The Newburyport baseball community is staring a crisis in the face, and no answer seems to be on the horizon.
In a letter sent to Mayor Donna Holaday, the City Council, the School Committee and Superintendent Marc Kerble among others, the Newburport High School Baseball Alumni Association President Rob Daigle warns of a looming disaster for the program beginning next season when construction of the new Bresnahan School takes one of only two 90-foot baseball diamonds in the city offline, leaving only Pettingell Park at the high school to accommodate at least five programs over the spring and summer.
“This is a city nightmare,” said retired Newburyport baseball coach Bill Pettingell, for whom the high school field is named. “It’s devastating to the baseball program overall. Taking away our second field and trying to do everything on one field is just impossible. It’s going to be a nightmare for everybody.”
Daigle’s letter applauds the decision to build the new Bresnahan School, but reminds the recipients that there will now only be one regulation field to accommodate the Senior League, Babe Ruth, American Legion, freshman, junior varsity and varsity baseball programs. There are safety concerns related to having 50 to 60 players on the same field concurrently in a city with 10 soccer fields, five softball fields and two football fields.
“I play in three different adult baseball leagues right now,” Daigle said yesterday. “I play in all these different towns in Massachusetts, and I walk in and they’ve got two, three, four baseball fields that are easily taken care of. How is it possible that these little podunk towns that don’t have any success, they don’t have any state championships, they don’t have a lot of following to them, but they have a lot of fields, and we have nothing — one year out from a state championship?”