Little league lives on

Los Angeles County Supervisor, 5th District, Kathryn Barger throws out the first pitch of the season during the opening ceremony of the Santa Clarita Youth Baseball League held at the Castaic Sports Complex on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

The Santa Clarita Youth Baseball league is back as they celebrated their 2019 opening ceremony at their new home, the Castaic Sports Complex, on Saturday.

After leaving the fields at the Rick Robb Memorial Baseball Park on the west end of the Valencia Travel Village RV park last year, Santa Clarita Youth Baseball officials worried they wouldn’t find a way for the nearly 400 kids in the league to continue playing baseball.

But with the help of 5th District County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who threw the ceremonial first pitch at Saturday’s opening ceremony, the league found a new place to play.

Los Angeles County Supervisor, 5th District, Kathryn Barger, left, takes the ball from Jake Nuttall, 10, who served as her catcher while throwing out the first pitch of the season during the opening ceremony of the Santa Clarita Youth Baseball League held at the Castaic Sports Complex in Castaic on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

“This is what public service is all about,” Barger said. “I’m glad to make this their permanent home. This is a great sports complex and it gives them potential to grow.”

The Castaic Sports Complex underwent a renovation and three existing softball fields became youth baseball fields.

With the installation of artificial turf mounds, all-clay infields and modified scoreboards as well as an expansion of the dugouts, the fields are ready for the season, according to league President Jim Nuttall.

Barger received a chorus of “thank you’s” from the coaches and players as the ceremony came to an end.

Los Angeles County Supervisor, 5th District, Kathryn Barger, left, talks to players on the Angels, Rookie League team during the opening ceremony of the Santa Clarita Youth Baseball League held at the Castaic Sports Complex in Castaic on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

“When you come out here and you see the boys and girls, it gets you excited,” Barger said. “It teaches the kids sportsmanship and teamwork, but it’s really about community and that’s what this is all about.”

Coaches of the 13U Black Sox team, Danny Berru and Jason Knybel, said they are excited to start the season at the new fields.

“Having been here since this league started, I think it’s great that they were able to keep it going and keep this positive environment going for the kids,” Knybel said. “There’s something special about teaching the game to kids and seeing them grow.”

Nuttall thanked Natalie Vartanian, permanent recreation services leader, and John Gargan, deputy director of Los Angeles County Parks And Recreation, for their help making the move possible.

“I don’t think any of us thought we were going to play baseball in 2019, so this is pretty special,” Nuttall said. “And hopefully we will be here for years to come.”

Advertisement

About the author

Emily Alvarenga

Emily Alvarenga

Emily Alvarenga covers features and community for The Signal. She's new to the paper and Santa Clarita, but hasn't moved far from her hometown of Temecula, California. Emily graduated from San Diego State University in 2017 and has been writing and reporting since high school.