When Chris Shirer stepped down as softball coach at Marysville High School after the 2010 season, a possible return didn't cross his mind.
However, thanks in part to a summer golf league, Shirer is back in the Monarchs' dugout, serving as co-coach with Jennifer Segner-Maxwell.
Shirer's wife, Kelly, and Segner-Maxwell play in the golf league at Buck Ridge Golf Course. It was Segner-Maxwell who initiated the discussion of Shirer's return.
"I thought I was done with the high school game," Shirer said. "I thought after (coaching in) college I'd probably just retire and find something else to do, so I found something else to do, coach softball in high school again."
Shirer, 59, was an assistant coach at Ohio Dominican for three years before stepping down after last season.
"I knew there was no way I could ask him to come in as an assistant," Segner-Maxwell said. "He was (an assistant) coach (when I played at Marysville). He's been in this game a long, long time. With the respect level, there was no way I could say: 'Do you want to be my assistant?' (This arrangement) just makes sense. He's great with hitting and infield and that puts me with pitching and catching, where I'm more comfortable, and outfield. It's a perfect split. It's a match made in heaven."
The new combination seems to be working, as the Monarchs were 9-0 overall before playing Marion Harding and Urbana on April 19 and are 4-0 in the OCC-Central Division.
Marysville plays host to Central Crossing on Monday, April 21, and Olentangy Liberty on Tuesday, April 22, in a game postponed April 11 because of bad weather. Last season, Marysville and Liberty shared the league title at 11-3.
The Monarchs lead the OCC-Central ahead of second-place Liberty, which was 3-1 in the league before playing Central Crossing on April 17.
Before taking over the program in fall 2010, Segner-Maxwell was an assistant under Shirer for three seasons.
"She's the only one I could do this with," Shirer said. "We just work so well together. She has her duties and I have mine and I'm just happy. We took our strengths and put them together and so far it's working well."
Shirer was 270-78 in 12 seasons at Marysville, winning five OCC titles, five Division I district championships and finishing as a regional runner-up three times.
Segner-Maxwell, a 1996 Marysville graduate, pitched for the Monarchs under coach Larry Fox, who remains a volunteer assistant in the program.
Fox was the coach from 1982-98, compiling a 295-93 record before being succeeded by Shirer. He guided the Monarchs to their only state tournament appearance in 1993; they lost a semifinal 2-1 to eventual state champion Akron Springfield.
Marysville has received a balanced effort during its strong start.
In a 9-0 victory April 16 at Upper Arlington, Erin Unterbrink earned the win, allowing four hits while striking out four and walking none in six innings. Cori Long pitched a perfect seventh, striking out two.
Maria Reed doubled and singled, and Katelynn Russell had a two-run home run.
Long pitched a one-hitter in a 7-0 win over Thomas Worth-ington on April 11 at home. She struck out six and walked none.
Amanda King doubled, singled and drove in three runs, and Madi Shelley homered.
"I like this a lot," King said of the coaching arrangement. "I work with coach Seg on catching and coach Shirer has really helped my hitting a lot. No one has had any issues with this at all. It's clearly working out."
Track teams compete in Stingel
The track and field teams competed in the Stingel Invitational on April 12 at Pickerington North.
The boys team was seventh (36 points) of 16 teams behind champion North (114) as Nick Williams placed second in the 200 meters (22.87 seconds) and 400 (49.42).
Alec Sandusky was third in the 3,200 (10:02.64) and teamed with Michael Coffey, Emmanuel Belville and Josh McPheron to finish third in the 3,200 relay (8:51.59).
Tyler Branton was fifth in the 100 (11.8) and eighth in the 200 (24.93), Hunter Harding was seventh in the shot put (43 feet, 10 1/2 inches) and the 1,600 relay of Jake Hilt-scher, Dylan North, Chris Lyons and Coffey finished eighth (3:40.6).
"We are looking much improved across the board this season already," coach J.B. Ritchie said. "We have athletes scoring in sprints, relays, distance and field events in most invitational meets. The boys team is showing excellent progress. We more than doubled our team points (16) from the Stingel meet last season."
The girls team was 14th (5) of 15 squads behind champion Gahanna (134).
Beth Miller, Erica VanHoose, Jenna Gastineau and Ashley Segner were sixth in the 3,200 relay (10:47.84) and Mim Stonecipher tied her program record in the pole vault (9-0) while placing seventh.
"Things are off to a great start," coach Luke Sundermeier said. "We're still trying to get everyone into the proper events and working on putting together some competitive relays."
Baseball team loses first league game
The baseball team will look to avenge its first league setback, a 12-4 loss to Liberty on April 16, when it plays host to the Patriots on Monday, April 21.
"Liberty came out and took it to us," coach Mark Brunswick said. "We have to learn from it and move on."
The Monarchs lost to Caledonia River Valley 3-2 on April 17.
Marysville is 9-4 overall and 4-1 in the OCC-Central.
Girls lacrosse team looks to bounce back
The girls lacrosse team was 1-4 overall before playing Pickerington North on April 19 and is 0-3 in the OCC-Cardinal.
The Monarchs lost at league-foe Hilliard Bradley 21-5 on April 11. Goalkeepers Cassie Todd (10) and Kaylynn Borror (7) combined for 17 saves, and Christina Peck scored three goals.
"Overall, this score does not reflect how well we played, especially in the second half," coach Michael Burnes said. "We are definitely showing improvement defensively and when we have the ball on the attack end we do good things."
Marysville lost to Worthington Kilbourne 21-3 in a league game April 17 at home.