OTTUMWA — More than once this summer, Paige Schreiner has caught herself with her hands on her hips twisting around in the coach’s box at first base during the course a game.
Schreiner, who is in the midst of her first year as an assistant coach for the Cardinal softball team, is experiencing her first year coaching the game she has played at an all-state level. In fact, Schreiner’s softball coaching career has begun even while the former Ottumwa Bulldog is preparing to play collegiately next year at Central College.
Even a few weeks into her coaching career, Schreiner has already caught herself more than once doing the same things in the first base box that she’s seen her legendary high school coach do down at third base.
“Every once and while I’ll feel myself putting my hands behind my back just like (Ottumwa head softball coach) Frank (Huston) does,” Schreiner, who became a great all-state infielder for Huston at Ottumwa, said with a huge smile on her face. “I have to stop myself and say something like ‘Paige. You can’t do that.’”
Already Schreiner is talking like someone that might have the same kind of long career coaching softball that Huston has had. Almost a month into her coaching career, Schreiner is absolutely hooked with the joy of teaching young players the game of softball.
“I love it. I don’t like it better than playing, but it’s pretty close,” Schreiner said. “I love when I teach them something and they’re successful at it.”
Schreiner gets to share that joy with the head coach of Comets, who like Schreiner is not too far removed from the days of playing great softball in southeast Iowa. Hilarie Droz, a big part of Cardinal’s 2003 and 2004 state championship teams, is in the midst of her first year as the head coach of the Comets.