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Softball: Senior pitcher shows excellence through singing, on-field feats

With a mean fastball, big bat and even bigger voice, Emily Wethington gives new meaning to a triple threat.

Ohio’s senior pitcher has started 17 of the team’s 28 games this season and bats cleanup. She owns the school’s all-time strikeout record, home run record and has the best singing voice on the team.

Bobcat fans might already recognize Wethington without knowing a thing about her softball accomplishments. She has sung “The Star-Spangled Banner” for dozens of men’s and women’s basketball games during the past three years.

Wethington even sings the anthem for most home softball games in full uniform before she goes about her business mowing down opposing batters.

“I sang the national anthem for all my games in high school,” Wethington said. “I’ve always just loved performing and singing. I used to want to be a country singer, but softball kind of took me in a different direction.”

Wethington attributes her softball and vocal talents to her parents, Nancy and Carmen, who make the four-plus-hour drive from her one-stoplight hometown of New Palestine, Ind., to watch almost all of her games.

Softball wasn’t necessarily in the family bloodline. Her father Carmen wrestled and ran cross-country in high school, and her mother Nancy was a cheerleader. But they supported her from the day she picked up a bat and swung at a tee.

“Emily did take a liking to the game. She started when she was 5 — it was just a little youth league group — and she loved getting her hands on the ball,” Nancy said. “She’s the one that decided she wanted to be a pitcher, and that’s when we started getting her in lessons.”

Carmen began immersing himself in the game, learning all the rules, techniques and intricacies along with his daughter. He would ask questions to her pitching coach and watch other teams practice. He volunteered to be an assistant coach when she began playing travel softball at age 10.

“It ended up that (the head coach) quit a year later, so that kind of threw me into the thick of things and I just kind of learned the game riding on the seat of my pants,” Carmen said.

Carmen continued to coach Emily throughout high school and, although now retired and more than 200 miles away from his daughter, he still coaches hitting.

Although softball wasn’t necessarily in Emily’s genes, singing was. Carmen plays   a myriad of instruments, which included playing guitar and singing lead vocals in a bluegrass band when Emily was younger.

“I grew up listening to him play,” Emily said. “He had a stand-up bass that I would pretend to play while he’d play the guitar. He’s definitely been an influence on my music.”

The ability to project her voice, Emily said, came from her cheerleader mother.

“I will tell you she is spot on with that,” Nancy said. “My husband is the one that has the pretty voice, but I always tell everyone those are my lungs, because I can’t sing a tune.”

Coming to Ohio was an emotional adjustment for Emily and her parents, but softball and singing made the transition much easier.

She sings at practice, the batting cages, the bullpen and even on the bus. Coach Jodi Hermanek, who started coaching Ohio in Emily’s sophomore year, was the one that suggested she try out to sing at basketball games.

“She’s just a performer, whether it’s athletically or entertainment-wise,” Hermanek said. “If Emily’s not singing, there’s something wrong with our day. She loves to sing, and she’s always got a tune coming out of her somewhere.

“She’s one of the finest national anthem singers Ohio has had in a long time.”

With 486 strikeouts and counting, a school-best 24 career home runs and an All-MAC First Team appearance under her belt, there’s no question Emily is among the best softball players in school



Emily and singing

Emily Wethington sings and talks about her music.

Full song

Audio by Susannah Kay and Joel Hawksley

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