near the Bosque River.
“I have been involved in baseball for over 30 years as an organizational owner, coach, Perfect Game Director, event director and tournament director,” said CTS co-founder Sandy Shofner. “I am looking forward in helping revive youth baseball in the Central Texas area and especially at Riverbend Park in Waco.”
“Triple Crown has worked in and around Texas baseball for decades and has always appreciated how coaches and players from the state make our events special,” said TCS chief operating officer Sean Hardy. “We look forward to adding our skill set in spreading the word about Central Texas Select Baseball events and see a bright future with the market in and around Waco.”
Triple Crown Sports has been producing youth, high school and college events for 40 years and runs multiple events in the Dallas Metroplex. TCS also powers one of the largest and most well-regarded youth baseball events in the world, the SlumpBuster, which drew more than 715 teams in June 2022 and runs during the D-I College World Series in Omaha.
For more information on Central Texas Select events, go to www.ctsbaseball.com
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – Sure, pitching is the name of the game in claiming a Triple Crown Sports Omaha Slumpbuster championship trophy. Quite simply, you just gotta have enough available – and productive – arms.
But it also helps when a team has a competent offense and defense to support a dangerous pitching staff. No, a relentless offense and a flawless defense.
Now that better describes the Bolt.
To say the Utah-based club displayed all of the above and more during the course of the 13U D1 Platinum field would be an understatement.
A massive understatement.
The top-seeded Bolt refused to even smell defeat on its way to a perfect 7-0 tournament, capped by a 15-2 championship game victory over No. 19-ranked Vipers Black Sunday afternoon at the Council Bluffs Sports Complex.
“This is a special group,” Bolt coach Dale Rex said while his players and parents enjoyed photo sessions with the Slumpbuster trophy and championship rings. “I thought we’d compete for the championship here because we do have a lot of arms and we usually swing it pretty well, but I didn’t know that we’d win it all necessarily.”
How good were the first-time Slumpbuster participants? The Bolt outscored its opponents 93-6. Yes, that’s right. They crossed home plate nearly 100 times and surrendered just six in seven games, averaging a little more than 13 runs per contest.
After not allowing a run in pool play and earning a fat target on its backs, Bolt starting pitcher Sammy Dart said his team’s confidence was high.
“It’s got to be at the top,” he said. “We were the No. 1 seed and had all the pitching in the world. Our bats were always hot and I just felt great about us and our ability to get the job done.”
The uniqueness of this particular Bolt squad starts on the mound, as all 12 rostered players have the ability to throw strikes and record outs, according to the man in charge.
“I don’t believe any one of our pitchers threw more than 75 pitches the entire weekend,” Rex said. “Our No. 1 and No. 2 pitcher actually only threw one inning this weekend.”
Not too shabby.
Through the first five innings of the title game, the Bolt held on to a 4-1 lead. However, they found a new gear with a 10-run sixth inning to put things well out of reach. Rocky Downs executed a bases clearing triple, Pratt Morley roped a two-run single and Dart, Jaxon Cloward, Ryder Huntsman and Ledger Holmes all had run-scoring base hits.
“These kids take pride in having good at bats and they don’t try to do too much. Especially when one or two get going; we do a good job of moving runners over and stringing things together,” Rex said. “They’re not selfish players and their goal is to win games and tournaments and they were able to do that here.”
Dart, who according to Rex swung a consistently strong bat all weekend, tossed four innings of one-run ball while striking out six and allowing six hits. At the dish, Dart was 2-for-2 with an RBI double.
“I felt great with it being my first start of the tournament,” Dart said of his championship effort on the mound. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to start, but I was told to put on my flats before the game and I ended up feeling great today.”
Rex was more than satisfied with Dart’s efforts. Enough to deem Dart the team’s MVP of the tournament.
“He hit really well all weekend and we know he’s pretty special on the mound,” Rex said. “He doesn’t blow you away but he throws it firmly and he hits his spots and picks people apart. He takes pride in being a really good pitcher.”
“It’s all about energy and momentum,” Dart said. “One guy can get a big hit and then you just let the next guy do the same thing. You just need that first big hit.”
And that’s what the Bolt received. All weekend long.
“This is probably one of my favorite tournaments I’ve come to,” Rex said. “I love how easy it is to get everywhere and then to be able to go to some of the College World Series games has been amazing and hopefully inspire these kids to be there one day, as well. We look forward to coming back next year; this was awesome.”
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – Millard United Elite 14U defended its home turf on Saturday morning. The Omaha, Nebraska-based team, seeded No. 16, surprised the Slumpbuster D1 championship bracket field with a 4-1 upset of No. 1 Rawlings Prospects MD at the Council Bluffs Sports Complex.
Then, hours later, Millard United handled No. 9 Grey Sox 9-1 (South Carolina) to advance to the quarterfinals round. The locals will face the Minnesota Iceman at 11:15 a.m. Sunday at Zorinsky Complex Field 1.
Millard United coach Scott Semanisim and starting pitcher Jack Cosgrove were both not shocked that they were headed to Championship on Sunday.
“We had a lot of confidence. We just did our jobs,” said Cosgrove, who pitched two scoreless innings. “We plan to come back tomorrow and continue to dominate. If we do that, we have a good shot at winning this tournament.”
“They played well,” Semanisim said. “It was a rough start in pool play and we somehow snuck into a 16 seed. They were ready today and came out and played hard and played great baseball. They played with a next man up mentality and got the win.”
Semanisim added that he liked what he saw out of his starter.
“He did outstanding,” he said of Cosgrove. “He did exactly what he needed to do; he pounded the strike zone and got us through. We needed the innings and he gave it to us.”
After a 2-1 pool play effort, Millard United put the pieces together to make some noise and firmly implant themselves in the thick of things in bracket play. What did Semanisim tell his team before they faced the No. 1 overall seed?
“That we were going to beat them,” Semanisim said, acknowledging that pool play was not the team’s best effort. “They showed that they were better than (Rawlings).”
And what did the coach see in his squad on Saturday?
“Fire. They just came out and believed,” Semanisim said. “They were not happy with how they played in pool play. We just happened to scratch a couple runs across.”
Now, the goal is to bring that fire or, as Cosgrove stated, “dominate” on Championship Sunday.
“We love seeing the competition come from all over the country,” Semanisim said. “I tell everybody and Triple Crown. We’re the luckiest people in the world because we get to see all this fantastic competition and not leave home.”
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – The ball went from the shortstop to the second baseman to the first baseman. From the outside, it looked like a traditional 6-4-3 double play that has been seen and practiced countless times. But it was anything but. As the ball snapped off the leather of the first baseman’s glove, an outpouring of emotions came from the UT Grays sideline, as they had knocked off Beaver Valley Red, 6-3, to claim the 13u D1 Platinum Title.
“For us, some of our guys, this is their last tournament with us,” UT Grays Head Coach Mike Goff said fighting back tears. “So, it was going to be super emotional for us no matter what happened in this tournament, but for us to finish like this is just unbelievable. This group is amazing.”
Going up against a Beaver Valley Red team that had put up 93 runs in the six games leading up to the championship game and had fans of other teams sticking around just to get a glimpse of their prodigious hitting, it looked like the UT Grays found themselves in a David vs Goliath situation.
Beaver Valley Red looked locked in early on, as Will Swisher jumped on the first pitch of the game and hit it out to deep center field, bouncing off the top of the wall and staying just inside the park for a leadoff triple. Beaver Valley batted him in on the next batter and took a quick 1-0 lead, but UT Grays pitcher Mason Orchard settled down from there.
“Our team had been playing really solid defense all tournament,” Goff said. “We told our pitchers, ‘get the ball in play, we’ll make a play for you.’ I also told them that this team has been rolling over everyone and let’s see how they handle a team pushing back. We got two runs in the bottom of the first and that was huge for us to show that we weren’t just going to lay down.”
Orchard kept Beaver Valley out of rhythm, holding Beaver Valley to just that lone run through his three innings of work on the mound before turning the ball over to Titan Mozingo, who had already shined at the plate and behind the dish.
“We figured they had seen a lot of velocity before,” Goff said. “So we had our lefty on the mound who had a lot of good off-speed pitches and we went with him for as long as we could, and then we came in with the harder thrower in Titan (Mozingo). He hadn’t pitched the whole tournament, so he was ready to go, and he did awesome.”
Trailing 1-0, Mozingo got his team all squared in the bottom of the first inning with an RBI double that was laced into right-center field. Then in the third inning, Mozingo showcased his arm behind the plate, throwing out Beaver Valley’s leadoff hitter who was trying to steal second. In the bottom of the third, Mozingo once again came through with an RBI, and all of a sudden, UT Grays found themselves up 6-1 after putting up four runs in the bottom of the inning.
Now it was Mozingo’s turn on the mound. Mozingo stranded runners on 1st and 2nd in the top of the 4th inning, before surrendering two runs in the top of the 5th inning, but that was as much damage as Beaver Valley could muster. In the top of the 6th and for the final out in the 7th inning, Mozingo induced nearly identical ground ball double plays to get out of any danger.
“It’s a huge statement for us to finish like this,” Goff said. “To come out to the biggest tournament that we’ve ever played in and win it, it just says a lot. Our program back home is going to be super excited when we come home with this trophy and stick it on the shelves.”
Arizona Canes Gold solve the stress, finish the best in 13uDI Gold Bracket at SlumpBuster
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – While temperatures spiked up and didn’t much relent at the 2022 SlumpBuster, you could have taken the pulse of the Canes Arizona 13u Gold squad and not found cooler customers out of the hundreds of other teams at the event.
First, the Canes (from Scottsdale) fought through various moments of stress and strain in the DI Gold semifinals, holding off Hawks 13’s by a 5-4 margin in extra innings. And as an encore, the Canes prevailed in a good, old-fashioned defensive nail-biter, moving past the Placentia (CA) Mustangs in the title game, 3-2.
Braden Harmon threw five standout innings for the Canes in the championship matchup, allowing one first-inning run and notching four strikeouts, with one huge K ending the third inning with the bases loaded. Reliever Hawk Licari gave up a run in the sixth to make it 3-2 and saw the Mustangs load the bases in the seventh on a hit and two walks.
But he got the Mustangs to hit an easy-to-handle grounder to shortstop; with the out made a second base, the Canes could celebrate even if the heat might have sapped a few inches off their vertical jumps.
“It’s a great one to win, and anytime you win your last game everything feels good, whatever bracket it is,” said Canes coach Greg Halvorson. “The kids played great. You control what you can – these kids really play hard and grind, and they’ve been together a long time. They know how to win at the end of the game, and that’s what they did here in these last two.
“The kids always make it interesting, but (late-inning drama) is part of the game. They played hard, we played hard, and we were able to get it done.”
Christian Rojas walked to lead off the game for the Mustangs; he scored on a groundout by Jaxson Lang. The Canes responded with singles by Harmon and Sean Campbell and a two-run double from Jacoby Noble. Campbell came through with a triple to lead off the third, and he came home on a groundout by Chris Sinacori.
Campbell added a double with one out in the fifth, but he was stranded when a line drive from Noble was tracked down by the Mustangs defense.
“I was very confident up at the plate and usually a pretty good hitter,” Campbell said. “I started the day off not that good, but it came around and we were able to win the championship. We were pretty positive – Hawk is a very good pitcher and did a great job in the end.”
Harmon allowed just four hits and moved through his assignment with confidence. The Canes defense only had a couple of errors, and the one that came in the fifth was solved when Harmon got the final out of the frame on a pop fly to first base.
“As soon as I got in my comfort zone, I started to feel a bit better about everything,” Harmon said. “I was able to settle down. This was exciting at the end and great to come out on top. We were hoping for some more runs, but we know we have good pitching, guys who will pump strikes and finish it strong.”
TCS welcomes Riley Mincic
Name: Riley Mincic
Job title: IT Support Specialist
Family: Son of Vincent and Sherry Mincic. I have one brother Wesley Mincic. My sister-in-law is Brittany Mincic, and I have two nephews and a niece named Kohen, Kaide and Ella.
Hometown: Greeley, CO
Colleges attended: Pacific University (OR), University of Colorado-Boulder and Red Rocks Community College (currently enrolled)
Sports background: I have played baseball my whole life; my last year playing was my freshman year in college when I attended Pacific University. Other sports I played while I grew up and in high school include basketball, golf and tennis.
Proudest moment and humbling defeat: One of my most proud moments was winning the Legion State championship with my high school summer team at Greeley West High School. A loss that always sticks out is my first year playing tennis – I was one win away with my doubles partner from getting to the state playoffs my junior year of high school. Made me hungrier to get better to make that push for a state playoff spot.
Hobbies/Outside interests: There are many things that I like to call my hobbies, including playing and watching sports. Something that I love to do is go skiing as much as possible.
Favorite trip: One I'll never forget was a childhood trip I took with my parents and brother to Hawaii. There are so many memories that I have from that trip, good and bad. I can recount going out into the ocean and going hundreds of feet out and the water only going up to my waist until suddenly I walked into a trench and almost drowned but was able to get my feet back under me. Not a great memory but something I will never forget.
How did you connect with Triple Crown?: I first became associated with Triple Crown from a very young age. I played baseball with TCA at the time with the Greeley Gold. Our first year together as a team we won the Triple Crown Colorado State Championship. After playing I got into contact with Triple Crown for the IT position through baseball director Joel De La Rosa, who referred me for the job opening.
What intrigues you about Triple Crown?: Primarily, being a part of an organization that I know does good things for the sport I love the most, baseball. Being able to work with like-minded people who also care about the sport makes for a great environment.
FORT COLLINS, CO – United in their collective concern for the shortage of sports officials and the mission to improve how officials are treated, Triple Crown Sports and Officially Human have announced a partnership through the TCS event seasons of 2022 and 2023 to better highlight how players, parents and coaches can assist in fortifying this essential aspect of competitive sport.
Officially Human will be provided multiple platforms at TCS events to share the message about the crisis already affecting youth and college sports in terms of fielding enough officials to play the games. Triple Crown will soon be formalizing its own “no tolerance” policy regarding treatment of officials at TCS events, and Officially Human will assist in spreading the word about what is ideally a new era in appropriate behavior in the stands, on the sidelines and in the field of play.
Triple Crown will welcome Officially Human to its top events, including the Colorado 4th of July softball event in Colorado that will feature nearly 1,100 teams in 2022. Other events include the Omaha SlumpBuster baseball tournament (650 teams) and the 2023 TC Volleyball NIT, arguably the nation’s most competitive club tournament that will have about 550 teams in action at the Kansas City Convention Center.
Points of emphasis for the partnership include, but are not limited to, encouraging all involved to remember that officials are invested in what they do. Many officials have regular, full-time jobs, and they are sacrificing time away from their families. Empathy is critical -- how long would you continue to go to your job knowing that at any time you could be subject to verbal abuse or threatening behavior? Better treatment of sports officials is the best way to ensure these key members of our sports ecosystem work in an environment where they feel comfortable and safe.
Officially Human was founded by Brenda Hilton, a current employee in Division I college athletics who has spent most of her over 20 years working in low/mid/high major collegiate officiating, collaborating most closely with the assignors and the officials at the highest level of Division I men’s basketball.
”We are pleased to join Triple Crown Sports in addressing the officiating crisis affecting TCS, and frankly, all of youth sports,” said Brenda Hilton, Founder and CEO of Officially Human. “The entire TCS organization is first class, and their willingness to address these issues head on shows TCS continued leadership in youth sports. OH appreciates the ability to spread our message far and wide as part of the large and growing TCS event platform.”
“No one wants to imagine a situation where sports teams are sent home and seasons are cancelled because there are no officials to work the games, but it’s hardly impossible with the shrinking pool of willing officials around the country,” said Keri King, CEO of Triple Crown Sports. “We are steadfast in confronting the problem of how officials are treated, and Officially Human is the ideal messenger for this moment. It’s time to demand an end to the terrible behavior we sometimes see in competition – we cannot in good conscience sit back and assume the trends of disrespect and abuse are just going to stop on their own.”
About Officially Human
Based in Lombard, IL., Officially Human was founded to restore respect to, and positive treatment of, sport officials through increased education and communication to all stakeholders (administrators, coaches, athletes, and fans.) Founded in 2019, OH is the leader in addressing the growing crisis in officiating that touches every sport, official, and level of competition. OH offers tailored solutions to athletic host organizations of all sizes that improve the stakeholder experience at each of their sporting competitions. The comprehensive OH solutions package includes digital education, awareness building, event host communication strategies, and organizational support in addressing poor fan behavior.
About Triple Crown Sports
Based in Fort Collins, CO., Triple Crown Sports has been producing youth, high school and college events for 40 years. TCS runs both the preseason and postseason WNIT basketball events and produces the men’s and women’s DI Cancun Challenge tournaments in November. Triple Crown is also powering “WNIT” concept events in D-I softball (NISC) and volleyball (NIVC), with those two events debuting in 2017. Triple Crown’s PV College Challenge features 8-10 of the top DI college softball teams in the country each year in Puerto Vallarta, MX. TC 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 one of the largest youth baseball events in the world with the 650-team Omaha SlumpBuster during the College World Series. The Triple Crown Volleyball NIT has become the top-recruited club volleyball event in the country each February when 550 teams compete in Kansas City, MO.