The Watterson High School baseball team was plagued by poor hitting and defensive mistakes for much of the regular season.
The sixth-seeded Eagles steered clear of both issues in their first two Division II district tournament games, however, and advanced to a district semifinal, where they faced third-seeded Licking Valley on May 21 at Grove City.
Watterson opened the tournament with a 19-3, five-inning over 22nd-seeded Columbus East on May 14 and defeated 18th-seeded Buckeye Valley 8-1 in the second round May 16.
"All season long, we've been inconsistent offensively and defensively, so I'm absolutely tickled to see us play this way in the tournament," said coach Scott Manahan, whose team fell to 18-10 with a 7-1 loss to Dublin Jerome in a regular-season game May 18. "The most encouraging thing is the way we've been hitting the ball. We've been the king of bloops all season, but we didn't have a single bloop in either of these (tournament) games. In the tournament, we've hit a lot of line drives and hard groundballs to make our opponents make plays."
The semifinal winner plays second-seeded Bexley or fourth-seeded Jonathan Alder in a district final Thursday, May 23, at Beavers Field in Lancaster. Watterson beat Jonathan Alder 3-2 on April 20.
The district champion advances to a regional semifinal May 30 at the University of Dayton, where it will face Goshen, New Richmond, Springfield Kenton Ridge or Springfield Shawnee.
"Our pitching has been our strong suit all year, and if Greg Jacknewitz is pitching well and we play defense like we did (against Buckeye Valley), I like our chances," Manahan said. "The key is we need to hit the ball hard. It's going to be about our hitting and if we continue to swing our bats with authority and score runs, we'll have a legitimate shot at winning a district championship."
Against East, Jacknewitz (1B/P), Avery Janning (SS) and Andrew Ohl (OF/P) each had two RBI and Sam Rice pitched four innings to earn the victory.
Jacknewitz pitched a four-hitter with six strikeouts against Buckeye Valley, with Rice going 2-for-4 with three RBI and Gabe Martin (OF) and Ohl each going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Janning, Patrick Roark (OF) and Mitch Stotler (2B) also had an RBI apiece.
"Buckeye Valley is a good team and we played our best all-around game of the season to beat them, which is exactly what you need in the tournament," Manahan said. "Sam Rice had a big two-out, two-RBI hit in the first inning to put us up 2-0 and we continued to build on our lead throughout the game."
Watterson had no errors against East and made only one but didn't give up any unearned runs against Buckeye Valley.
Cook throws perfect game for softball team
Kayla Cook pitched a perfect game as the eighth-seeded softball team beat 18th-seeded Hilliard Davidson 6-0 in the second round of the Division I district tournament May 16 at home.
Cook did had 10 strikeouts and also had an RBI, as did infielders Alexis Mayle and Lily Sisamuth and outfielder Mary Murray.
"Kayla has been pitching really well, especially in the second half of this season," coach Tracey Cultice said. "I believe that's the first time she's ever thrown a perfect game. Kayla's defense really backed her up. Katie Manahan had some phenomenal saves at third base in this game."
Watterson was 18-4 before playing seventh-seeded Worthington Kilbourne in a district semifinal May 21 at Pickerington North.
The winner plays second-seeded Grove City or 13th-seeded Groveport in a district final Saturday, May 25, at Pickerington Central. The district champion advances to a regional semifinal Wednesday, May 29, at Ohio State, where it will face Delaware, Olentangy Liberty, Pickerington Central or Teays Valley.
Delaware is the top seed in the district.
Watterson, which is seeking its first district title, defeated Groveport 9-0 on April 3 and beat Teays Valley 7-0 on April 20 but lost to Grove City 2-1 on April 27.
"We just have to stay consistent in these next few games and we'll be fine," Cultice said. "Grove City's a very good team, but we had a really good game against them. We had two errors in the last inning when they scored both of their runs, and their winning run was unearned. I'm hoping we'll play better defense if get another chance to play them."
The Eagles defeated 41st-seeded Westland 16-0 in five innings in the first round of the tournament May 14, as Cook hit a solo home run and had two RBI.
"Westland played hard and made some good defensive plays, but they just didn't have the pitching to make this a competitive game," Cultice said.
Girls track team takes third in CCL meet
The girls track and field team scored 105 points to place third in the CCL meet May 16 and 18 at Columbus School for Girls, behind DeSales (114) and CSG (112) and ahead of Hartley (102) and Ready (55).
Placing first for the Eagles were the 3,200-meter relay of Amy Griffith, Heidi Hetterscheidt, Jessica Passwater and Claire Diorio (9 minutes, 53.7 seconds), Passwater in the 3,200 (12:26.3) and Griffith in the 1,600 (5:23).
The boys team finished fifth (74) in the CCL meet behind St. Charles (175), DeSales (81), Ready (79) and Hartley (77).
Dominic Lombardi won the 110 hurdles (14.6) and Joe Mankovecky placed second in the high jump (6 feet, 4 inches).
The girls team is competing in the Division I, district 1 meet this week at Hilliard Darby. The meet began with running event preliminaries May 21, continues with the field events Thursday, May 23, and concludes with the running event finals Saturday, May 25.
The top four finishers in each event advance to the regional meet Wednesday, May 29, and May 31 at Pickerington North.
The boys team is competing in the Division II, district 2 meet at Westerville South. The field events were held May 21, the running event preliminaries were held May 22 and the running event finals will be held Saturday, May 25.
The top four finishers in each event advance to the regional meet May 30 and June 1 at Welcome Stadium in Dayton.
Boys lacrosse team ends regular season
The boys lacrosse team went 1-2 last week to conclude the regular season.
Watterson defeated Wellington 15-3 on May 13 behind five goals and two assists from attacker Eddie Passen, four goals from attacker Reed Abahazie and two goals and three assists by attacker Matt Foley.
The Eagles lost to Delaware 12-11 in overtime May 15 and lost to St. Charles 14-6 on May 17 to fall to 10-4.
The Division II Central Region tournament draw was held May 19.
Last season, the Eagles opened the regional tournament with a 14-5 win over Wellington before losing to New Albany 8-4 in the second round.
Boys tennis team competes in sectional
The boys tennis team will be represented in the Division II district tournament Friday, May 24, and Saturday, May 25, at Columbus Academy by at least one singles player and a doubles team.
Watterson competed in a sectional tournament May 16 and 20 at CSG, with the top four finishers in singles and doubles advancing to district. The sectional was to have been completed May 18 but was postponed because of rain.
Securing a district berth by advancing to a sectional semifinal May 20 were Ryan Bibo, who won his first three matches in singles, and the doubles team of twin brothers Mark and Michael Guza, who won their first two matches.
Kevin Beattie won his first two matches to advance to a quarterfinal May 20. He needed to win the quarterfinal match to advance to district.
The top two finishers in singles and doubles at district qualify for the state tournament May 31 and June 1 at Ohio State.
Also competing at sectional for the Eagles were Ryan Maur, who went 1-1 in singles, and Stev Gregory and Jae Suk Dae, who went 2-1 in doubles.
Watterson lost to Worthington Kilbourne 3-2 on May 14 to finish 11-6 in dual matches.
Girls lacrosse team ousted from tourney
The girls lacrosse team lost to host Pickerington North 16-8 in the first round of the Division I South/Central Region tournament May 13 to finish 4-10-1.
Attacker Emily Engert scored four goals and goalkeeper Victoria Farhat had two saves.
Volleyball team falls in postseason opener
The boys volleyball team lost to DeSales 25-12, 29-27, 27-29, 20-25, 15-13 in its opening match in the Division II East Region tournament May 15 at Buckeye Valley to finish 15-8.