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Throwback Thursday: Arizona Softball All-Decade Teams (1980s)

Oct 22, 2020

TUCSON, Ariz. -- From team success – eight national championships, 23 trips to the Women's College World Series, 18 50-plus win seasons – to individual accomplishments – five national players of the year, 105 All-Americans, 10 Olympians – Arizona softball's tradition and history can stack up with just about any program in any sport at any level.
 
Softball royalty has walked in and out of Hillenbrand Stadium for decades, with some of the sport's best players composing some of the sport's best teams over the last four decades.

Over the next four Throwback Thursdays, ArizonaWildcats.com will reveal All-Decade Teams from the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. The teams were selected based on honors, prioritizing All-Americans, while taking into account all-conference and all-region recognitions. Some positional flexibility was used where needed and careers that spanned multiple decades were placed based on fit.

Oct. 22 » 1980s
Oct. 29 » 1990s
Nov. 5 » 2000s
Nov. 12 » 2010s
 

Up first, the All-1980s Arizona Wildcats.

Although Arizona's first national championships was not won until 1991, Arizona softball's rich and storied tradition extends into 1980s and before. Softball became an NCAA sport in 1982, but the Wildcats' success began in the 1970s, when they appeared in four AIAW College World Series and won the 1979 Intermountain Conference Championship. Arizona did not record a losing season in the 70s, under coaches Judy Spray (74-76), Ginny Parrish (77-79) and Rocky LaRose (80).

When the calendar turned to 1980, the Wildcats moved to the Western Collegiate Athletic Association uner head coach Paula Noel (1981-85), who continued the Wildcats' success with three winning seasons during her five-year run atop the program.

Prior to the 1986 season, Arizona hired the head coach from Central Arizona, Mike Candrea, who had won back-to-back NJCAA National Championships. In year 1, Arizona went 27-13-1, a 10-win and three-loss improvement. In year 2, The Wildcats went 42-18 and qualified for the program's first ever NCAA Regional, the first of what is now an NCAA-record 33 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. Arizona closed the decade with WCWS appearances in 1987, 1988 and 1989. 

Arizona's first ever All-Americans came in the 1980s, with Karen Fellenz, a first-team All-American second baseman in 1984 taking home Arizona's first ever honor. In 1988, Teresa Cherry became Candrea's first-ever All-American when she was a second-team selection.

THE PLAYERS

P Julie Jones (1989-91)

  • Two-time second-team All-American (1990, 1991)
  • Fifth lowest career ERA in Arizona history (0.85)
  • Posted a 0.61 ERA in 1990, the eighth lowest single-season mark in Arizona history
  • Threw two no-hitters in her career
  • Two-time first-team all-conference performer
  • All-WCWS performer in 1991, helping lead UA to its first ever national title

 
P Teresa Cherry (1985-88)

  • Second-team All-American in 1988
  • Eighth lowest career ERA in Arizona history (0.91)
  • Posted a 0.51 ERA in 1988, sixth lowest in Arizona history
  • Went 71-33 over four seasons, the 10th most wins in Arizona history
  • Threw a pair of no-hitters in her career
  • Named first-team all-Pac-10 in 1988
  • Inducted into the Arizona Athletics Hall of Fame in 1993

 
P Pam Stone (1982-84)

  • Had a career 0.73 ERA, third lowest ERA in Arizona history
  • Her 0.45 ERA in 1982 is the fourth lowest single season in school history

 
C Stacy Engel (1986-89)

  • First-team all-Pac-10 in 1987
  • An all-northwest region performer in 1987
  • Recipient of the 1989 Pac-10 Conference Medal

 
1B Vivian Holm (1987-90)

  • First-team All-American in 1990, head coach Mike Candrea's first ever first-team All-American
  • Was Arizona's first ever four-time all-region performer
  • First-team all-league selection three times
  • Fourth all-time in career stolen bases (129), including a 49-steal campaign as a freshman in 1987, which stood as the Arizona record for over a decade (now tied for second in UA history)

 
2B Karen Fellenz (1983-85)

  • Arizona's first-ever All-American, a first-team selection in 1984
  • Two-time all-Pac-10 selection
  • An all-WCAA performer in 1984

 
3B Nicki Dennis (1989-90)

  • A second-team All-American in 1990
  • Two-time all-Northwest Region performer
  • Named all-WCWS in 1989

 
SS Julie Standering (1988-91)

  • A first-time All-American in 1991, UA's lone first-team selection on its first national championship team
  • Arizona's all-time leader in career games played with 277
  • Had 767 defensive assists in her career, Arizona's career record by over 200
  • Eighth in school history with 57 steals
  • Two-time all-region and three-time all-conference performer
  • A two-time all-WCWS performer
  • Inducted into the Arizona Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996

 
OF Kristin Gauthier (1988-91)

  • Three-time all-Pac-10 selection
  • An all-region performer in 1988
  • Named all-WCWS twice, including during Arizona's first national championship run in 1991

 
OF Jamie Wheat (1984, 86-88)

  • All-Northwest Region and first-team all-Pac-10 honoree in 1988

 
OF Barb Garcia (1978-81)

  • Named all-West Coast Athletic Association twice in her career
  • Hit nine career triples, eighth most in school history

 
DP Lisa Bernstein (1983-86)

  • A two-time all-conference performer

 
UTL Heidi Lievens (1985-88)

  • Third in Arizona history in career assists (506)
  • Two-time all-conference shortstop in 1985 and 1986
  • Named all-WCWS in 1988

 
AT-LARGE (P) Lisa Bautista (1986-89)

  • Ninth in Arizona history in career ERA (1.02)

 
AT-LARGE (C) Mary Cassidy (1979-82)

  • An all-WCAA performer in 1980

 
AT-LARGE (SS) Dee Dinota (1981-84)

  • Fifth in Arizona history with 10 career triples
  • Two-time All-WCAA performer

 
AT-LARGE (P) Ginnie Scheller (1987-90)

  • Has the fourth lowest career ERA in school history (0.81)
  • An all-Pac-10 second-team selection in 1990
  • Posted a 0.66 ERA in 1989, 10th lowest in UA history

 
AT-LARGE (DP) Regina Rawson (1979-82)

  • Named all-WCAA in 1981
  • Hit 10 career triples, fifth most in school history