With two successful years in the rearview mirror and nothing but excitement about the road ahead, Triple Crown Sports and YouTube sensation Domingo Ayala have announced their partnership will continue with the release of the 2018 TCS Tour schedule.
Ayala’s “Theory of Beisbol” series and other videos on YouTube have racked up more than 28 million views. He has performed in a variety of settings, from indoor sports facilities, sports complexes, youth baseball fundraisers, corporate events and even in MLB locker rooms. Ayala’s unconventional journey to excellence as a profoundly skilled athlete provides a great deal of comedic material that sports fans continue to embrace; until that day he signs an MLB contract that properly rewards a player of his profound skill set, Triple Crown Sports is thrilled to have him on location.
“The players, coaches and families who play with us simply get a light in their eyes when Domingo Ayala shows up at the ballpark,” said Joe Santilli, director of baseball for Triple Crown Sports. “We are all about competition and skill-building with TCS baseball and softball, but it’s important to remember how much a good laugh makes it easier to stay in love with the game.”
Triple Crown Sports, which produces a variety of competitive, premier destination tournaments drawing thousands of athletes and their families, welcomes Domingo Ayala to the following events:
Arizona Spring Championships, Session 2 – March 17 (Phoenix, AZ)
Bend Elks Memorial Day Tournament – May 27-28 (Bend, OR)
Omaha SlumpBuster, Session 1 – June 14-15 (Omaha, NE)
Omaha SlumpBuster, Session 3 – June 23-24 (Omaha, NE)
Colorado Sparkler/Fireworks Fastpitch – June 27-28 (Denver, CO)
TC Baseball World Series – July 16 (Park City, UT)
U.S. Club Nationals – July 24 (Atlanta, GA)
TC Baseball World Series – July 31 (Steamboat Springs, CO)
Details on Domingo Ayala’s appearances will appear on the Triple Crown website (www.triplecrownsports.com) and TCS social media outlets; Ayala will also share details on his website (www.domingobeisbol.com) and Twitter feed (@DomingoBeisbol)
About Domingo Ayala:
Domingo Ayala was born and raised in Puerto Plata, DR sometime between 1978 and 1988 (records have not been verified). At a young age, with the influence of his cousin and longtime baseball coach, Vladimir Ayala, Domingo began to excel at the game of baseball. In the Dominican Republic, Domingo has been a 7-time Infielder of the Year and 6-time Outfielder of the Year award winner (two years overlapping when he played both SS and LF in order to hit twice in the lineup).
2018 marks the 15th year of the Triple Crown Sparkler. The Sparkler, Sparkler Juniors, and
Fireworks tournaments bring thousands of people to the beautiful state of Colorado for a
memorable week of softball and celebrating America.
The growth and popularity of this event over the past 15 years is unlike any other. It quickly
became one of the premier showcase tournaments in the country. In 2002, 108 teams
participated in the first year of the Colorado Sparkler. In 2017, more than 900 teams played in
the event and more than 2,500 girls participated in our Showcase All-Star games.
Headquarters is the Christopher Complex in Westminster, CO., appreciated as one of the finest
four-field complexes in the United States. We'll also be playing at facilities in Westminster,
Thornton, Northglenn, Federal Heights, Littleton, Arvada, Aurora, Brighton, Denver, Commerce
City, Lakewood and other northern Colorado cities. Each community has put a lot of time and
effort in to making the TC Sparkler a success, and we appreciate all their hard work.
One of the highlights of the Colorado Sparkler is the Showcase All-Star games, to be played at
Christopher Complex on Monday/Tuesday, June 25-26. The teams are formed based on
division, graduation class and region of the country and will be coached by NAIA and Junior
College coaches. This is a great opportunity for All-Star game players to interact with terrific
connections at the next level and learn about the college exposure process. The All-Star games
are also very beneficial for the college coaches, who are actively recruiting players based on
need of position as well as graduation year.
We will once again play our All-American games at Christopher Complex on our festival night of
Wednesday, June 27. College coaches will select the top performers from the Showcase All-
Star Games earlier in the week to play in these “Best of the Best” games. The All-American
games have a MLB All-Star Festival game feel, with over 10,000 fans packing the complex. On
festival night we will televise two games on ESPN 3. Game 1 will feature two of our top-ranked
18U teams squaring off; Game 2 showcases top players from both tournaments – count on the
Sparkler/Fireworks Best of the Best Game to be a preview of the future stars in college softball.
We will continue our All-Academic Games in 2018 at the Aurora Sports Park on Thursday, June
28. Student-athletes must meet one of the following criteria: 3.8 cumulative GPA, 28 or above
on ACT or class rank in the top 15%.
Also on June 28 at the Aurora Sports Park, we will have our second TV doubleheader
showcasing the 14U Power Pool as well as 16U Power Pool finalists. Alongside the TV games
we have our Home Run Competition as well as Fastest @ the 4th. We will also honor our
military by having a special game played there at the complex.
Our plans are to continue producing the best tournaments and showcase opportunities in the
nation. Triple Crown is dedicated to developing various opportunities within the college
placement experience to help players, as well as college coaches, with the recruiting process.
This is a fantastic event and definitely one that prospective student-athletes and college
coaches should not miss!
Check out http://www.cosparkfire.com/ for more details!
Knowing that speed is one of the roster’s strengths, the 18u Firecrackers-Rico softball team is almost crazily aggressive on the basepaths, and will sometimes run into outs trying so hard to advance.
Call it collateral damage that happens in pursuit of a larger cause.
Despite running (literally) into trouble a few times, the Firecrackers had the stronger offensive heartbeat Sunday during the Power Pool championship game, easing past Texas Glory-Shelton 4-0 at Aurora Sports Park. With sterling work from pitcher Brianna Jewett and airtight defense, the Firecrackers were able to survive an inconsistent start at Triple Crown’s Colorado Fireworks as well as some injuries.
Sunday, Jewett allowed just three hits; the Firecrackers took an early 1-0 lead on a home run from Julia Jimenez and scored again in the third. Two more runs came across in the fourth, one when Jimenez came so far off second base it compelled the Glory catcher to try for a pickoff, but no fielder was there to take the throw, and Jimenez came around to score.
“The dynamics of this team … we’re pretty speed-oriented. Our goal is to put the ball in play and put pressure on the other team,” said Firecrackers coach Tony Rico, whose team had runners thrown out in the first three innings. “You have to be patient when they are trying to make plays. So far it’s worked out in an up-and-down summer where we’re trying to get our defense untracked.”
“Up until Championship Day, we hadn’t been ahead in any games; we were chasing the score the entire week. But this day is a perfect example of things coming together, because I don’t think anybody would have bet on us giving up two runs in three games when we’re giving up two runs an inning.”
Jewett did walk two batters in the fifth inning but got out of a two-out threat with a flyout to left field. She struck out three batters, got eight groundball outs and a couple more on harmless pop flies – with the Glory winning three straight games in the bracket via shutout, Jewett needed to be sharp. Rico was quick to note his appreciation of coach Ron Weil, who called the pitches and was working in perfect sync with Jewett.
“As we got to the end of the tournament, I definitely had to step up and pitch a lot of games and throw a lot of innings, but everyone contributed,” said Jewett, a junior who has committed to attend Harvard. “A lot of the games we’d been coming back from behind, so it was great to get a lead and jump on them early. We say every pitch has a purpose, so you go in one inning at a time and finish out the game.”
Alyssa Pinto had two hits and an RBI for the Firecrackers, and Kaitlin Parsons bounced back from taking a pitch to the ribs to start the game and later singled and scored. Jimenez, a verbal commit to Michigan, added two hits as well.
“I had a 3-1 count, and I knew something was coming. I was waiting for a good pitch drive, and let loose on it,” Jimenez said about her home run to dead center, which didn’t seem to get more than 10 feet off the ground. “It felt good off the bat – wasn’t planning on it, but I wanted to hit it hard.
“We got it together and pushed through everything. There is pressure (on the Firecrackers), because all these girls have heart, and everyone competes for a spot. If you don’t compete at their level, you may not perform … you want to perform and make the team better.”
Taryn Antoine (LSU commit) had a double for the Glory; Mariah Nichols (Memphis commit) threw two scoreless innings in relief.
As the reigning back-to-back champions of the Triple Crown Fireworks Super 64 bracket, all the pressure was on Athletics – Mercado/Smith once again to deliver on Championship Sunday in Aurora.
Head coach David Mercado’s squad was up to the challenge, however, outlasting the EC Bullets, 6-3, to once again claim the crown in the 16u division.
“I think it shows how close this team is to each other,” said Mercado. “They’ve been playing together their whole lives and have really jelled to produce outcomes like this.”
The Bullets struck the first blow of the heavyweight bout, mashing a solo home run off starting pitcher Lexi Sosa in the bottom half of the first inning.
“She got a good hit off me,” said Sosa. “With that behind me, my teammates really calmed me down and I was able to focus on one batter at a time.”
It didn’t take long for the Athletics to respond. Catcher Kinzie Hansen led the top of the second inning off with a walk. Two batters later, with Hansen’s replacement runner at third, Paige Smith dialed up a sacrifice fly to tie the game at one.
Pitching with a lead, Lexi Sosa was able to make some key adjustments which seemed to fool the EC hitters. Through the next three innings, Sosa gave up just one walk and never let any one batter further than second base.
Offensively, Mercado looked for a little breathing room in the fourth inning. With two runners on, Alyssa Garcia delivered a monstrous 2-RBI single to give the Athletics the lead, 3-1. Lexi Sosa helped herself out with an RBI of her own to stretch the advantage, 4-1.
An inning later, EC threatened to climb back on top. The Bullets’ second extra-base hit plated two runs for EC and suddenly, the margin shrunk to one, 4-3.
“It’s important for us to match up inning for inning,” said Page Smith. “The quicker we can respond, the quicker we can stop their momentum and regain ours.”
Smith would have to wait until the top of the seventh inning for her chance to respond, but it was an opportunity she wouldn’t wasted. When she arrived at the plate, two runners already in scoring position. Smith promptly blasted a double to left field, scoring two runs and separating the Athletics from the Bullets, 6-3.
“They changed pitchers right before my at-bat,” explained Smith. “With a rise ball pitcher in then, with that wind, I knew I could keep my hands level and drive one.”
The Athletics then leaned on Shannon Bustamante, who had come in relief during the fifth inning, to close out the championship. Bustamante weathered the storm nicely, navigating through multiple scoring chances for the Bullets before forcing the final fly out to right field to seal the Super 64 title, 6-3.
“Shannon has been our go-to this week,” said Mercado. “Our pitching wasn’t as good as it normally is this week. We’ve nick-named Shannon ‘Engine 57’ because she put out so many fires this week.”
Impressively, Athletics – Mercado/Smith capped off its third straight championship with the same roster at the Triple Crown Fireworks tournament. The 2017 edition featured multiple come from behind victories, including a walk-off against a talented Firecrackers Brashear squad.
“It says a lot about this group of individuals that they didn’t take it lightly,” said Mercado “We know that when we come to this tournament, we’ll be facing the best in the country. For them to hold it together and play like they did is outstanding.”
Offense had come easy for the Georgia Impact National Team – Lewis, outscoring their opponents 93-19 in the first seven games of the Colorado Fireworks. So, when the team found themselves trailing to the Louisiana Gold 7-2 in the sixth inning of the 18U Elite championship game, players, coaches and fans were scratching their heads wondering what was going on.
“We didn’t do what we wanted to through the first five innings,” said head coach Logan Foulks. “I finally took myself out of the dugout and said it was up to them. This is the kind of team they are; they just keep fighting.”
Fighting is exactly what they did.
The Impact would score six runs in the bottom of the sixth to take an 8-7 lead and would hold on to win the 18U Elite championship.
“I am so proud of this team,” said Foulks. “When you are not getting the offensive production you are used to in innings one through five, it is easy to get discouraged. Instead, they stood up as a team and found a way to make it happen.”
The offensive explosion in the sixth was kickstarted by Janelle Mathis, a 2018 grad committed to Eastern Illinois. Mathis led off with a double and teammate Ashlynn Gunter followed up with an RBI double, knocking in Mathis. The onslaught would continue as Georgia State commit Olivia Davis recorded the third consecutive double of the inning for the Impact, and an RBI single by Bailee Zeitler would knock in Davis and Gunter cutting the Bomber lead to 7-5.
Future Georgia Southern outfielder Hannah Scarbrough would knock in Zeitler on a single, and the fourth double of the inning by Faith Shirley would score Scarbrough, knotting the game up at 7-7. A sacrifice fly by Lou Bowers brought home Shirley for what would be the winning run.
The Bombers jumped to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning and held the Impact scoreless through the first two. A two-run homer by Shirley would finally get the Impact on the board in the bottom of the third, cutting the deficit to 3-2. The Impact would load the bases with one out in the fourth inning, but could not capitalize.
“It felt amazing to hit that home run,” said Shirley. “I was just trying to make good contact with the ball and that’s exactly what I did.”
The Bombers would tack on one more run in the fourth, two in the fifth and another in the sixth giving them what was thought a comfortable lead at 7-2 going into the bottom of the sixth.
“We were a little down heading into the bottom of the sixth,” said Shirley. “But we got into a huddle as a team and told each other to pick it up and make something happen. As soon as we got people on base it became clear that we had a chance to win this.”
The Impact finished the tournament 8-1 and are headed back home tonight before leaving for Chicago on Tuesday to play in an event at Notre Dame, followed by the Demarini Invitational.