It wouldn’t be Yankee Homecoming without the annual Newburyport High Alumni Baseball Game. And although this year’s game will be the second played at Pettingell Park, it will be the first to be done in the shadow of a permanent sign dedicated to the former coach, Bill Pettingell.
“When the dedication of the field took place last (year) in front of so many great people that I really care about, I was emotional and speechless,” said Pettingell. “Last Tuesday, when I actually saw my name on the field after Rick Salmonson and Coach (Steve) Malenfant actually finished putting it up, I received goose bumps and then became extremely proud of my Pettingell name and what it represented presently as well as in the future. What is more important to anyone than their last name? It is clearly the greatest gift my parents gave to me.”
With their numbers growing with the addition of the Class of 2013, the Odds team will once again face the Evens, followed by the annual awards ceremony that will see recent graduate Ryan Short receiving this year’s alumni scholarship. The 2013 Person of the Year Award will go to the current freshman coach, Rob Daigle, of the Class of 1982.
“I was shocked and excited at the same time,” Daigle said. “I told coach (Pettingell) when he told me that I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It’s an emotional time to get something like that. You don’t expect or try to get it. But when it happens, it’s pretty cool.”
Daigle was a one-year varsity starter at third base for the Clippers and went on to play for the U.S. Army for nine years. He also pitched and played shortstop for the All U.S. ARMY Europe Baseball team, playing in 15 different countries against both military and civilian opponents. Daigle also started a German national baseball team, where he played and coached 13- to 18-year-olds, even though they had never played baseball before.