"If you don't believe, you don't belong."
Ed "Buddy" Henry, the late Bishop Fenwick softball coach, coined the phrase back in the 1990s amid his run to seven consecutive state championships.
That famous line that Henry would preach to all of his players was printed on the back of all the teams' shirts that participated in this weekend's "At Bat for Buddy" tournament, which took place at Fenwick.
The participating teams — Fenwick, St. Mary's, Danvers, Beverly, Shawsheen, Georgetown, Concord-Carlisle, North Andover, Billerica and Reading — each wore those words proudly with their individual school colors.
"I think he started saying that in 1994," said St. Mary's head coach Colleen Parker, who played for Henry in the mid-90s. "I was on the team at the time, and basically he wanted everyone to believe in what we were doing at Fenwick. He wanted the team to be a part of the tradition and ultimately win another state title.
"Which when you think about seven straight titles — it's astronomical."
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.
Hundreds of spectators came out for the event, including former players, friends and parents, and all lined the Fenwick field in celebration of the legendary coach and the impact he had on the game.
Saturday drew the biggest crowd of the two-day event. As the opening ceremony got under way, Henry's wife, Terry, former Bishop Fenwick athletic director Bo Tierney and former players unveiled a banner in center field that will hang in memory of Henry.
"The whole day went great," Fenwick coach Paul Lyman said. "We had representatives from all the state title teams, and there was easily between 500 and 1,000 people coming and going throughout the day on Saturday."
With perfect weather on Saturday, the round-robin-type tournament went off without a hitch and all four games were played as scheduled. Yesterday's rain prevented the final two games from being played, but Danvers/Georgetown and Beverly/Concord-Carlisle got their games in prior to the wet weather.
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Fenwick took on Shawsheen on Saturday afternoon. Henry left Fenwick in 1997 and began coaching at Shawsheen shortly after, where he earned his 400th career win.
The Rams prevailed, handing Fenwick a 3-2 loss. The Crusaders (1-4) out-hit Shawsheen 9-5, but left a lot of runners stranded.
Christine Smaltz pitched a complete game for Fenwick and was named game MVP by Shawsheen head coach Maureen Buckley. Smaltz gave up one earned run, struck out four and walked one.
Offensively, sophomore catcher Jen Crovo and third baseman Gianna Pizzano each had two hits and Tori Costa went 3-for-3 for the Crusaders.
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Beverly got in both of its games, defeating Georgetown, 9-4, on Saturday, but losing to Concord-Carlisle, 15-3, yesterday.
Sophomore Kate Silvestri got the win for Beverly over Georgetown, striking out nine with four scattered hits.
Senior catcher Jenna LoVasco went 3-for-4 with four RBI and second baseman Natalie Shea went 1-for-3 with two RBI on a triple. Aimee McKenna rounded out the hitting for the Panthers (2-4) with a double and one RBI.
"The bats were quiet at first, we were down 1-0, and then in the fourth we got seven runs on five hits," said Beverly coach Megan Sudak. "It was great to get the second win, now we just have to get back in the win column."
The Panthers dropped a tough one to a very strong Concord-Carlisle team. Despite the weather conditions, freshman Hannah Silvestri went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI, and the Panthers scored all three of their runs in the third inning.
"It was an honor to play in this tournament," Sudak said. "I graduated from Beverly the same year as Colleen Parker graduated from Fenwick, and for all four years of high school, we had a great relationship with the Crusaders. My coach at the time, Deb Kline, was good friends with Coach Henry, and she would send me to every and any camp he held."
Lisa McGloin, head coach of Concord-Carlise, played for Henry and even coached under him at Fenwick for a number of years. McGloin, who's in her 13th season with the Patriots, got her 250th career win in the victory of Beverly.
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Danvers had a solid weekend, moving to 4-2 on the season with wins over St. Mary's and Georgetown.
The Falcons shut out St. Mary's, 5-0, on Saturday with help from Kendall Meehan. The sophomore pitcher gave up six hits, no walks, no runs and struck out three batters. At the plate, Meehan went 2-for-4 with a run scored and Caitlin McBride was 1-for-3 with an RBI single. Devyn Downs and Devin Johnson combined to go 4-for-6 with two RBI.
"It was a great team win and the team defense helped," coach Tara Pertocelli said. "It was kind of an emotional weekend, but it was a great day to play in a tournament for such an extraordinary man. It was awesome, because you could see how much he impacted people's lives and knowing the game (of softball) meant so much to him. It was special."
The bats were swinging in favor of the Falcons in yesterday's game against Georgetown. Senior catcher Sam DiBella hit a two-run homer in the third and finished the day with three RBI. Johnson followed that with a two-run home run of her own in the sixth.
Freshman shortstop Brittany Dougal went 1-for-3 with a three-run double in the third, and Meehan went 2-for-3 with one RBI.
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Gianna Addario is a staff writer at The Salem News. You can contact her at GAddario@salemnews.com, 978-338-2615 and follow her on Twitter @GiannaAddarioSN.