Bel Passi Baseball began in 1953 on the abandoned Bel Passi School site, with hardly enough players to form a single team. It remained there until 1974 when the landowner (Sylvan School District) needed it to build an administration complex.
Rather than give up youth baseball in the district, the Board of the time decided another site should be developed. Because of the land prices at $10,000 per acre and more, the idea was almost abandoned. However, a board member, Dallas Johnston, offered the program eight acres on Roselle Avenue at a substantially lesser amount.
After many hours of ardent labor – and eight board members actually cosigning on the $15,000 loan to complete the park in time for the 1976 season– the big move was made to our current location. The $15,000 loan taken out in 1976 was repaid in three years. The mortgage on the property was paid off in 1986. A “mortgage burning” party was attended by several hundred people to honor Dallas and Annie Johnston who had donated back to the program all interest payments over the years.
Bel Passi’s Roselle Avenue complex has become one of the best known and admired youth ballparks in the Central Valley, providing nearly 1,000 players annual admission to the league. Six age classifications are divided into eleven leagues with three levels of competition: Competitive, Instructional/Participation and Pony Select. Our three levels of play serve kids of all skill level, ages 3-14.
After more than half a century, the basic Bel Passi focus remains intact: The recreation, education, and protection of the players. There have been a few important additions to the founders’ original ideals. In recent years, Bel Passi Baseball has been a leader in the community’s effort to address the important issues that face today’s youth. The Bel Passi ballpark is alcohol, drug and tobacco-free and dedicated to preventing youth violence. Every year the success of the Bel Passi program depends heavily on the volunteer efforts of the parents and family members of the players. Bel Passi’s Executive Board is dedicated to upholding the high standards and keeping the baseball traditions of their predecessors alive.