Easton A’s catcher Israel Gomez waits in the on-deck circle for his turn at bat during a Triple Crown game in July 2012 at Howelsen Hill. This year marks Steamboat Springs’ 32nd summer hosting a Triple Crown event.

Photo by John F. Russell

Easton A’s catcher Israel Gomez waits in the on-deck circle for his turn at bat during a Triple Crown game in July 2012 at Howelsen Hill. This year marks Steamboat Springs’ 32nd summer hosting a Triple Crown event.

Triple Crown returns to Steamboat Springs on Tuesday

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— Triple Crown Sports means different things to different people in the Yampa Valley. For many business owners, the return of the youth softball and baseball tournaments means economic opportunity. For baseball and softball fans, it means days spent in observational bliss. And for some, it just means more traffic on Lincoln Avenue.

But there’s one aspect of Triple Crown that can’t be argued: It has become a Yampa Valley summertime tradition.

This year will mark Steamboat Springs’ 32nd summer hosting a Triple Crown event, along with the second time the boys baseball 13 and under D1 championship game will be broadcast live on the CBS Sports Network. Beginning with the girl’s fast-pitch softball Mountain Magic Camp this Tuesday, Steamboat will be the location of six youth events and one adult softball tournament this summer.

The Yampa Valley seems to be an easy sell for Triple Crown Sports’ Colorado baseball tournament director Jared Rudiger.

“It’s obviously a destination location,” he said. “There’s a lot more to do than just play baseball.”

That could be the reason why 88 teams will be playing in the Yampa Valley on more than one weekend.

With so many teams, games for the boys baseball Mountain Magic Tournament will be played in Steamboat Springs, Hayden, Oak Creek and Craig. Rudiger said this dispersion of games is necessary but also difficult.

“Making sure the entire flow of the tournament works out smoothly,” he said about the challenge posed by needing to use multiple cities for a single tournament.

2013 Triple Crown schedule

■ June 11 to 16: Girls fast-pitch Mountain Magic Camp and Tournament

■ June 21 to 23: Boys baseball Mountain Magic Tournament

■ June 28 to 30: Boys baseball Mountain Magic Tournament

■ July 5 to 7: Adult softball Fourth of July Mountain Magic Tournament

■ July 23 to 28: Boys baseball World Series

■ July 30 to August 4: Boys baseball World Series

■ August 6 to 11: Boys baseball World Series

Jake Miller, a 2012 graduate of Steamboat Springs High School, is working as a summer intern for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. He recently completed his freshman year at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

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