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August 21, 2013

Fantasy Matchups: A few of Fenwick's finest The 1990 and 1996 softball teams bookended a string of seven straight state titles for the Crusaders

Looking back now, it’s almost inconceivable to think about what the Bishop Fenwick softball program was able to accomplish in the 1990s.

Between 1990 and 1996, the Crusaders won an unheard of seven straight Division 1 state titles and 40 consecutive playoff victories (a national record at the time). The program gained national recognition under its legendary head coach, the late Ed ‘Buddy’ Henry, and always seemed to find a way to win when it mattered most.

In the world of fantasy matchups, it would be unfair to pit any of our other local softball teams against the Brown and Gold.

So why not take the dynasty’s two bookend teams — the 1990 club and the 1996 squad — and see who would come out on top?

It would only be fitting that this mythical game would be played at Aprile Memorial Field, where so many of the Crusaders’ tournament games were played during the title years. Fenwick produced 21 straight wins at Aprile between 1990-96.

Lisa McGloin, Lynda Lipson, Gina Marcinkowski, Colleen Parker-Newbury, Mary Wells and Lorin Slade were just a few of the many phenomenal players that wore the Fenwick colors and learned under the tutelage of Henry, without question the state’s most successful softball coach ever. In his 15 years (1983-97) at Fenwick, the beloved coach guided his team to eight state championships (including one in 1985) and 15 straight Catholic Central League crowns.

Fenwick softball became synonymous with Henry’s name and vice versa. He didn’t just teach the girls softball; he taught them about life. It didn’t matter that practices were three hours long, for his players seemingly loved every minute of them. Henry bestowed a winning tradition on the girls and left a lasting impact on them.

Gina (Marcinkowski) Murphy, who was the winning pitcher in the 7-4 state title game against Agawam in 1990, still reflects upon what her late coach taught her over the years.

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