Front Row: Coach Jim McKenna, Claudia Rachele, Eileen Ferrari, Holly Storms, Lori Mathvink, Helen McGee, Carol Preli, Ann Malone, Manager.
Second Row: Donna Marinone, Manager, Sue Gragnolati, Manager,Betty Connors, Sue Tresher, Gigi Massi, Tricia Carter, Judy Van Schelt, Jane Fitzgerald, Vicky Nelson, Debbie Gifford, manager.
The 1978 Class “M” softball tournament started out as an opportunity for the WLHS team to compete against the best teams from around the state. Winning the tournament forged a sense of accomplishment and a common bond that they still enjoy today.
The 1978 squad featured two future WLAHOF inductees:
In the process the team became a trailblazer, becoming the first CIAC tournament team to win 5 consecutive tournament games. 1978 also marked the first time two teams from the same league, Windsor Locks and South Windsor, won the state tournament in different classes.
In addition to their physical skills, the team showed other attributes that led to their success; they played hard, gave the maximum effort, accepted the bad calls and celebrated the success of their teammates.
Throughout the season they showed great sportsmanship to all coaches, opponents, game officials and spectators. These qualities were on display in every practice and in every game.
The 1978 tournament was won with a very strong defense, great pitching, aggressive base running, improved batting success, and great teamwork. The team was ranked #17 going in to the tournament with an 11-7 record. Their regular season opponents were among the best in the area and a couple of timely hits could have easily changed that record.
That strong regular season competition prepared the team to take on higher ranked opponents in the state tournament.
First in the qualifying round, Locks beat Northwest Catholic, 10-5 to set up a first round battle against top ranked and undefeated Farmington. Locks pulled off the upset 3 – 0.
From there your Raiders defeated 8th ranked Notre Dame 9-1 in the quarterfinals and beat 20th ranked Montville, 8-5 in the semifinals a game featuring only 2 hits by Locks yet 16 walks by Montville pitchers!
In the finals, Locks toppled second ranked Hand, 11-8, to win the Class M State Title!!!
Through their magical run the team took advantage of its scoring opportunities with some of the best hitting of the season and made many remarkable defensive plays. As a result, the team won the first (so far) state softball tournament in school history. Their attitude and sportsmanship became a model for the teams that followed them at WLHS.