At 51, a winning arm for Park League again
The sound of Advil rattling in a plastic bottle gives Kevin MacIntyre away.
“I grab the container to get a couple and when my assistant hears them rattling around he says, ‘Oh, you pitched last night?’ ” said MacIntyre.
“It’s either last night or a couple of nights before. Sometimes it’s more sore two days later.”
Cut the 51-year-old North Reading resident and his right arm a little slack here. He’s a financial adviser with J.P. Morgan Securities in Boston by day and a Boston Park League pitcher by night.
His has been quite a comeback in the Park League, which features mostly college players and guys a few years out of school.
On Aug. 5, he gutted out a complete game win over Towne Club, 8-5, to help his TJO Sports team close out its best-of-five series and clinch a spot in the championship round against Palmer. That series was forced to a deciding Game 7 on Friday night after Palmer blanked TJO, 6-0, Thursday night.
It was MacIntyre’s first playoff win on the mound in the Park League in 26 years. Yes, 26 years.
None of his TJO Sport teammates had been born when MacIntyre held off Hyde Park Sports for a 3-0 triumph back in 1988.
MacIntyre brought the yellowed clipping from The Boston Globe chronicling that long-ago game at Kelley Field in Hyde Park for the matchup against Towne Club. He showed the memento to Bob Johnson , the TJO Sports manager and his baseball teammate back in the early 1980s at Bentley University.
“That was pretty amazing,” Johnson said.
In that 1988 performance, MacInyre allowed just four hits. He felt a little off in his most recent win, when he scattered eight hits, struck out one, and walked three.
“Not my best,” he said.
But good enough. He was especially proud of throwing 115 pitches and going the distance. And he was excited about the end result.
“Oh my God,” MacIntyre said.
“I picked my catcher [John Sweeney] up off the ground and gave him a bear hug and almost broke his ribs. We were a team that was 6-9 at one point and reeled off a stretch of 16-2 to get to the playoffs. It was kind of surreal that night. I had given up the lead and the guys came right back and put up three runs, and now I have to close it out. At 51 years old, there was a little doubt in the back of my head.”
He closed out that first playoff win in more than a quarter-century with a 1-2-3 seventh inning.
It was one of many highlights of McIntyre’s comeback year that started in, of all places, Fenway Park.
That it was Fenway Park a few days before New Year’s, when the place was dressed up for ice hockey and not baseball, is a minor detail.
Johnson and his sons, Chris and Rob (who also play for TJO Sports), and MacIntyre were there for Bentley’s Frozen Fenway game against Holy Cross. They got to talking baseball.
MacIntyre pointed out that he had been throwing batting practice for his Little League-playing son and daughter and in a Bentley alumni game here and there. His arm felt good.
Bob Johnson suggested MacIntyre come to TJO Sports in Canton for the Tuesday night workouts that started in February. MacIntyre, who pitched in the Park League in the 1980s and the Cranberry League most of the ’90s, took him up on it.
“I was a little skeptical, given how old he was and the last time he had pitched in a competitive game,” Johnson said.
MacIntyre was worried about his back and hips and making sure he didn’t get hurt. “My wife [Julie ] and some friends I played with back in the day said I was crazy and was going to hurt myself.”
He finished the regular season with a 4-2 record and a 3.21 earned run average. His 48 innings pitched were most on the team and sixth-best in the league.
He was not throwing in the mid-to-high 80s as he did in college, but was probably around 80, he said.
He throws a fastball, curve, slider, and changeup, and throws them all from different arm angles.
“Just trying to keep the batters uncomfortable and off balance,” MacIntyre said. “I wish I knew then what I know now about pitching. You find out the detrimental value of a walk much more as you get older.”
He’s worked well with his teammates, especially Sweeney, and has helped the young pitchers, Johnson said.
MacIntyre plans to get in a little better shape for next season, he said, and give it one more shot. At least.
“If he delivers next year what he did this year, I’ll take him,” Johnson said. “Oh my gosh. In a heartbeat.”
Here and there
Peabody native Kevin Bettencourt is the new men’s basketball coach at Endicott College. The lead assistant at Bentley the past six seasons for Jay Lawson , Bettencourt starred at Peabody Veterans Memorial High and went on to a standout career at Bucknell University, where he was a two-year captain. He scored 1,810 points at Peabody and 1,577 at Bucknell. He replaces five-year coach Phil Rowe on the bench. “Thanks to coach Rowe and his staff, I’m taking over a roster that is ready to compete right away with talent in place and the excitement towards what lies ahead,” he said. . .
Endicott College has been picked to repeat as New England Football Conference champion by the league’s coaches. The Gulls received four of the eight first-place votes. Salve Regina picked up two first-place votes and was second in the balloting. No. 3 Western New England and No. 4 MIT each got one first-place nod. Endicott, which also won the title in 2010, was 8-3 overall and 7-3 in the league last season. Senior quarterback Drew Frenette of New Bedford, last year’s NEFC Offensive Player of the Year, and senior receiver Alec Matys of Woburn are back to lead the offense. Matys had 56 catches for 793 yards and 12 touchdowns to earn first team all-conference honors last year. The Gulls will kick off their season Sept. 6 at the defending MASCAC champion, Framingham State University. . .
Katie Woolf has been named the first full-time softball coach at Gordon College. She spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach at Walsh University, a Division 2 school in Ohio.