New Hayden baseball fields likely to see Triple Crown play |

New Hayden baseball fields likely to see Triple Crown play

Jack Weinstein

— With the snow gone, the Hayden Parks and Recreation Department is working to get grass growing on the new baseball fields at Dry Creek Park to make them Triple Crown-ready by summer, Town Manager Russ Martin said Monday.

He said the town hopes investment in the park will entice Fort Collins-based Triple Crown Sports, which has hosted baseball and softball tournaments in Steamboat Springs since 1982, to schedule games in Hayden. Martin said Triple Crown has indicated that it would use the fields.

"The likelihood of needing or using Hayden for this year is high," Triple Crown President Dave King said Tuesday. "We definitely intend to use them."

King said Triple Crown games have been held in Hayden since 1996. In the past, games were played on the two Hayden Valley Elementary School fields.

The city of Steamboat Springs has provided $126,500 in the past two years for the construction of the fields, said Ernie Jenkins, Steamboat's parks supervisor. He said the investment paid for backstops, dugouts, bleachers, field equipment and the infield surface for three new fields. The town of Hayden and subcontractors performed the work, Jenkins said.

Martin said Hayden and Triple Crown each paid an additional $4,000 for more improvements.

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King said Triple Crown and Steamboat reached an agreement in 2006 to build four more fields. When that didn't work, he said they compromised to locate the fields nearby, and Hayden entered the picture.

Jenkins said Steamboat gave funding to Hayden to help it finish building the fields when the town couldn't.

"It was done to develop the park for the town of Hayden," Jenkins said. "But there will be periods over the summer where Triple Crown games will be scheduled there on two of the three fields."

In addition to the fields, Jenkins said Dry Creek Park has a building for concessions and offices and a covered picnic area that make it attractive for Triple Crown play.

Jenkins said that when not being used by Triple Crown, the fields will be available for the town's use. Martin said the agreement with Steamboat allows the city to also use the park for other purposes.

Steamboat's contract with Triple Crown expires after this year, but both sides are working to negotiate a "scaled-down" contract from what the tournament provider has brought in the past, King said.

He said that during the past 15 years, Triple Crown has used about 20 fields in Northwest Colorado, including Steamboat, Oak Creek, Hayden and Craig.

He said the number of quality fields Triple Crown can access near Steamboat would determine the number of tournaments that come to the area. In the past, King said there were great facilities in major metropolitan areas, but not many in destination locations. Now, he said there are great facilities in destination locations that also are vying to be tournament sites for Triple Crown.

Martin said the hope with Triple Crown is to draw visitors to Hayden who will spend money.

"I think for the business community, it will be nice to have some of those (visitors) in the town," he said. "I don't think it will be like it used to with tens of teams coming into town. But we'll see."