It appeared as though Alex Vaccaro's high school athletics career was over when he suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during the Watterson football team's opener last season against Willoughby South on Aug. 24.

It appeared as though Alex Vaccaro's high school athletics career was over when he suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during the Watterson football team's opener last season against Willoughby South on Aug. 24.

Vaccaro, a senior, had torn the same ligament two years earlier, and after he had surgery Sept. 11 his doctor told him it would take 15 months before the knee would be fully healed.

But rather than miss out on his final baseball season, Vaccaro underwent rehabilitation with the hope that he could play left field this season. He rejoined the team just two weeks before the opener, and coach Tony Cleveland said his leadership and dedication have been an inspiration.

"Alex has really had a remarkable comeback and recovery," Cleveland said.

"When his teammates see his work ethic, heart and desire to be able to make it back and play after having such a bad injury, it lets them know that they can overcome whatever obstacles come their way. Alex is a great leader and a true team player."

"Sometimes the pain was so unbearable, I didn't want to do my homework -- all I wanted to do was sleep," Vaccaro said. "After every practice, I'm sore and I have to go home and ice my knee, so it has taken a lot of strength and determination to get through this. Luckily, I've had great support from my family and friends. I wouldn't have made it without them."

Vaccaro didn't touch a bat for six months before he was cleared to begin hitting again in March, but he has shaken off the rust. Through 17 games, Vaccaro was batting .289 with a team-high two home runs, six doubles, 13 RBI and two stolen bases. He had a .418 on-base percentage.

"It was frustrating not being able to swing a bat for so long, but my hitting is coming back to me fairly quickly," Vaccaro said. "Sometimes I catch myself not finishing swings because I'm afraid to pivot on my back (right) leg. That's something I'm just going to have to work through. I'm anxious every time I have to slide, too. I usually slide head-first to try to protect my knee."

Cleveland said Vaccaro is playing well defensively.

"We used Alex as a designated hitter the first week because the fields were wet and we didn't want him slipping and sliding around out there," Cleveland said. "But we've put him back into left field and he's running around and making plays out there. He has been very productive both offensively and defensively."

Vaccaro said he looks up to his three older brothers, Michael, Daniel and Thomas.

Michael Vaccaro played center field at Watterson before graduating in 2000, Daniel Vaccaro was a baseball team manager at Thomas Worthington before graduating in 2002, and Thomas Vaccaro played catcher at St. Charles before graduating in 2004.

"My brothers were all into baseball and I've always wanted to play well to try to live up to their standards," Alex said.

"I'm planning on playing baseball at Muskingum College next year, but I've got some goals I want to accomplish before I leave Watterson."

•The boys and girls track and field teams will compete Friday in the Olentangy Invitational.

Last Friday at the Russ Owen/Bexley Relays, the girls team was third (70) of 10 teams behind Columbus School for Girls (90) and New Albany (83) and the boys team placed fourth (63) of nine teams behind Bexley (78), St. Charles (71) and New Albany (67).

On April 22, the girls team finished third (34) behind Canal Winchester (96) and Granville (39) and the boys team finished third (23) behind Canal Winchester (82.5) and Granville (66.5).

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedule for the Watterson baseball, softball, tennis, volleyball and boys and girls lacrosse teams:

BASEBALL

*April 21 -- Lost to Ready 6-5 in eight innings

April 22 -- Lost to Pickerington Central 12-2

*April 23 -- Lost to Hartley 8-2

*Last Friday -- Def. Worthington Christian 7-3. Mitch Sroka gave up four hits and Jordan Gelhaus hit a home run.

Last Saturday -- Def. New Albany 22-17 in 10 innings. Marck Paliotto was the winning pitcher.

*Last Monday -- Def. St. Charles 12-3

*Last Wednesday -- Played DeSales

Today -- At Jonathan Alder. Watterson lost 15-9 last year.

*Friday -- Home vs. Ready

*Monday -- At Hartley

*Tuesday -- At Worthington Christian

Of note: The Eagles were 10-7-1 overall and 4-3 in the CCL before last Wednesday.

SOFTBALL

*April 21 -- Def. Hartley 3-0. Maggie Molnar pitched a three-hitter.

April 22 -- Def. Gahanna 1-0. Molnar pitched a one-hitter.

*April 24 -- Def. DeSales 3-2. Molnar gave up five hits.

Last Friday -- Lost to Danville 10-9

Last Saturday -- Def. Minerva 6-5; def. Reynoldsburg 6-1

*Last Monday -- Def. Ready 2-1

Last Tuesday -- Played Dublin Coffman

*Today -- At Worthington Christian. Watterson won 17-1 on April 18.

Friday -- Home vs. Hilliard Davidson. Watterson lost 11-5 last year.

Tuesday -- At Thomas Worthington. Watterson lost 7-1 last year.

Of note: The Eagles were 12-6 overall before last Tuesday and are 6-1 in the CCL.

TENNIS

April 21 -- Finished sixth (15) in the eight-team Hilliard Davidson Doubles Classic behind champion New Albany (31). Chris Diaz and Philip Diaz def. New Albany's Peter Kobelt and Skyler Engel 8-3 in the first-flight final.

*April 22 -- Def. Ready 5-0

April 23 -- Def. Worthington Kilbourne 3-2

*April 24 -- Def. Worthington Christian 5-0

Last Friday -- Lost to Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 3-2

Last Saturday -- Finished fourth (10) in the eight-team Worthington Cup behind Worthington Kilbourne (13), Thomas Worthington (12) and Upper Arlington (11). The team of Chris Diaz and Philip Diaz beat Upper Arlington's James Melvin and Phil Zunshine 10-5 in the doubles final.

*Last Tuesday -- Played DeSales

Last Wednesday -- Played Hilliard Davidson

*Today -- At Hartley. Watterson won 4-0 last year.

*Tuesday -- Home vs. St. Charles. Watterson lost 3-2 last year.

Wednesday -- At Upper Arlington

Of note: The Eagles were 6-5 overall and 2-0 in the CCL before last Tuesday.

VOLLEYBALL

April 22 -- Def. Olentangy Liberty 25-15, 25-13, 23-25, 26-24

April 23 -- Lost to St. Charles 25-11, 25-9, 23-25, 25-15

Last Friday -- Def. Westerville North 25-15, 25-13, 25-16

Last Saturday -- Def. Westerville South 25-17, 25-19; def. Gahanna Christian 25-20, 25-17; def. Whetstone 25-10, 25-17

Last Monday -- Def. Westerville Central 25-19, 25-13, 26-24

Wednesday -- At St. Charles

Of note: The Eagles are 10-12.

BOYS LACROSSE

April 23 -- Lost to Olentangy 14-3

Last Monday -- Lost to Wellington 5-4 (OT)

Last Wednesday -- Played Gahanna

Friday -- At New Albany

Of note: The Eagles were 1-7 before last Wednesday.

GIRLS LACROSSE

April 24 -- Def. Pickerington 18-4

Last Saturday -- Def. Rocky River Magnificat 13-3

Friday -- Home vs. Bexley

Of note: The Eagles are 8-3.

*CCL contest