Excited children of all ages wore jerseys to represent their teams during the William S. Hart Baseball and Softball 70th Anniversary Opening Ceremonies on Saturday afternoon.
With a variety of food trucks, attendees in the stands singing along to a “Sweet Caroline” and an overall upbeat atmosphere at Valencia High School, families watched every team of the season walk out onto the field.
Roughly 160 teams comprised of 1,900 players this season came out to wave to the audience and celebrate the league, which was established in 1954.
Ryan Gagnon, coach of the Texas Longhorns, a softball team of girls ages 5, 6 and 7 years old, including his daughter, Taylor, 5-and-a-half years old, discussed the event and the fun spirit of the kickoff.
“It’s fun being here at the 70th anniversary. Fun to see all of the teams and spirits. Texas Longhorns rule, softball girls rule,” Gagnon said.
Kelley Barnes is hopeful that her son Easton, 4, will enjoy baseball since he’ll be on a team for the first time ever this season.
“It’s our first time, my son’s 4. He’s very excited, he’s already made a lot of friends. I’m excited for him to start and hopefully fall in love with the game,” Barnes said.
Coaches, as well as children between the ages of 6 and 18, walked out for nearly an hour to not only be celebrated by parents, but also to commemorate 70 years of community baseball.
Tim Ott, president of the executive board for the William S. Hart Baseball and Softball, thanked the crowd for their attendance of Saturday’s event, before being recognized by Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita.
In addition, Ott empathized with the crowd, having joined the organization around seven years ago with his kids who are now 12 and 11, one of whom is on a team coached by Ott.
“This is completely volunteer run. Every single one of us is a volunteer, and it takes a lot to get this done— we can’t do it without you guys. We do appreciate everything you bring, just getting your kids to practice and games, sometimes it’s all you can manage. Trust me, I know, I’ve got two kids of my own,” Ott said.
Ott expressed the biggest element he found impressive for the large crowd: finding parking.
“I’m very impressed with how many people were here. The parking was a mess and you still showed up. This is amazing, thank you very much for coming out.”