Sherrie Wiegers was running Lakeside softball practice last week when one of her infielders made a nice stab and throw to first.
Wiegers shouted words of encouragement across the diamond.
The voice is a new one for the Panthers, who open region play Thursday with Evans. She will be their third head coach in three seasons.
Wiegers said she plans to stay awhile. Her daughter, sophomore Jessica Wiegers, is one of two pitchers whom Lakeside will lean on this season. The other, Amanda Clark, also is a sophomore.
Lakeside will be trying to rebound from a disappointing 2007 season. Its success will depend heavily on that of the Panthers' two young pitchers.
Weigers and Clark already have a year under their belts.
"They know what high school girls can do now," senior April Heard said.
The Panthers feel they have the experience to be competitive in Region 3-AAAA. The team includes five juniors and four seniors who have played all four years.
The Panthers seem glad to have coach Wiegers, who has previous coaching experience. Two years ago, the team was coached by Jay Matthews. Last season, the Panthers had a lay coach (who is not a school employee), and will again this year.
Wiegers said she would like to stay around to coach the team and her daughter. She has brought a new philosophy heavy on fundamentals and conditioning.
"It's kind of been up and down," Heard said. "We didn't know who was going to be our coach. We're glad she's here."
Wiegers said her team has taken well to the transition.
"They're kids," she said. "They adapt and they learn. I think they're doing a good job of adjusting."
Heard said the team's goal is to reach the Class AAAA state sectionals. The Panthers will be playing in a realigned Region 3-AAAA. The change means Lakeside won't face powerhouse Greenbrier in region play.
The Panthers did play the Wolfpack on Monday, though.
"It's always a tough game," senior Caroline Mickley said.
The Panthers might have a few of those this season, but Wiegers is hoping the team sticks together.
"I would like to see them come out and play good ball together," she said. "If they can do that, we'll do well."
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