Historic Sports Rivalry of the Month: Lisa Fernandez’s “Marathon Game”
Lisa Fernandez, the softball G.O.A.T. from Long Beach and three-time Olympic Gold Medalist recounts her most memorable game playing softball in high school for St. Joseph...
908 Magazine is starting a new series about historic school sports rivalries in Long Beach. We are recounting stories from previous years of legendary games, shocking outcomes, heated competitions, and the colorful and passionate personalities that have gone along with the famed school sports rivalries of the city. This month, Lisa Fernandez, the “G.O.A.T.” from Long Beach and three-time Olympic gold medalist, recounts her most memorable game playing softball in high school at St. Joseph...
The year was 1986. It was crowned the marathon game, pitting Fernandez against her friend and travel ball teammate, Dee Dee Weiman, and lasting 29 innings. Fernandez and Weiman took the mound for opposing teams — Fernandez playing for St. Joseph High School and Weiman playing for Gahr High School — in an attempt to advance to the semifinal round of the Southern Section 4-A softball playoffs. Fernandez and Weiman played 21 arduous innings the first day and neither team scored, forcing the competition to continue into the next day. Fernandez remembers calling her friend Weiman after that first night of play.
“What the heck are we doing?” Fernandez said over the phone to Weiman. The two were jovial about the situation. Here were the two top pitchers in the area going head-to-head; neither wanted to give up an inch, and they were careful to not divulge any hidden strategies while talking over the phone that night. Nevertheless, they were friends first.
When Fernandez got to St. Joseph High School, she established herself not only as one of the top softball players in the nation but a top overall athlete as well — she was a “Most Valuable Player” in basketball as well. Her basketball coach, Margaret Bos, says she will never forget Fernandez’s work ethic on the court. Bos attended the marathon softball game and still remembers witnessing the true spectacle of it all.
“When they got to the second day of play, the crowd was huge,” Bos said. “People lined the fences and it was prom day, so some of the softball players had to get picked up in the limo from the softball field,” Bos recalled.
They played eight innings the second day, and after 29 innings in total, St. Joseph High School finally won 1-0. The two pitchers gave up a mere 15 hits and had 101 strikeouts between them.
“It’s a game that will be forever etched in my mind as something that was so significant,” Fernandez said. “I’ll always remember it.” After the victory, Fernandez went straight to Weiman to hug and console her heartbroken friend.
“Above all, Lisa is a great human being,” Bos said. “People were crying on both sides after the game.”