When you sit back and think about the impact that the late Bishop Fenwick coach Ed “Buddy” Henry left on the game of softball and all the lives he impacted over the years, you start to realize how great of a man he really was.
Hundreds of spectators came out to Bishop Fenwick over the weekend in support of the “At Bat for Buddy” tournament, which featured Fenwick, St. Mary’s, Danvers, Beverly, Shawsheen, Winthrop, Concord-Carlisle, Billerica and Reading as the participating teams. Each of the clubs wore their respective team colored T-shirts, with Henry’s famous saying “If you don’t believe, you don’t belong,” on the back.
All the proceeds from the tournament are going to the “At Bat for Buddy” foundation, which awards two $1,000 scholarships to softball players who demonstrate their love for the game and serve as examples of good sportsmanship in their communities through athletic commitment and community involvement.
Former players of Henry’s were there to remember their legendary coach and people from all across the North Shore gathered in support of the special event.
“The tournament is emotional,” said St. Mary’s head coach and a former player of Henry, Colleen Newbury. “Being with former players who are around for the weekend as well as actually playing against Fenwick at Fenwick brings back such great memories of what Coach Henry means to me as a former player and now as a head coach. It’s still hard to believe three years have gone by since he passed away. Coach Henry was a great friend and mentor to me and to all the coaches in this weekend’s tournament.”
Henry, who lost his battle with cancer in 2010, coached at Fenwick for 15 years (1983-’97). He led his teams to seven consecutive Division 1 state titles between 1990 and ‘96. With a total of eight state titles, including a Division 2 championship in 1985, Henry’s Crusader squads won 15 consecutive Catholic Central League crowns. Henry left Fenwick with a record of 332-26 and finished his career at Shawsheen, where he got his 400th career win.
Wet weather spoiled the second day of games last year, but this weekend had ideal playing conditions both days. Donations were collected and the foundation raised more money from the concession stands for the scholarships.
“We had great weather, which made for big crowds and more donations,” said Bishop Fenwick head coach Paul Lyman. “The games themselves were fantastic and the teams played outstanding.”
An alumni game was scheduled for Saturday after all of the other games wrapped up, but due to late starts, it was cancelled. Many of the former players, however, made their way down the street to Onion Town, where they caught up with old coaches and friends.
“The function afterwards was great,” added Lyman. “It was nice to see everyone at the event, it was a very successful weekend.”
The Crusaders opened the weekend with an 8-7 loss to Shawsheen. Sophomore Gabby Hart went 3-for-4 with a run scored, while junior Charlotte Powers finished 1-for-4 with two RBI. Junior Bridget Corcoran finished the day with a hit, two runs scored and a RBI.
Fenwick (10-9) battled back in the game, but ultimate fell to Shawsheen in eight innings.
“I thought we played really well against an undefeated Shawsheen team,” said Lyman. “We just couldn’t put it away.
Fenwick lost in another extra inning game to St. Mary’s yesterday, 7-3. Natalie Moore only allowed six hits, six earned runs and walked six. Brianna Hemeon tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth, but the Spartans came back in the ninth to end it.
“It was maybe our best game of the season even though we lost,” added Lyman. “We just couldn’t get the final hit, but I was very happy with the way we played in the tournament.”
Beverly lost to Winthrop on Saturday, 1-0. The contest remained scoreless until the sixth inning. Emily Pitman gave up one hit in the loss, while Taytum Geary went 2-for-3 on the day. Junior left fielder Molly Pitman was named the MVP of the game by Winthrop for her outstanding play defensively.
Yesterday, the Panthers (6-12) had a solid outing against undefeated Concord-Carlilse, before ultimately falling 5-4.
Hannah Silvestri went 2-for-4, while sister Kate, Aimee McKenna, Emily Pitman and Natalie Shea all finished with an RBI. Freshman Kristen Woodworth came in to relieve Emily Pitman and did not let up a run. Woodworth pitched three scoreless innings in her first varsity appearance, while Rachel Kenney was named game MVP.
Gianna Addario is a staff writer at The Salem News. She can be reached by phone at 978-338-2615, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter @GiannaAddarioSN.