‘A true diamond’: Hart softball debuts new field 

Hart High School softball teammates Francesca Vega, center, and Kaylee Rodriguez cut the ribbon during the Hart softball field ribbon cutting ceremony at Hart High School on Tuesday, 031224. Dan Watson/The Signal
Hart High School softball teammates Francesca Vega, center, and Kaylee Rodriguez cut the ribbon during the Hart softball field ribbon cutting ceremony at Hart High School on Tuesday, 031224. Dan Watson/The Signal
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With a smooth overhand motion, William S. Hart Union High School District governing board member Bob Jensen officially tossed the first pitch thrown at the new Hart High School softball field on Tuesday. 

Well, a ceremonial first pitch. 

District officials, school officials and parents and fans of the Hart softball program joined together on Tuesday afternoon to see the debut of the new field, located on campus after the program called Newhall Park its home for years. Hart district governing board President Linda Storli called it “a true diamond for our talented athletes.”

“This beautiful facility represents a significant investment for the future of Hart softball,” Storli said. “It is a testament to the dedication of our school board, the hard work of our design and construction team and the unwavering spirit of the Hart community. I can’t wait to witness the amazing plays and thrilling victories and the lifelong memories that will be made here on this very field.” 

Hart High softball head coach Steve Calendo, flanked by his team, thanks all who were involved in completing the Hart High softball field during the ribbon cutting ceremony at Hart High School on Tuesday, 031224.  Dan Watson/The Signal
Hart High softball head coach Steve Calendo, flanked by his team, thanks all who were involved in completing the Hart High softball field during the ribbon cutting ceremony at Hart High School on Tuesday, 031224. Dan Watson/The Signal

Also in attendance for the ribbon-cutting ceremony were Hart district Superintendent Mike Kuhlman, Hart Athletic Director Craig Williams and the architects and contractors of the project. Signed softballs were gifted to Hart Principal Jason d’Autremont, Assistant Principal Liz Wilson and James Albin, construction manager for Fonder-Solari Inc. “The Star-Spangled Banner” was performed by Brooklyn Ewing.

Hart softball head coach Steve Calendo, in his 18th season at the helm, thanked the district for ensuring that his players would no longer have to put up and take down a breakaway fence for each game. 

“It’s a great accomplishment by all of those that have been involved to put this together. I look around right now and I see people from 2003 (who were) involved with Hart, and it really gets you here because these people all cared about the facility,” Calendo said, beating his chest to show appreciation from his heart. “They cared about the kids and they kept going, kept going, kept going, no matter what.” 

William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board member Bob Jensen throws out the first pitch during the Hart softball field ribbon cutting ceremony at Hart High School on Tuesday, 031224. Dan Watson/The Signal
William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board member Bob Jensen throws out the first pitch during the Hart softball field ribbon cutting ceremony at Hart High School on Tuesday, 031224. Dan Watson/The Signal
The Hart High School softball team presented team-autographed softballs to the Hart High School principal and assistant principal during the Hart High softball field ribbon cutting ceremony at Hart High School on Tuesday, 031224.  Dan Watson/The Signal
The Hart High School softball team presented team-autographed softballs to the Hart High School principal and assistant principal during the Hart High softball field ribbon cutting ceremony at Hart High School on Tuesday, 031224. Dan Watson/The Signal

The project cost more than $3 million and was approved by the governing board in 2023. D’Autremont thanked the softball coaches and players for being patient while the process played out to get the facility built. 

“Thank you for your patience, enduring countless hours of practice and games down at Newhall Park,” d’Autremont said. “While a good facility in its own right, it’s nothing compared to our brand-new softball field here called Hart Park. I can’t wait to watch our girls compete here at home.” 

He didn’t have to wait long as Hart hosted the Golden Valley Grizzlies after the ceremony. However, the good vibes went the way of the Grizzlies, who spoiled the debut of the Hart softball field with a 3-2 victory. 

Hart High School student Brooklyn Ewing, right, leads the attendees in the National Anthem during the Hart High School softball field ribbon cutting ceremony at Hart High School on Tuesday, 031224.  Dan Watson/The Signal
Hart High School student Brooklyn Ewing, right, leads the attendees in the National Anthem during the Hart High School softball field ribbon cutting ceremony at Hart High School on Tuesday, 031224. Dan Watson/The Signal

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