Last weekend, 81 boys baseball teams converged on the Wenatchee Valley for the fifth annual Triple Crown season opener.
The tournament featured teams from Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Montana and Canada, bringing some 2,500 visitors to the Wenatchee Valley. They were greeted by weather that was truly hard to beat. But it wasn’t only the weather that made a lasting impression.
One aspect that makes this tournament unique is that teams are treated to opening ceremonies the night before play begins. We were fortunate enough to have a Wenatchee Wild playoff game scheduled at Town Toyota Center that night, so for the second year in a row, that was our setting. The cooperative attitude shown by the Wild, Triple Crown and the Town Toyota Center was an absolute pleasure to be involved with. Their efforts truly gave teams a night to remember. A dozen area businesses stepped up to contribute raffle prizes for the players, unheard of in many other areas. Attending teams were paraded on ice during the first intermission while receiving scoreboard recognition, and they got to take in playoff hockey before a near capacity crowd. It was an economic boost for the Wild and Town Toyota Center, it made Triple Crown shine as an event organizer, and it was just a flat-out fun experience.
As for actual play, a total of 17 baseball fields were in use over the weekend. When the tournament began Saturday, teams were treated not only to the great weather, but playing surfaces that were in fantastic condition. I personally heard several compliments about the efforts of the Chelan County Public Utility District field crews, and those from Wenatchee Valley College, our school districts and parks and rec departments. Their efforts really paid off. It’s not easy to get fields in top notch condition by early April. Besides transforming grounds from late winter to early spring, many fields also had been set up for other sports, such as lacrosse. You would have never known.
The result of all these efforts and cooperative attitudes once again showcased us as a great place to come and play. Besides boosting the economy to the tune of well over $400,000, it surely made a lasting impression on the hundreds of folks who were experiencing the Wenatchee Valley for the first time. When they’re ready to consider future vacations, our valley will be at or near the top of many a list. From a sports tourism coordinator’s viewpoint, I can tell you it doesn’t get much better than that.
Matt Kearny is coordinator of sports tourism for the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce and can be reached at 509-662-2116 or firstname.lastname@example.org.