Shelby Martinez tosses a ball to a coach during a drill Wednesday afternoon at a girls softball camp. The first of six youth Triple Crown tournaments begins Friday.

Photo by John F. Russell

Shelby Martinez tosses a ball to a coach during a drill Wednesday afternoon at a girls softball camp. The first of six youth Triple Crown tournaments begins Friday.

Triple Crown softball tourneys kick off Friday in Steamboat

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Paige Pelton snags a fly ball Wednesday during a girls softball camp hosted by Triple Crown.

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Morgan Zanski tosses a ball to a coach during a drill Wednesday afternoon at a girls softball camp hosted by Triple Crown.

— Signs of summer are apparent.

But maybe none more evident than the start of Triple Crown in the Yampa Valley.

After a camp ends Thursday, the first of six youth tournaments begins play Friday.

Triple Crown, in its 30th year in Steamboat, will be larger than last year and features six youth tournaments and an adult softball tournament.

It all begins Friday, when 65 girls softball teams come to town for the Mountain Magic tournament.

“It’s become a summertime staple,” said Michelle Krasilinec, the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association’s public relations manager. “We’re excited to have them back.”

The numbers certainly are encouraging.

Krasilinec said the conservative estimate is that Triple Crown will bring more than 13,000 summer guests during the seven sessions.

With 459 teams from 19 states and more than 6,000 players expected, 2012’s session shows significant growth.

“Steamboat’s (numbers) have never been a function of it being a bad program. Rather, it was a function of the economy,” said Jason McCoy, director of the Triple Crown World Series. “As it heals and parents have money in the pocketbooks, they say they need to get back to Steamboat.”

After this weekend, Steamboat will host a pair Mountain Magic baseball tournaments June 15 to 17 and 22 to 24.

Those tournaments are expected to bring 87 teams each, an all-time high for those events.

The June 28 to July 1 slow-pitch softball tournament will bring 30 teams to town.

There will be a break from the end of slow pitch until July 17, when the World Series returns to Steamboat.

The July 17 to 22 tournament will have 30 teams, and the July 24 to 29 will have 70.

The final tournament from July 31 to Aug. 5 will have 90 teams and feature play in Steamboat, Oak Creek, Hayden and Moffat County.

The July 28 championship game at 7:30 p.m. also will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network.

Krasilinec said the Chamber will be filming a commercial with Triple Crown that will broadcast during the championship game.

2012 Triple Crown schedule

Friday to Sunday: Mountain Magic girls softball tournament

June 15 to 17: Steamboat Mountain Magic baseball tournament

June 22 to 24: Steamboat Mountain Magic baseball tournament

June 28 to July 1: Fourth of July Mountain Magic slow-pitch softball tournament

July 17 to 22: Triple Crown World Series

July 24 to 29: Triple Crown World Series

July 31 to Aug. 5: Triple Crown World Series

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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