“I draw upon things I’ve learned from Mr. Henry in my work and family life all the time,” said Murphy in an interview before last year’s At Bat for Buddy tournament.
“I know that no matter what situation is thrown at me, I can handle it. It’s such a tribute to Mr. Henry that the championship streak lasted so long and shows that it was him, and his remarkable way of coaching, that was the formula, not one or several players.”
Beginning of the dynasty
Once Henry came aboard in 1983, the Fenwick express took off and won a Division 2 state crown two years later. By 1990, Fenwick wanted to reach the state’s softball pinnacle once again; they had already won seven straight league titles and made it to the North finals six times. The year prior they were abruptly bounced in the playoff quarterfinals by Revere, and Henry wanted to get back to that rarified air of the 1985 squad.
Fenwick graduated five seniors the previous year, including Lipson (“like losing Babe Ruth” Henry said prior to the 1990 season). That left three seniors (Michelle Carter-Donahue, Dawn Kawcynski and Marcinkowski) on the roster, while the were rest freshmen and sophomores.
“We’re young this year but talented,” Henry said in that same interview. “It’s a good blend of youth and experience. We’ll be a power to be reckoned with come tournament time. This team plays for June.”
It’s where Marcinkowski shined through. Voted most athletic in the class superlatives, she was a brilliant athlete who excelled in field hockey and basketball as well as softball and went to Stonehill College on a hoop scholarship. She slid into her role as the top pitcher that season, adding a no-hitter to her resume of accomplishments.
With Kawcynski sidelined with a rotator cuff injury, Carter-Donahue and Marcinkowski led the Crusaders as captains. Henry also started three freshmen: Kerri Lyman (third base), Melissa O’Shea (shortstop) and Kristy Murphy (center field). Lyman was an up-and-coming pitcher at the time and would go on to guide the Crusaders to three straight titles (1991-93), but at the time Marcinkowski Murphy was the main hurler.