With the official dedicating of nearly 17 acres where they’ve played for more than 30 years, runs scored at Hart Baseball & Softball League complex will truly be “home.”
During opening day ceremonies on February 5th at College of the Canyons stadium, Newhall Land, community planners of Valencia, officially transfered ownership of the site to Hart League officials capping off a more than 50 year partnership between the company (who has owned the property since 1883) and the youth sports association that serves nearly 4,000 Santa Clarita Valley youngsters. To commemorate the occasion, Newhall Land president, Greg McWilliams presented a ceremonial Chain of Title, marking the succession of ownership for the property from the 1700’s when the land was claimed by Spanish explorers for the King of Spain to the 2005 transition to the League.
Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth, along with fellow council members, and Bob Haueter, Senior Deputy for Los Angeles Supervisor Michael Antonovich also took part in the opening day activities.
According to League President Dan Schlender, Wm. S. Hart Baseball & Softball League was formed as Boys Baseball, an affiliation with Little League, in 1954. Since that time, long before development of the planned community of Valencia began;
Newhall Land donated land for the League to play on, charging only $1 per year for the land. The first location was on a site along San Fernando Road, across from the Saugus Café; it was large enough for just one field. Shortly thereafter, the growing league was moved to an area where Kmart and the Do-It Center now stand. By the early 1960s, the final move was made to the League’s current location, a large parcel adjacent to the Santa Clara River, located at the intersection of Valencia Boulevard and Cinema Drive.
In 1968, the League changed their affiliation to PONY Baseball, adding girls’ softball in 1984. Over the years several fields, bleachers, picnic tables and lights were added and the ranks of the league’s spring and summer seasons blossomed. Currently the league has ten playing fields and serves nearly 4,000 boys and girls aged five to 18.
Newhall Land recently completed several million dollars in infrastructure improvements to areas immediately surrounding the complex including extensive river bank stabilization, installation of new bike trails, and construction of Auto Center Court, a new signalized, multi-lane access road leading into the complex. Over the years, the League has weathered damage to their fields during periods of rain; they sustained some of their most significant damage from flooding in 1998 when several fields were washed away. Flood control operations next to the complex completed by Newhall Land in cooperation with the City of Santa Clarita in the fall of 2003l successfully protected the complex from flooding during January’s storms.