Derby History Quiz
Derby High's Only Girls State Championship
Derby High's 1985 State Class "S" State Softball Champions
We've had several quizzes about state championships in football and basketball, but this was the first - and only one possible to this point - that features a state championship for a girls team at Derby High. In 1985 the Derby Red Raiderettes won the first and only team state championship when they defeated Coventy by a score of 4-2 to capture the State Class "S" championship in softball.
The Raiderettes under the coaching of Joe Borzelli had entered the tournament as the seventh ranked team in the tournament while Coventry was ranked #1. Derby had the benefit of playing against strong competition in the Housatonic League all year, and they posted wins over Central Catholic, Haddam Killingwoth and Wheeler of North Stonigton on their way to the title game with Coventry.
Things did not start out well for Derby in the title game as Coventy scored twice and carried the 2-0 lead into the fourth when Eileen Duggan's triple and Dawn Sengstecken ground out to second cut the lead in half. An inning later, Derby tied the game on a triple by Doreen Germond and an ground out by Donna Estwan.
In the sixth, Mary Lynn Sheehy, Derby's starting pitcher, started a rally with a double, but was caught at the plate shortly after on a Duggan grounder to second. Sheehy was injured on the play and needed medical attention. While she was getting that attention, Sengstacken singled up the middle, and after Coventry bobbled the ball, Duggan dashed for home. There was another collision at the plate, but this time the Coventry catcher couldn't hold onto the ball, adn Duggan had given Derby a 3-2 lead and Sengsacken raced to third. She scored on a ground out to short by Linda Rodriguez.
With Sheehy still receiving attention in the bottom of the sixth, junior varsity pitcher, Debbie Holzer took to the mound. Holzer gave up a hit, got a force out at second, and then a derby error put the tying runners on base. At that point, Sheehy with a heavily re-taped ankle re-entered the game. The first batter she faced bounced back to her, but then she hit the next batter to load the bases, but she got the third out without any damage. The seventh went a lot smoother after she hit the first Coventry batter, but then retire three straight batters to earn Derby it's first - and only - girls state championship.
A little bit of trivia attached to the game is that Eileen Duggan's father Bill also won a state championship at Derby. Bill was the MVP of the 1951 Class "B" Boys Basketball team - the only Derby basketball team to win a state title.
Correct answers were received from: Durch Pereiras, Kathy Moran Brandi (Her sister was on the team!), Nick from Terryville, Jack Moran, Pattie Degnan Pandolfi, Barbara DeGennaro, Marc J. Garofalo, Joseph DiRienzo, Jim Norris, Kathleen Deptula, Michael J. Regan, Kathleen Deptula, Meghan Condon Jackson, Carol Della Rocco, Dan Shea, Ann Searles, shaun monahan, Rose Marie Sheehy (Yes, that's her daughter!), and Karen Gabianelli (top right in picture), Leo Mosacato, Damian Carloni, and Mary Costigan Wrenn .
To see our earlier quizzes and learn more about Derby's unique history, click here.