The upside is there for the Watterson High School baseball team.

The upside is there for the Watterson High School baseball team.

It just might take some time for things to fall completely into place for the Eagles, who lost a 10-member senior class that led them to a 24-9 overall record and a Division II state semifinal last season.

Watterson, which was scheduled to open the season with four games in Myrtle Beach, S.C., beginning March 28, won't have as much experience, but 22nd-year coach Scott Manahan believes the Eagles have enough talent in their younger classes to at least approach last year's record.

"We're looking for this to be a process," said Manahan, who entered his 30th overall season with a career record of 566-247.

"I just think we're excited about the fact that we're going to be young, but that it could be a real good team. I know these guys have a chip on their shoulder and are ready to go."

The Eagles have won back-to-back CCL titles and earned their first district title since 2007 and their first regional championship since 2001 a year ago.

The top returnee is senior catcher Christian Kroger, who batted .355 with 24 RBI last season and was named first-team all-league and all-district and second-team all-state.

Watterson also has a clear No. 1 pitcher in junior Matt Dockman, who went 7-1 with a 1.17 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings last year while making second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.

Senior Alex Gabel (P/CF) hit .333 with 23 runs scored last season.

Junior Nick Janning (SS/3B) and sophomore Nate Meyer (SS) are other returnees.

Also on the infield are juniors Will Davis (1B), Connor Hoyng (2B), Cal McAninch (2B), Adam Meader (C) and Adam Stotler (2B) and sophomore Cole Andrews (1B/C).

Joining Gabel in the outfield should be juniors Dylan Appolloni (LF), Casey Douthitt (RF) and Austin Hare (RF) and sophomore Josh Brobst (LF).

Senior Mark Zelnik could be the No. 2 pitcher behind Dockman. Others expected to see time on the mound include Appolloni, Douthitt and McAninch.

The Eagles lost seven starters to graduation, including Avery Janning (3B/SS/P), who was honorable mention all-state and first-team all-district and all-league, and Sam Rice (1B/3B/P), who was first-team all-district and all-league.

Softball team hopes to keep moving up

After winning just five games in 2014, the softball team finished 14-9 overall and earned a share of the CCL championship at 4-2 with DeSales a year ago.

Back from last season are two seniors and four juniors who were key players.

"We're a mix of experience and inexperience this season," fifth-year coach Tracey Cultice said. "I have six returning varsity players and eight new varsity players. We have a lot of talent on this team that can definitely make some noise throughout our league and the Central District."

The top returnees are senior catcher Claire Kudika, who batted .432 with 22 RBI and was first-team all-league, and junior shortstop Katrina Wierzbicki, who hit .394 with 32 runs scored and was first-team all-league and second-team all-district.

The other senior is Mallory Devine, who should start in the outfield.

Junior Erin Vonderwell likely will be the team's No. 1 pitcher after going 5-1 with a 2.49 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings last season.

Also back are juniors Abbi Bressoud (1B) and Abby Valentine (P/OF).

Rounding out the team are juniors Madison Eagle (P/INF), Melanie Soller (C/INF) and Caity Williams (INF), sophomores Kristin Bricker (OF) and Gretchen Glanzman (INF) and freshmen Gracie Bressoud (OF), Maddie McCleary (utility) and Olivia Ogden (INF).

Watterson opened March 28 against Chesterfield (S.C.) in Myrtle Beach, its first of five games at the Ripken Experience. The Eagles open CCL play April 11 at home against Hartley.

Juniors to lead girls lacrosse team

Building on a program-best season is the goal for the girls lacrosse team.

How quickly the members of a large junior class adjust to taking on more significant roles will determine whether that goal is accomplished.

The Eagles finished 11-6 overall last year to set the program mark for wins in a season.

"We graduated a lot, so that's been challenging, but we have a very large junior class," coach Karen Bailey said. "The girls are great and have been very supportive. We had a good record last year but had unfortunate timing with injuries."

Bailey is in her first season as coach after serving as an assistant the last two years under Jack Conte, who went 40-41-2 in five seasons as coach. Bailey, a 2007 Thomas Worthington graduate, played for the University of Cincinnati.

Watterson opened March 21 with a 15-5 win over Gahanna and beat Westerville Central 14-5 on March 22.

The Eagles have two seniors in Elise Blevins (attacker) and Ally Grabowski (attacker).

Juniors Ellen Geyer (midfielder/attacker), Kiera Mulcahy (midfielder), Anne Reed (attacker) and Torie Sullivan (attacker) and sophomore Nina Buoni (midfielder) are key returnees along with Blevins.

Also at midfielder is junior Georgia Wood.

Expected to lead the defense are juniors Kelsey Hatem, Alyssa King and Katie Long, while junior Anna Hartman is the goalkeeper.

Watterson lost seven players to graduation, including defenders Jenn Buening and Margaret McGowan and attacker Ellie Wood. Those three players were unable to play in the team's 11-8 loss to Cincinnati Seton in the second round of the Division II South/Central Region tournament because of health reasons.

Schedules

BASEBALL

March 28 -- Burlington (Ill.) Central at Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

March 29 -- Chesterfield (S.C.) at Ripken Experience

March 31 -- Glen Ellyn (Ill.) Glenbard South at Ripken Experience

April 1 -- Parma Padua at Ripken Experience

April 4 -- vs. Utica

April 5 -- Canal Winchester at V.A. Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe

April 7 -- vs. Bexley

April 9 -- vs. Columbus Academy

*April 11 -- at Hartley

April 12 -- vs. Thomas Worthington

*April 13 -- vs. DeSales

*April 15 -- vs. St. Charles

April 16 -- at Jonathan Alder

April 19 -- at Marysville

*April 20 -- at Ready

April 21 -- at Dublin Coffman

*April 22 -- vs. Hartley

April 23 -- vs. Granville

*April 25 -- at DeSales

*April 27 -- at St. Charles

April 28 -- vs. Bloom-Carroll

April 29 -- Licking Valley at Don Edwards Field

*May 2 -- vs. Ready

May 3 -- Wheelersburg at V.A. Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe

May 5 -- at Hilliard Darby

May 7 -- vs. Centennial

GIRLS LACROSSE

March 21 -- at Gahanna

March 22 -- at Westerville Central

April 4 -- vs. Pickerington North

April 8 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne

*April 12 -- at DeSales

*April 14 -- vs. Granville

April 16 -- Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown and Mentor Lake Catholic in Hannigan-Galipault Tournament at Thomas Worthington

*April 20 -- at Columbus Academy

April 22 -- vs. Dublin Jerome

*April 26 -- at Columbus School for Girls

*April 28 -- vs. Hartley

*April 30 -- at Bexley

May 2 -- at Hilliard Davidson

*May 3 -- at Wellington

May 9 -- vs. Westerville North

May 10 -- vs. Dublin Scioto

May 12 -- at Olentangy Orange

SOFTBALL

March 28 -- Chesterfield (S.C.) at Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

March 29 -- Fairfax (Va.) Paul VI at Ripken Experience

March 30 -- Orwell Grand Valley at Ripken Experience

March 31 -- Kearny (N.J.) at Ripken Experience

April 1 -- Washington (D.C.) St. John's College at Ripken Experience

April 5 -- at Hilliard Darby

April 7 -- at Olentangy

April 9 -- at Cardington with Canal Winchester

*April 11 -- vs. Hartley

*April 13 -- at Ready

April 14 -- at Teays Valley

April 16 -- vs. North Union and Dublin Jerome

*April 18 -- vs. DeSales

April 19 -- vs. Groveport

April 21 -- at Centennial

April 23 -- at Marysville with TBA

*April 25 -- at Hartley

*April 27 -- vs. Ready

April 28 -- at Big Walnut

April 30 -- vs. Central Crossing (DH)

*May 2 -- at DeSales

May 3 -- vs. Thomas Worthington

May 6 -- vs. New Albany

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Watterson boys lacrosse, boys tennis and boys volleyball teams:

BOYS LACROSSE

April 2 -- At Cincinnati Mariemont

April 6 -- Hilliard Darby at Otterbein University

BOYS TENNIS

*April 5 -- Home vs. Ready

April 6 -- At Hilliard Davidson

BOYS VOLLEYBALL

April 1 -- At Clayton Northmont with Kettering Alter

April 6 -- At Olentangy

*League contest