LA VISTA, Neb. – It’s a rare thing to hear a raucous cheer from the stands, see parents and players fist pumping and giving high fives and pure elation for a game that ends in a tie. But for PPBA Lumberjacks 12u and its fans, the tie sure felt like a win.
The Lumberjacks, hailing from Monument, Colo. took on Beaver Valley Red (Beaver Falls, Penn.) in its first game, which ended in a 13-1 loss.
“We drew a team that was just amazing,” Head Coach Caleb Provencio said. “It’s good for us to play that level of baseball where you literally don’t get away with anything.”
Early on in this game against Loveland Generals, it looked like PPBA could be headed towards a similar fate. After the Lumberjacks got two on base in the top of the first inning, a passed ball ended in a runner being thrown out at second base to end the inning.
Loveland Generals wasted no time finding its offensive rhythm, jumping out to a quick 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. The Generals continued to look dominant for much of the afternoon, displaying a nice mix of both offensive and defensive team baseball.
Every time the Lumberjacks looked close to getting a rally together, Loveland’s defensive acumen was on full display, twice throwing out a runner at the plate from the outfield. Offensively, Loveland was steady, adding to its lead and taking a 6-0 advantage into the 5th inning.
PPBA scored one run in the top of the 5th inning, but still faced a daunting 6-1 deficit heading into the final frame and hadn’t looked like threatening. In the 6th inning though, with their backs against the wall and down to their final outs, everything changed. PPBA started finding its rhythm, and all of a sudden, the hitting was contagious. Each player stepped up to the plate and made solid contact, sending the ball out to left field or center field and advancing the runner, one base at a time. With the bases loaded and two outs, PPBA brought one runner home. And then another. And then another. Until it was eventually 6-4, and Loveland Generals was forced to bring in a new pitcher.
Enter Evan Dann. A moment that kids dream about, but few are able to have the chance to come through in a moment like that. Facing the new pitcher, Dann found the pitch he was looking for and laced one into left field, scoring two runs and tying the game. Cheers erupted from the stands as the 6-0 deficit was erased in the blink of an eye.
“I was just thinking ‘don’t get out,” Dann said. “I didn’t want to lose the game.”
“For us, I just remind our kids that we always give 100 percent for all six innings,” Provencio said. “We aren’t afraid of making mistakes and we are always encouraging each other. They are 12, so they aren’t going to always do it and we have to remind them, but this is who we are. When you aren’t afraid to make mistakes, good things are going to happen.”
Next up, the Lumberjacks will look to continue the momentum from the last couple of innings into bracket play which begins on Saturday. Then the team will enjoy one of the main draws that brings teams to Omaha for the SlumpBuster… The College World Series.
“It’s good to see baseball at that level,” Provencio said of the College World Series. “I think for most of these kids, it (college) seems like a long way off, but when you are coaches and parents you realize it goes by in an instant and if they want to be at that level, it’s great to see. Mostly it’s all about bonding for these boys. It’s great to get them out and just watch them go.”
The biggest, boldest and brightest youth baseball tournament in the world is back in action in 2022.
Triple Crown Sports is eager to produce the 20th annual Omaha SlumpBuster, which will welcome 675 teams over multiple sessions, beginning with 9u-14u play in and around the city from June 16-19. The tournament continues with sessions set for June 20-22 and June 23-26 – officials expect programs from over 40 states will be in attendance, with about 70 hotels in the area securing room nights from travel teams.
There are two dedicated Festival Nights at the SlumpBuster (June 16 and June 23), to be hosted by the Council Bluffs Recreation Complex in Council Bluffs, IA. The evening features an on-field skills challenge, vendors and merchandise shopping, pin trading, inflatables and baseball comedian Domingo Ayala counting down the clock for the traditional Burning of the Bats, where two 10-foot wooden bats are set ablaze along with a fireworks display.
All told, more than 30 complexes will be pulled into service for the event, which is bouncing back to pre-pandemic numbers. The 2019 event featured an all-time high of 736 teams and more than 500 teams in each of the previous four years.
The desire to play baseball in Omaha/Council Bluffs in early summer has evolved as well, with Triple Crown’s Pathway Baseball division set to run parallel events June 16-20 (15u/16u) and June 23-27 (17u/18u) in partnership with Iowa Western Community College. In this unique format, teams will stay on campus and be immersed in a college environment with strong competition while college coaches direct and educate along the way.
The SlumpBuster tournament is a marquee draw for teams as youth teams get the opportunity to see the College World Series, which runs concurrent with the tournament. The chance to play unique competition from around the nation and check out CWS action are the calling cards for the SlumpBuster.
“We are thrilled to be up near our historic pre-pandemic numbers in 2022,” said event director Brandon Hardy. “The past few years have been tough on everyone, but we couldn’t be more excited for this 20th edition of the SlumpBuster, which is sure to be one of our biggest and best events yet.”
“The 2022 Triple Crown SlumpBuster tournament will create an even greater sense of normalcy for Council Bluffs hospitality businesses than they’ve felt in the past three years,” said Mark Eckman, executive director of the Council Bluffs Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Our hotels, restaurants, and other businesses can’t wait to see the flood of players and fans return to the metro. It’ll seem like a family reunion.”
“The Triple Crown SlumpBuster tournament is an exciting time in Omaha with thousands of young athletes, coaches and families pouring into our city and exploring attractions, dining in restaurants, and filling our hotels,” said Visit Omaha executive director Deborah Ward. “This year, the tournament is expected to make a $25 million impact on our local economy over the course of the three sessions.”
Follow the event on Twitter @TCSlumpBuster and Instagram @tcs_baseball.
Get your parents and coaches ready to act, 10 a.m. CST.
To all our SlumpBuster teams,
College World Series tickets will go on sale Tuesday, April 19 at 10 a.m. CST. Tickets can only be purchased online. Teams are responsible for purchasing their own CWS tickets, as Triple Crown DOES NOT have access to any inventory. Each individual person can purchase a maximum of eight tickets – best plan is to have a group of coaches/parents at a computer and ready to buy tickets.
Remember that SlumpBuster games are scheduled from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. each day.
WEATHER CONFLICTS – There is always a possibility due to inclement weather, SlumpBuster games may extend into the evening. Our recommendation is to purchase CWS tickets to evening games.
Click here for the 2022 CWS schedule:
Microsoft Word - 2017 CWS Schedule.docx (cwsomaha.com)
Click here to purchase tickets on April 19:
DI Baseball Tickets | NCAATickets.com
FORT COLLINS, CO – While YouTube and social media standout Domingo Ayala continues his quest for a deserving spot in the big leagues, Triple Crown Baseball is refusing to wait around with the announcement that the all-category All-Star will appear at four TCS events in the summer of 2022.
The 2022 Domingo Ayala Tour will include stops at the Omaha SlumpBuster festival nights of June 16 and June 24, along with appearances at the TC World Series in Colorado’s Vail Valley on July 19 and July 26.
Ayala, who is said to have burst on the baseball scene in his native Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic at age 2, commands respect for his game today as (approximately) a 17-year-old phenom of the highest degree, with shocking pitching and batting stats to go with these other impressive numbers:
Facebook: 332,000 followers
“A home run is only as good as you make it look. That’s why you gotta pop the chain ERRYTINE,” Ayala said.
Ayala has performed in a variety of baseball settings over the years, from MLB clubhouses to youth fundraisers to corporate events. This will be the sixth year Domingo has displayed his wit and wondrous skillset at Triple Crown tournaments.
“Even though Domingo has a Hall-of-Fame resume, he’s always been happy to offer his insight and help players become great, although certainly not as great as he is,” said Brandon Hardy, SlumpBuster event director. “We’ll have him do the countdown for our Burning of the Bats fireworks show and stick around to visit with his adoring fans.”
Here’s the schedule for the 2022 Domingo Ayala TC Tour:
June 16 – Omaha SlumpBuster, Session 1
June 24 – Omaha SlumpBuster, Session 3
July 19 – TCS World Series, Vail Valley, CO
July 26 – TCS World Series, Vail Valley, CO
About Triple Crown Sports
Based in Fort Collins, CO., Triple Crown Sports has been producing college and youth events for 40 years, with more than 90 events scheduled for 2022 in the arenas of youth baseball, fastpitch, basketball, lacrosse and volleyball. The TCS footprint includes both the preseason and postseason WNIT basketball events and the men’s and women’s Cancun Challenge tournaments in November. Triple Crown is also powering “WNIT” concept events in D-I softball (NISC) and volleyball (NIVC), with those two events debuting in 2017. TCS youth fastpitch tournaments (including the 900-team Sparkler/Fireworks event) draw the nation’s finest club programs, and hundreds of college coaches attend TCS events for recruiting purposes.
By Adam Burns
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — The Louisiana BlueClaw Baseball 14u squad put an exclamation mark on its summer baseball season on Sunday.
Playing in its final tournament of the summer, BlueClaw captured the Omaha SlumpBuster 14u D2 championship with an 8-6 victory over the CV Canes at the Council Bluffs Recreation Complex.
“We played a lot of baseball games so it’s good to go out on top,” BlueClaw coach David Coleman said. “We did what we intended to do. We wanted to win at least two pool games and be a higher seed, whether it’d be in the top bracket or in the second bracket. It ended up working out for us.”
Indeed it did. BlueClaw, seeded second in the 14u D2 bracket, earned its fifth straight tournament victory on the season with a strong offensive attack and solid defense.
“It’s definitely a grind,” Coleman said of the three-game Sunday format. “We had a little momentum, too, with our recent success. It was good to see them perform under pressure.”
“We played well, our defense was on lockdown and our offense woke up today,” BlueClaw’s Cy Barrow said. “We just had to keep in mind what we were playing for and that’s each other.”
The Canes, seeded fourth in bracket play, bounced back from an 8-2 deficit with a four-run fifth. Landon Bastien delivered the big blow in the frame, a two-run line drive single to right field.
But, after allowing the runs, Barrow settled down, completing 2 1/3 innings of work with four strikeouts.
The Canes managed to get on the board first, plating two runs in the second. BlueClaw responded with three runs in the bottom half of the second to take the lead for good. They added to their lead with four runs in the third and one more in the fourth for an 8-2 lead.
Then, the Canes battled with their response in the fifth.
“That’s the story of this team. They’re never out,” Canes coach Mike Harris said. “You can never count them out. They continued to fight.”
But, in the end, it wasn’t enough to knock off a motivated BlueClaw squad.
“It was a great tournament,” Harris said. “It was the first one we’ve played outside the state of California. I was really proud of these guys for playing nine games this weekend and playing in 14s as a 13-year old team. That’s a lot to say for a young group, so I couldn’t be more proud of them.”