Lakeside High softball coach Christina Steflik was out with an illness and could not make the Panthers' region game at home Aug. 27 against Josey.
In her place was assistant Jackie Cascio, who didn't have to deal with much pressure during the Panthers' 15-0 win, which was shortened to three innings via the mercy rule.
Allison Clark was the starting pitcher for the Panthers and struck out the side in the first.
Clark's sister, Amanda, has been the Panthers' ace through the early part of the season.
The Panthers have been without pitcher Jesse Wiegers, who was in a car accident on her way to play in a softball tournament earlier this season. Wiegers was waiting to turn into Patriots Park when her car was rear-ended, which damaged the ulnar nerve in her arm. She will undergo physical therapy and could be out another week or more.
Steflik, a Lakeside math teacher, is the Panthers' fourth coach in four seasons. Wiegers' mother, Sherrie, served as a community coach last season, and the Panthers have used other community coaches in the past.
Cascio said having a school employee coach should create more of a bond with the players.
"That's what they were hoping to do, bring some faculty members on," she said. "That way the girls have somewhere to go during the day. They have someone to kind of mentor them at school."
The Panthers, competing in Region 3-AAAA, lost to county rival Evans 8-3 on Aug. 20. Knights coach Colette Cassedy said last week she thought the Panthers were much improved from a season ago.
Cascio said she expects the Panthers could find themselves somewhere in the middle among the region's teams, which would leave Lakeside competing for one of the region's four playoff spots.
"I think we're scrappy," she said. "I think we're going to be competing well with a little more practice, a little more experience under our belt."
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