Watterson High School baseball coach Scott Manahan believes the 2013 season was a success despite the fact that his team didn't meet all of its goals, including winning CCL and district championships.
The Eagles finished 19-11 overall, ending the season with a 4-3 loss to Jonathan Alder in a Division II district final May 23 at Beavers Field in Lancaster.
"As a coach, you always wish you could have won more games or made it further in the tournament, but this was definitely a good season," Manahan said. "We won 19 games and were a couple of runs away from winning our first district title since 2007, so this season was a good step in the right direction."
During the regular season, Watterson posted wins over Wheelersburg (12-5 on April 6), Bloom-Carroll (8-7 on April 9) and Jonathan Alder (3-2 on April 20) and lost to both Cleveland St. Ignatius (6-3 on April 5) and Newark Catholic (4-3 on May 9).
Wheelersburg went on to defeat Bloom-Carroll 5-4 in the Division III state final. Newark Catholic (Division IV), Jonathan Alder (Division II) and St. Ignatius (Division I) were state runners-up.
The Eagles also defeated two-time defending Division II state champion DeSales 4-1 on April 23 on the way to going 4-4 in the CCL to tie the Stallions for second, behind St. Charles (7-1) and ahead of Ready (3-5) and Hartley (2-6).
Seeded sixth in the district, Watterson opened the postseason with a 19-3 victory over 22nd-seeded Columbus East on May 14. It then defeated 18th-seeded Buckeye Valley 8-1 in the second round May 16 and third-seeded Licking Valley 5-2 in a district semifinal May 21 before losing to fourth-seeded Jonathan Alder.
"We could have played a weaker schedule and won 23 or 24 games, but that's not what we're all about here," Manahan said. "I wish we could have won more CCL games, but it was nice to beat DeSales for the first time in a long time, and we were competitive with some of the top teams in the state that played in the Division I, II, III and IV championship games. We played well in the tournament, too. I'm thinking if we could have won our district final, maybe we could have made it as far as Jonathan Alder ended up going."
The Eagles lose seven seniors, including four starters in Nathan Giangardella (P/3B), Greg Jacknewitz (1B/P), Gabe Martin (RF/DH) and Andrew Ohl (CF/P).
Jacknewitz, Martin and Ohl all were named first-team all-CCL. Jacknewitz and Ohl were first-team all-district and Martin was honorable mention all-district.
Jacknewitz went 5-4 on the mound with a 2.22 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 60 innings. Ohl had a .359 batting average with 19 runs and Martin batted .361 with two triples and 20 runs.
"Our seniors were an outstanding group who will be sorely missed," Manahan said.
The Eagles expect to return six starters in juniors Joe DiOrio (C), Sam Severance (LF) and Mitch Stotler (2B/SS) and sophomores Jacob Bolton (3B/SS), Avery Janning (SS) and Sam Rice (1B).
Severance, who batted .345 with eight doubles and 17 runs, was honorable mention all-district and first-team all-CCL. Rice was first-team all-league and Bolton was second-team all-league.
"We have some very talented kids coming back and they will be counted on to help lead us next year," Manahan said.
Boys lacrosse team posts winning season
The boys lacrosse team finished 11-5 for the second consecutive season.
Seeded second in the Division II Central Region tournament, the Eagles defeated eighth-seeded Kent Roosevelt 13-2 in the first round May 24 before losing to third-seeded New Albany 8-7 in overtime in the second round May 29.
"We fell a little short of our goals by losing in the sweet 16 to a New Albany team that we had already beaten (7-2 on April 18) this season," coach Tom Foley said. "New Albany's a real good team, but we were up 7-6 with seven minutes to go and, after they tied it, we had a good scoring chance with (1 minute, 20 seconds) left that we barely missed out on. Then, they scored 15 seconds into overtime to stun us."
Watterson won its first seven games but lost five of its last nine.
"We had a great start to our season beating Gahanna (16-7 on April 6) and (Cincinnati) Summit Country Day (15-5 on April 13) in our first two games," Foley said. "Summit Country Day was undefeated (4-0) when they played us, so that was a big win.
"Then we lost to DeSales (14-9 on May 3) and we didn't have a lot of time to rest between games toward the end of the season."
The Eagles lose 12 seniors, including seven starters in attackers Reed Abahazie and Matt Foley, goalkeeper Jordan Lucki, midfielders Wyatt Applegate and Eddie Passen and defenders Matt Stafford and Adam Thomas.
Foley (26 goals, 35 assists), Passen (48 goals, 15 assists) and Lucki (165 saves) were named first-team all-region and second-team all-state. Thomas was first-team all-region and honorable mention all-state and Abahazie (29 goals, 7 assists) and Stafford were honorable mention all-region.
Applegate had 11 goals.
"Our seniors were great leaders and they were all very important in our success," coach Foley said.
Among those expected to return are four starters in junior midfielders Pat Pirrmann and Evan Woosley, sophomore defender Derek Petrucci and freshman defender Nick Melaragno.
Woosley, who scored 11 goals and won 65 percent of his face-offs, was first-team all-region and honorable mention all-state. Pirrmann (15 goals, 13 assists) and Melaragno were second-team all-region.
Junior midfielders Brendan Ryan (9 goals, 4 assists) and Brayden Stellar (6 goals), and sophomore attacker Hunter Spencer (8 goals, 9 assists) also are expected back.
"We have a nice group coming back and we have the most talented group of freshmen we've ever had come through this program coming in," coach Foley said. "If all 26 freshmen join our team, we could have 60 boys playing lacrosse next year, so we'll be very deep."
Softball team won CCL title, 3 tourney games
The softball team finished 19-5 overall and won the CCL title at 6-0, markedly improving on the 2012 season when it went 13-9 and 1-5.
Watterson swept DeSales in CCL play, winning 10-8 on April 15 and 7-1 on April 25, to earn its first wins over the Stallions since 2008. DeSales, Hartley and Ready tied for second in the league at 2-4.
Seeded eighth of 42 teams in the Division I district tournament, Watterson defeated 41st-seeded Westland 16-0 in five innings in the first round May 14 and 18th-seeded Hilliard Davidson 6-0 in the second round May 16.
The Eagles then beat seventh-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 2-0 in a district semifinal May 21 at Pickerington North before losing to second-seeded Grove City 9-1 in a district final May 25 at Pickerington Central.
Against Kilbourne, pitcher Kayla Cook threw a two-hitter and second baseman Alexis Mayle hit a solo home run.
"We had a fantastic season," coach Tracey Cultice said. "We won 19 games and went undefeated in our league, which was huge, because this is the first time any of our players have ever beaten DeSales. This also was the first time any of our players ever advanced to a district final, so this was a great season for them."
The Eagles lose eight senior starters in Cook, Mayle, Katey Bell (CF), Emily Cloud (RF), Audrey Manahan (C), Maddie Marotti (SS), Mary Murray (LF) and Lily Sisamuth (3B).
Cook (.425 batting average) was named second-team all-state, first-team all-district and all-CCL, and Marotti (3 home runs) and Mayle (.432) were second-team all-district and first-team all-league.
Manahan (3 home runs) and Sisamuth (5 home runs) were first-team all-CCL and Bell was second-team all-league.
"We have eight seniors," Cultice said. "They're the heart and soul of this team, so it's really tough to say goodbye to them."
The Eagles expect to return two starters in sophomores Katie Manahan (1B) and Maria Simmonds (designated player).
Manahan (.419, 5 home runs) was honorable mention all-district and first-team all-CCL.
Also expected to return are junior Erin Farmwald (C), sophomore Avery Wakefield (OF) and freshman Ashley Competti (P).
"We have a lot to replace," Cultice said. "This team had great chemistry and you can't teach that. But we've got some good young players coming back, so I think we can win again next year."