Photo: Andrew McMurtrie Parkview junior Amanda Chambers is one of the Panthers' top two-way threats as a hitter and a stand-out pitcher.
LILBURN -- Throughout her softball career at Parkview High School, Amanda Chambers has been kind of quiet, preferring to let her bat and her arm do her talking for her.
The junior two-way standout's skills have spoken out loud and clear for her, especially after earning second-team All-County honors from the Daily Post in the Panthers' 21-11 campaign last year that saw them advance to the second round of the state playoffs.
But this season, Parkview coach Joey Farah has set for a challenge to Chambers to become more of a vocal leader.
"In years past, we've had a lot of seniors on our team," Farah said of his team, which has no seniors on it this season. "(Chambers) knows that if we're going to be successful this year, she, along with a couple other juniors, really has to step up and lead this team.
"There's always been a lot (more) older kids, and she's always sort of been in the background. This year, the focus has been more about being there for the team."
So far, Chambers has responded to Farah's challenge.
A rough outing in Tuesday's home loss to Brookwood notwithstanding, she has been leading by example both at the plate, where she is hitting .421 with a home run and six RBIs in 19 at bats, and in the circle, where she is 5-2 with a 1.62 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 39 innings.
In addition, she has taken a much more vocal role with regard to team leadership, and she admits, it is a pretty big adjustment.
In addition to the fact that being more vocal wasn't necessarily in her nature, she also points out that there is a fine line between being a vocal leader and just being bossy.
"It took a while because I don't want my teammates to feel like I'm barking at them," Chambers said. "There's a way of doing it. I'm not that type of person (but) I've tried to be a better role model and do everything correctly. I've tried to talk to my teammates. I'm more vocal than last year."
If Chambers had any concerns about whether she could handle such a role, Farah says she needn't have.
"All the girls on the team look up to (Chambers)," Farah said. "They respect her. She's really responded to that.
"She's starting to come out of her shell. She's a little bit more talkative. She's there picking up her teammates."
Her voice is still kind of soft, even though she's using it a lot more this season.
But even though she speaks softly, the big stick she carries still resounds with plenty of volume this season.
In fact, Farah believes it has perhaps gotten even louder this season as Chambers has already belted a homer -- matching her combined total from her freshman and sophomore seasons -- and has added five doubles -- more than a quarter of her previous career total.
"This year, we've seen a lot more power," Farah said. "She's really driving the ball."
But it has been in the pitcher's circle where Chambers has been most dominant as she already has 27 wins and 318 career strikeouts in 245 innings over the past two-plus seasons.
And she admits it's tougher to be more vocal when she's pitching than when she's just concentrating on her offense.
"When I'm pitching, I'm in my own little world," Chambers said. "I cheer more for my team and I try to pump them up more when I'm just hitting. When I'm pitching, I'm more quiet."
But Farah has still noticed a difference in the area that counts. He sees Chambers as someone who sets a good team-first example to her teammates.
"One of the things I've noticed this year is that if a teammate is struggling, she's willing to come and work with them after practice on several occasions," Farah said. "She's up in the (batting) cage. She's the last one to leave the cage.
"It's great to see somebody who loves her team and is willing to do anything for them. This year, the focus has really been about being there for the team."