It’s a little league’s big save.
Evicted from their long-standing home at the west end of the Valencia Travel Village RV park, officials with the Santa Clarita Youth Baseball league found themselves high and dry with no place for their 400 little kids to play ball.
Enter Rosalind Wayman, the SCV field deputy for 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s office, who for years has been talking to the league President Jim Nuttall about little kids playing baseball.
So when she received a phone call from Nuttall that the league would close forever with the final game Nov. 10, Wayman had a solution.
After checking with four key county Parks & Recreation officials, a plan was hatched to have the league move to the Castaic Sports Complex where they would modify three existing softball fields into little league baseball fields.
Nuttall was thrilled.
For Wayman, whose last official day with the county before she retires happens on Monday, the sound of happy kids suddenly having a place to play ball is proving to be a nice note on which to end her 12-year post with the county.
“I’m just so happy to figure out a way to make it work,” Wayman said Tuesday.
The four key people, she said, in addition to Supervisor Barger, who made the league’s new digs possible are: John Gargan, deputy director of Los Angeles County Parks And Recreation; Natalie Vartanian, permanent recreation services leader; Al Evans, assistant regional recreation director; and parks official Trevor Zemp.
The Santa Clarita Youth Baseball league, which has two diamonds at the RV park, picks up a third diamond in the move.
The county also benefits with what the league brings to Castaic.
“The league is bringing portable pitching mounds, a refurbished dugout, and is bringing a batting machine and a score board,” Wayman said.
Modifying the softball fields to be baseball fields is not expected to be difficult or costly, Nuttall said.
“I’ve been working with Roz since 2014,” Nuttall said. “We always knew we (league) would outgrow the two-diamond complex.
“We always said, ‘We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.’ Now, we’re about to cross that bridge,” he said Tuesday.
For four seasons, the moms and dads of more than 400 families shared “field of dreams” moments, he said, at the Rick Robb Memorial Baseball Park at the westernmost edge of the Valencia Travel Village,
Owners of the RV community on Highway 126 announced earlier this month that they were evicting the baseball league with plans to bulldoze the field and pave it over so that more RVs can park there.
Ira Robb, whose San Diego-based company Iracini LLC owns the Valencia Travel Village property, was asked on Oct. 12 about his plans.
“I really have no comment,” he said.
The league posted news of the eviction Oct. 9. It read: “It is with heavy hearts that we announce the following news: Upon the conclusion of the Fall 2018 season, Valencia Travel Village will no longer be the home of Santa Clarita Youth Baseball, as VTV ownership has made the decision to end their partnership with us for alternate business ventures.”
Bulldozers are expected to begin plowing the baseball diamonds under as early as January.
For four years, the league has filled a niche enabling young boys and girls to learn baseball before they learn anything at school, serving Valencia, Stevenson Ranch, Saugus, Castaic, Newhall, and Canyon Country.
It began as the Castaic Little League in 1995, was rebranded to become Santa Clarita Little League in 2015 and then evolved into an official part of Cal Ripken Baseball in 2016.
By joining the ranks of the Cal Ripken baseball organization, boundary restrictions imposed by Little League International were suddenly lifted.
The Cal Ripken Baseball is a division of the national Babe Ruth League which boasts online:
“Keeping baseball fun — especially in the early stages of youth baseball.”
Finding a home now has proven to be a “Field of Dreams” moment for Jim Nuttall.
“It could not have happened any better,” he said.