NEWBURYPORT — Newburyport High School baseball alumni both young and old assembled for their annual Alumni Game at Pettingell Park Saturday to renew a decades-old rivalry between graduates of the even-numbered years (the Even team) and the odd ones (the Odds).
Amid some controversy, the Odds were victorious, 14-13, behind two three-run homers from Ryan O’Connor (’11).
“Don’t let this game get away,” said former Clippers’ varsity coach Bill Pettingell. “There will be some down years I’m sure, but if you end up playing with nine guys, you play strong and keep the game alive.”
Current Clippers’ varsity coach and Pettingell’s successor, Steve Malenfant (’72) was the source of much of the day’s controversy as he brazenly switched sides from the Evens to Odds on game day, a move that left many in attendance in a state of shock.
“I just wanted to give them somebody that knew how to win,” Malenfant boasted during the game. “I’m on the Odds now and we’re going to win and when I’m with the Evens, we win. It’s just something that happens.”
Malenfant then looked around and made a startling claim about the Odds.
“They cheat,” Malenfant said. “They’ll do anything to win, even when they don’t.”
Malenfant’s former Evens teammate Rob Daigle (’82) was not happy with his friend’s flip-flop.
“We’ve got to figure out who the commissioner is to complain too,” said Daigle, tongue in cheek. “But once we figure that out, we will totally make a complaint. That just wasn’t fair. Had we held onto him, we would’ve totally walked away with the championship, like we always do.”
The Evens broke out for a four-run 7-3 lead by the bottom of the third inning, but O’Connor’s first three-run bomb shaved that lead to only one.