Coach, letís first talk about the prospects for this yearís
I have four seniors: Peggy Bobb, Angie Bossingham, Emily Mahler
and Michelle Young. Out of those four, two of them are returning
starters, Peggy Bobb at first base and Angie Bossingham at third
base. Emily Mahler is our second baseman, and she struggled at the
plate a little bit last year. Michelle Young broke her wrist last
year, so she was out part of the season. I like the fact that she
is back, because I can use her at first base also. Peggy has a
great arm, so I would like to be able to use her elsewhere. Angie
right now is playing short stop but I may have to rotate her at
third some. None of my junior class played varsity except for our
number one pitcher, Hilary
the only one who saw considerable action was Emily Wilkinson, but
she suffered through some injuries. First she broke her nose, and
when she returned to action she broke her thumb. Sheís my
catcher, so itís really good to have her back, too. Itís
always good to return your pitcher-catcher combination. My number
two pitcher is Jo Beth Borowiak, who is only a sophomore. She will
probably be throwing a lot of sophomore games. Sheís the type of
girl that I can throw in the infield or outfield for varsity
contests. Iím in limbo right now as to where people are going to
play. Iím just trying to get the feel right now of what some of
these girls can do.
Can you give us an idea then of who some of those positions might
The outfield could consist of juniors Ashley Boyer, Shannon
Chrismore, and Bethany Gleason. Sophomores will fill some of the
other roster spots. Emily Wilkinson will be my catcher. Alicia
Barr will rotate with "Boss" at third and short. Jo Beth
will pitch some and be a utility player. Darcy White will probably
be in the outfield along with Lori Reinwald. First year player
Amber Wright may find herself in the outfield or could help in the
infield. Kim Koester will rotate some with Mahler at second base.
It sounds like you have a pretty good plan on how this team is
Yes, I do have an idea of where some of them can play. Right now
itís finding out whoís going to be consistent, at the plate or
in the field.
That leads me to my next question. What are the strengths and
weaknesses of this team?
Right now, I think our weakness is hitting. Today we hit off live
pitching and we have work to do in that area. Itís a big
difference from hitting off the machine. One of our strengths, Iíd
have to say, is our aggressiveness. Our underclassmen have no
fear. They are not afraid of making a mistake, so theyíre the
ones out there diving for balls or going after balls. Theyíre
just not afraid of making mistakes. I like our aggressiveness and
the positive attitude that the girls have right now.
Returning your pitcher-catcher battery has got to be a plus going
into the season.
Definitely. Hilary is the type of girl that has worked hard in the
off-season. Sheís worked on different pitches and techniques. Jo
Beth is also a good worker in the off-season and plays summer
ball, so I could see her coming back next year and really be
Like most Railer teams, you play a tough schedule. What will the
league and non-conference schedules look like this year?
The conference will be strong. Sacred Heart-Griffin and
Chatham-Glenwood will both be good--especially Sacred Heart. They
return three-year starting pitcher Trish Sanders. Thank God, sheís
a senior. Sheís an outstanding pitcher. Although, if we can
scrape together a couple of hits, they are beatable. Last year we
only got two hits against them but won the ball game.
lost a lot of seniors, but they are coming off a state tournament
trip. They also have a great pitcher who is a junior. Springfield
lost a senior pitcher, so they may struggle a little this year. I
could see us being right there--in second or third, if we could
knock off a Griffin or a Glenwood. Southeast has a returning
freshman pitcher, and they should also be pretty good. We will be
competitive with Lanphier and Taylorville. Taylorville returns
their pitcher, and theyíre solid. Jacksonville is not a flashy
team, but they are aggressive. I think we could be in the top
three this year.
Does your schedule lend itself to filling the holes that remain
and getting people in the right spots for a conference and a
Definitely. We have a tendency not to be as focused against
non-conference opponents. Sometimes I think that our girls donít
have that same mentality and aggressiveness that they do against
our league teams. Hopefully that will change this year, and that
will help us in both portions of our schedule. An exception is
Decatur Eisenhower. We battle them during the season, but it may
be because our girls know that weíll see them in the regionals.
Our focus needs to be better. We need to go out strong and get
better as the season goes along.
Who do you feel on this team will have to step up in order for you
to have a good year?
You gotta keep Peggy Bobb hitting. Last year she slugged nine home
runs. She must remain consistent at the plate. Really, Bossingham
is a key, too. Iíd really like to see some of these
underclassmen that will be playing the outfield step up. Theyíre
starting to see that playing the outfield is not an easy position.
That will be another big key for us. Teams will be hitting us
because our pitchers throw strikes, and with that weíre going to
have to play solid defense.
Coach, youíre in your fifth year as head coach. How does this
team compare with your previous ones, and do you feel like youíve
got the program in place to get it done now?
Itís tough here because we only have one junior high that has a
softball program. Lincoln is a basketball town. Iím not knocking
that--Iím a basketball coach--but itís tough to get a solid
program going with so many limitations. For summer programs, a lot
of our girls go elsewhere, and you canít always blame them for
that. They really donít enjoy playing against each other
locally, and they really canít get that competition from
elsewhere. When they come in as freshmen, it seems like we have to
start all over teaching them fundamentals, and I wish that the
other junior highs could add softball. Right now, without them, it
is hurting our program.
last few years that Iíve been here, Iíve got an idea of what I
want. The pressure in softball is not like it is in basketball. Itís
the last sport of the season and softballís never been the prime
sport. There are not a lot of expectations to win regionals. When
we advanced to the regional championship two years ago, it had
been 10 years since we had been that far. And now, weíve done
that the last couple of years. Now if we can get over that hump,
we might be able to go a little farther.
You seem to get a lot of respect at the seeding meeting. How is
Itís because of who we play and that we always play a tough
schedule. The coach at Decatur Eisenhower rates us high because he
knows weíre battlers. Last year we were mixed with five or six
other teams with similar records. After I spoke, he got up and
said to count Lincoln out and donít seed them on that lower
level, because they will really surprise you. And we did. We beat
the number two seed and ended up playing for the championship. It
went extra innings, and we lost a heartbreaker 4-3. We have a
little bit of respect from some of those schools.
What can we expect record-wise from this yearís squad?
Weíve got to be .500 (last year we finished two games under).
That may sound funny but, after losing so many senior starters,
that would be a good accomplishment. Weíve got to be consistent
and at least get to that level. Weíd like to get to the regional
championship and have another crack at Eisenhower, who is ranked
number 15 in the state in the pre-season poll. Weíd like to be
number one in the league, and I like it when the girls set that
high of a goal. They also have goals, like to eliminate errors.
Last year we had far too many, and so the girls themselves said,
weíre gonna eliminate those.
Tell us about your coaching staff.
When I came here, Ken Schweitzer was the head coach and I was his
assistant. When his son Adam got really involved in sports, he
said, Iíll make you a deal. You become the head coach and Iíll
be your assistant, so that I can go see some of my sonís games.
So thatís how we kind of flip-flopped. Timmy Schaffer has been
with me the last couple of years as our JV coach. Ken is also our
freshmen coach. Our numbers are a little low right now, so the
freshmen combine a lot with the sophomores. That is good, because
I need an extra coach in my practices because of hitting and
stuff. Schweitzer usually stays with me during practices, and when
Tim needs some extra help heís down helping her as well. We have
a good staff.
How would you describe your coaching style?
Well, Iíve learned that winning isnít everything. I mean I
really want to win. If we go out and lose 4-3, it may have been a
great game. I want the girls to learn, how did we lose. Did we
make some errors, and were there mental mistakes? If we come out
making 16 errors in a game, thatís when I get frustrated. Whatís
important to me is how we play. I think Iím a pretty easygoing
person, but I can be a disciplinarian. I know what I want and I
think they know what I want. They know what to expect outta me,
and I know what to expect outta them. I donít knowÖI think Iíve
changed in the last couple of years with some of the things I
feel. I am a competitor, and I donít like to lose. I expect the
girls to always work hard. I donít like laziness. Itís hard
when I see some kids today say, if you win, you win; if you lose,
you lose. I wasnít like that. I said, give me the ball. My
junior year at Hartsburg was the first year our volleyball team
went to state.
Well coach, good luck to you and the team this year.
Thank you. We plan on having a lot of fun. Itís the last sport
of the year and the girls are relaxed. The atmosphere is not
nearly as tense as the hoops pressures. It may be why weíve been
so successful with our softball program. We work hard and weíre
What would you tell the younger kids of our community?
Get involved with everything. Donít pin yourself down with just
one thing. Get involved with as much as you can.