When Emily Manahan first got interested in softball about two decades ago, her father, Scott Manahan, was in the middle of his first tenure as baseball coach at Watterson High School.
Although Scott says he didn't know about some of softball's complexities at that time, he helped teach his daughter some of the nuances of hitting.
He also didn't mince words when dishing out constructive criticism about the way she threw the ball.
"She was going to show me she could throw like a boy," said Scott, who coached Watterson from 1992-2007 and is in the eighth season of his second tenure heading the program. "It motivated her to be a pretty good player, and she was a solid high school player and a very good Division III (college) softball player."
While her father has more than 600 career victories and was inducted into the National High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2015, Emily began her own coaching career this spring.
A 2008 Watterson graduate who played softball for the Eagles and at Bluffton University, Emily was an assistant coach for Watterson the past three seasons before taking over as coach in the offseason.
The softball team beat Groveport 2-1 on April 13 and Dublin Coffman 7-2 on April 14 and was 7-3 overall and 2-0 in the CCL before playing DeSales on April 16.
The Eagles opened league play with a 6-0 victory over Ready on April 9 in which Nicole Funge pitched a three-hitter and beat Hartley 18-4 in a league game April 11.
While Scott's baseball background played a role in her becoming interested in softball, having a baseball coach as a father never felt like "a boot camp" for Emily as she was learning the game.
His influence also provided a glimpse of what she's experienced as a coach.
"It was obviously very helpful when I realized I loved the game and wanted to work more at it," Emily said. "He wasn't a traditional coach in keeping me outside all hours of the night. He wasn't interested in pressuring me, but whenever I showed I was ready to put in that work consistently, he was always there to take me out to the field. I did my agility work on spray-painted charts in the garage. It gave me a perspective early on about what it's like to be a coach.
"At the end of the day, the program lives and dies on your shoulders. It was interesting to see him have teams with players that were stacked with Division I (college recruits) to years where he had kids playing a lot of different roles. ... It instilled early in me the things that were important and the knowledge part of the game."
Her father is someone she considers to be a resource as she learns the ropes of being a head coach.
"I knew I wanted to take on head coaching soon and it opened up at the right time," Emily said. "He said, 'I'm not going to tell you how to run your program,' but anytime I've needed him to answer a question, he's always got one."
The softball and baseball teams have been busier than many others in central Ohio as both traveled to the Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in late March for practice and games.
The baseball team beat Hilliard Bradley 5-3 on April 10 as Jacob Wakefield gave up one earned run while pitching a complete game and Carson Peck went 2-for-3 with two RBI.
The Eagles defeated Columbus Academy 12-4 on April 12 and Youngstown Ursuline 6-2 on April 13 and were 6-4 overall and 0-1 in the CCL before playing Ready on April 16.
Watterson opened league action April 11 with a 9-2 loss to DeSales.
Emily is the oldest of four children born to Scott and Laura Manahan, whom Emily calls "the best cheerleader you could ever have as a parent."
Emily's brother, Matthew, played baseball at Hamilton Township before graduating in 2009, and her sisters, Audrey and Katie, played softball at Watterson before graduating in 2013 and 2015, respectively. Katie plays softball for Ashland.
Among his children, Scott isn't surprised that Emily has become a coach. She works at Ohio State in the College of Education and Human Ecology in early childhood research.
"If there's anybody I thought would become a head coach, it's her," Scott said. "She's the child probably the closest to her father personality-wise, the poor kid. Her strength is probably the Xs and Os and working with the kids. She loves the game."
Girls lacrosse team bounces back
After closing March with three consecutive losses, the girls lacrosse team beat Bexley 17-7 on April 10 in its first game following spring break.
The Eagles were 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the Central Independent League before playing Granville on April 16.
Against Bexley, Erica Melaragno scored seven goals, Nina Buoni and Emma Coleman both scored three and goalkeeper Regan Abahazie had 22 saves.
"Erica played her best game by far," coach Joe Gavin said. "(It was) good to see her break out like that (in our) first game back after a long spring break. I wasn't sure how we'd play, but I thought several girls really stepped up."
Boys lacrosse team starting to settle in
With just four returnees from last season when it reached a Division II state semifinal, the boys lacrosse team opened with losses in three of its first five games.
The Eagles then won 17-3 at Bexley on April 11 and beat Thomas Worthington 12-2 on April 14 to improve to 4-3 overall.
Against the Lions, senior attacker Paul Hamlett scored six goals, sophomore attacker Dominic Dean scored four and sophomore goalie Jacob Comer made three saves.
Dean, who scored seven goals in a 12-11 win over Cincinnati Indian Hill on April 7, had 21 goals through six games.
Athletes reveal college decisions
Five student-athletes announced their college decisions April 11.
In swimming and diving, Julia St. John, of Dublin, will compete for Denison's women's team and Thomas Clark, of Dublin, will compete for Tampa's men's team.
Kyle Bower, of Dublin, will compete in men's track and field at Kenyon, Trevor Marcinick, of Dublin, will play hockey for Babson and Keegan Logsdon, of Delaware, will play men's lacrosse at Heidelberg.
Below are the coming schedules for the Watterson baseball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, softball, boys tennis, track & field and boys volleyball teams:
April 19 -- At Dublin Coffman
*April 20 -- Home vs. Hartley
April 21 -- Home vs. Westerville Central
*April 23 -- At DeSales. The Eagles lost to the Stallions 9-2 on April 11.
April 19 -- At Olentangy Orange
April 21 -- Upper St. Clair (Pa.) at Otterbein
April 25 -- At Cincinnati Summit Country Day
*April 19 -- At Columbus Academy
April 20 -- At Whetstone
April 21 -- Oak Park (Ill.) River Forest in Hannigan-Galipault Tournament at Thomas Worthington
April 24 -- Westerville North at Otterbein
April 19 -- Home vs. Teays Valley
April 21 -- At Olentangy Liberty
*April 23 -- Home vs. Ready. The Eagles beat the Silver Knights 6-0 on April 9.
*April 25 -- Home vs. Hartley. The Eagles beat the Hawks 18-4 on April 11.
April 21 -- Hilliard Davidson Doubles Classic
*April 23 -- Home vs. Ready
*April 24 -- Home vs. St. Charles
April 25 -- At Westerville Central
TRACK & FIELD
April 20 -- Wildcat Invitational at Westerville South
April 24 -- At London
April 25 -- Braves Invitational at Whetstone
*April 20 -- Home vs. DeSales
April 24 -- Home vs. Licking Heights