Offense has not been a problem for the Fort Collins Force. Tallying 31 across its first two games, the Force took care of Slammers Prospects, 17-10, and finished off Dirtbags Baseball, 14-4, to sit atop Pool A in the 10u D2 division of the 2018 Triple Crown Colorado State Championships.
“I think you saw us play our game of baseball today,” said head coach Darin Cox. “Sometimes, it’s easy for these boys to get confused with what we’re telling them and what they’re parents are telling them. Today, they were focused and took it one batter at a time.”
Fresh off an impressive victory against a Slammers team that was coming off a double-digit win themselves, Fort Collins was looking for a hot start to kick off Game 2.
“Hot starts are really important for us,” said Jake Batinger. “Every time we get off to a good start, we feel extremely confident that we’ll end up winning in the end.”
After shutting out the Dirtbags with a 1-2-3 top of the first inning. Batinger led the bottom half of the frame off with a single, stole both second and third and came around to score on a passed ball. Max Fowler would also score in the inning, giving Fort Collins an early 2-0 advantage.
“We’re all pretty aggressive on the bases,” said Batinger. “It’s part of who we are as a team. We all have that mentality.”
The Dirtbags struck back in the top of the second inning. Scoring two runs on two hits, the Greeley-based squad leveled up the game with four innings to play.
Working quickly in the bottom of the frame, the Dirtbags took the lead for the first time of the day in the top of the third, pushing one run across.
“I think the boys were a little tight in the first couple of innings,” Cox explained. “They all wanted to hit that double, triple or home run. Once we got them to settle down and focus on just getting a base hit, things really started to pick up.”
Cox’s squad came into the bottom of the third with the exact mentality the coaching staff desired. Fort Collins sent 13 batters to the plate in the inning, scoring nine runs in breakout fashion. Noah McFarland along with Ian Sanderson and Wrigley Cox each came up with an RBI to stretch the Force’s lead, 11-3.
On defense, the Force made use of three different pitchers who all relied heavily on the players behind them to keep the lead intact.
“Our defense is really strong,” said Ian Sanderson, who stepped firmly into the middle reliever role for the Force. “We do a ton of drills every day in practice. Live-ball batting practice with a full infield, double play drills, you name it. We do it a million times in practice and that’s why it gives us confidence in games.”
After the Dirtbags tallied a fourth run in the top of the fourth, Fort Collins needed an extra three runs to close a second consecutive win. Batinger came through once more with a single and a run scored off Fowler’s RBI hit but it was Sanderson who delivered the decisive blow with an RBI single to seal the game, 14-4.
“It’s all about positivity,” Sanderson said. “If we’re positive in warmups, in the dugout and on the field I feel like this team can’t lose.”
The Force face two more pool play games on Saturday before the championship bracket begins on Sunday. With its two wins and high run differential, Fort Collins has a strong hold on the No. 1 seed in Pool A.
“I think Ian said it best,” Cox said. “We’re a confident bunch but we need to stay positive. Our motto has always been ‘so what, now what.’ We won two games, now what?”
What better way to honor our troops than to play America’s favorite game on Memorial Day Weekend? Triple Crown Baseball hosted another successful Memorial Day Classic in Northern Colorado this past weekend.
The event featured 83 teams in 9's through 14’s age divisions. The 4-game guarantee started on Saturday and continued through Monday and there were various levels of play offered including Division 1, 2, 3 and combo divisions as well.
Congratulations to all of the teams that earned the hardware, and thank you to all those men and women serving this country so we can feel safe and enjoy the great game of baseball!
Memorial Day Classic 2018 Champions
9’s D1: Salty Dawgs Baseball Club
9’s D2: Warriors Elite Bombers
10’s D2: WYCO 2026
10’s Combo: Elite Baseball Vais
11’s D2: TCA Titans
11’s D3: Windsor Shockers
11’s D1/D2 Combo: UA Hooligans-Griego
12’s Combo: Choice Select
13’s D2: 406 Flyers
13’s Combo: TC Wolves Blue
14’s D2: H3 Baseball
14’s Combo: Thunder Academy Red
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
Lucky for our lawns, northern Colorado received plenty of spring showers this past weekend, however it wasn’t the ideal weather for a baseball tournament. Regardless, Triple Crown Baseball toughed it out to put on The May Melee in Longmont, Firestone, Johnstown and Greeley.
The event featured 70 local Colorado teams as well as a few Wyoming clubs across the 8u-14u age groups and D1, D2 and D3 divisions.
“We were really happy to get a majority of teams a full schedule for the weekend. Even though the weather wasn’t ideal, we’re lucky to have great facility partners that were up with me at 4:30 a.m. working on fields to get them playable,” said TC Colorado Baseball event director Mike Magaro. “Jim Netzel from Longmont and the rest of his staff deserve all the credit in the world and I can’t thank them enough for the work they did Sunday morning. I’m sure there’s a lot of facilities out there that see puddles on the field and want to cancel the day, but those guys worked their tails off to get games up and running by noon Sunday.”
It clearly took a lot of help and hard work to make this event happen so big thanks to the NoCo facilities staff and our Triple Crown staff. And congrats to the teams who suffered the chilly weather and rain delays and were rewarded with a championship trophy at the end of it all.
The May Melee 2018 Champions
10’s D1/D2 Combo: Slammers Stealth
11’s D1/D2 Combo: Fort Collins Tigers
11’s D3: WYCO 2025
12’s D1/D2 Combo: Slammers Bauer
13’s D1: NoCo Rush Blue
13’s D2: Denver Legends
13’s D3: CO Khaos – Naturals
14’s D1: NC Bombers
14’s D2: Slammers Seeley
The Wolfpack Ninja Tour is bringing the emerging sport of Ninja Obstacle Racing to fans, athletes and fitness enthusiasts far and wide. The next big thing in cross-sport athletic training presented in an adrenaline pumping competition event is as entertaining as it is effective, plateau-busting physical conditioning.
Triple Crown Sports is pleased to support the broad goals of the Wolfpack Ninja Tour, which highlight the core values of social responsibility, fighting childhood obesity and getting kids moving, and creating spectator sport entertainment that will bring out the athlete in everyone. Health and fitness, and a love for competition, are essential priorities for athletes taking part in Triple Crown’s baseball and softball events, making the message of the Wolfpack Ninjas relevant in all ages.
“The goals of the Wolfpack Ninja Tour are simple. First, we want to make the world healthier one kid at a time. Second, we want to provide Ninja sport to a whole new generation of kids. And third, we want to instill seeds of greatness, self-dedication and obviously nutritional habits that are going to last a lifetime.” -- Wolfpack Ninjas President and Co-Founder, Dr. Noah Kaufman.
The Wolfpack Ninja Pro Team is already well known for their dominance on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior and Team Ninja Warrior, and have used that platform to introduce this exciting format and its benefits across a variety of sports. Ninja training develops myriad skills, including: speed, explosiveness, balance, strength and agility. The Wolfpack Ninja Tour is bringing fast-paced, adrenaline-pumping competition and unique coaching to venues all over the country, making Ninja Obstacle racing the new movement in sports training. Working with their charity partner, Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), Wolfpack Ninjas will provide education, access and support to young athletes in order to maximize their opportunities in their favorite sports.
Triple Crown Sports customers are invited to enjoy the training and competition experience of the Wolfpack Ninja Tour, November 3-5 at the Budweiser Events Center, Loveland CO, using our exclusive 10% off code: WOLFTRIPLE. Offer good through Oct. 31
Ticket info HERE!
It wasn’t easy, but the Colorado Aces found a way to get the job done Saturday at Bill Swift Field in Loveland, Colorado.
The Colorado Springs Majestic battled tooth-and-nail with the team based out of Parker, but it just wasn’t enough as the Aces won 10-8, maintaining an unblemished 4-0 record in the 14U division of the Colorado State Championships.
“You got to hand it to the Majestic, they’re a quality club and at the end of the day those kids are going to compete,” coach Walker Rheem said. “It’s nice to see our kids rise to the occasion and get it done when we needed to.”
The Aces struck first in the bottom of the first inning with three runs to take a 3-0 lead. Eventually, the Majestic got one back in the second.
It was in the top of the third inning where things got interesting. The Majestic cut the lead to 3-2 on a triple to left field, but the Aces executed a perfect relay to throw the trail runner out at home. However, on the next at-bat, the Majestic knotted the game at three with a single.
As would be the theme throughout the contest, the Aces had an answer.
Plating four runs in the bottom half of the third, the Aces reclaimed the lead, 7-3. Catcher Beau Baldensperger put the Aces up 5-3 with an RBI single before Ryan Gunning opened the game up with a two-run, two-out double.
The Majestic would not go away, though. The team from Colorado Springs wasted no time putting traffic on the bases in the top of the fourth inning. Each of the first three runners all reached, loading them up with no outs.
After the Aces got a a force out at home, a bases clearing triple brought the Majestic within one run and shifted the momentum to its side. On the next at-bat, the Majestic completed another rally, once again with an RBI single to even the score at seven.
The Aces were able to avert some danger in the top of the fifth inning. The Majestic put the go-ahead runner on third base with one out. Then, pitcher Quinton Low induced a pop-up where the Aces’ shortstop made an impressive over-the-shoulder catch and then appeared to double up the runner on third base to end the inning.
After the umpires convened in the middle of the diamond, the call was overturned and the runner returned to third. Following a walk that put runners on the corners with two outs, Low secured the final out and ended the threat.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Aces took the lead once-and-for all. An RBI double plated the go-ahead run. Then, Baldensperger stepped up to the plate with one runner on and two outs. He got a pitch right in his wheelhouse and crushed it over the left field fence to give the Aces a 10-7 lead.
“It was low and inside and that’s my favorite pitch to hit,” he said. “I’ve been working on my swing and inside (pitches) are one thing I’ve been really focusing on.”
He said that was the first home run he’s hit in a while.
Low sent the Majestic down in order in the sixth inning before the Aces staved off a last-chance rally in the seventh.
The Aces got received contributions from everywhere in the lineup. Its pitchers were able to limit walks and anytime they needed a clutch hit, it happened.
“Part of the Aces is executing what’s called, bunts, hit-and-runs and delayed steals,” Rheem said. “Executing plays that go along with being a team. Our pitchers threw strikes, we were aggressive at the plate and we had timely hitting. It’s interesting because towards the end of the season it’s a grind. You’ve played 60-some games and trying to keep everybody healthy, it’s a full team effort.”
The win puts the Aces in a strong position heading into championship Sunday. Sporting a 4-0 record, the Aces will earn the top seed and need just two more victories to bring home the title.