Triple Crown Returns To Rim Country

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About 300 girls softball players on 22 teams will descend June 23 and 24 on the Rim Country to participate in the Triple Crown USA Payson Summer Championships.

Triple Crown sports director Bobby Pena said teams from Pinetop, Flagstaff, Cottonwood, Winslow, Tucson and the Phoenix area have entered the girls fast-pitch tournament.

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Aspiring fast-pitch softball players from around the state will be in the Rim Country June 23 and 24 to participate in the Payson Invitational.

The tournament will feature play in five age divisions, from 10-and-under to 18-and-under. Games will tip off opening day at 7 a.m. and continue until about 10 p.m. On Sunday, games will be played from 7 a.m. until about 3 p.m. All games will be played on the five fields at Rumsey Park.

There is no admission charge for spectators.

Last summer, the tournament drew about 40 club teams to Payson.

The tournament created an economic impact, estimated to be about $250,000 by then-director of the Payson Parks and Recreation Department, Bill Schwind.

A problem facing Triple Crown both last year and for the upcoming tournament is finding enough motel and hotel rooms to house the players, families and friends.

"That's always tough in Payson," Pena said. "Last year, we had some teams stay at the Fort McDowell Resort and commute to Payson."

Triple Crown Sports, which is relatively new to the Rim Country, hosts girls fast-pitch programs for competitive, select and traveling softball teams.

At the conclusion of each season, World Series events are held in Park City, Utah.

TCS also sponsors youth tournaments in soccer, baseball and basketball, in all 50 states.

Arizona tournaments are held in Scottsdale, Bullhead City, Tucson, Peoria and Phoenix.

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