With one of his best pitching staffs in recent years, Blain Mayhall is hopeful that the Charleston Middle School softball team can make another run to the state tournament.

The Trojans, at 18-3, will participate in the IESA Class 3A Charleston Sectional this weekend after claiming the Class 3A Regional Championship last week. The No. 1 seed Trojans received a first-round bye and then pummeled Effingham Junior High 8-1 in the semifinals. Then, Charleston claimed the Regional with a 3-1 win over Tolono Unity.

Charleston will play Mount Zion Junior High in the Sectional Championship with the winner advancing to the state tournament and Elite 8. Mount Zion won its Regional with a 7-1 victory over Rochester.

“This is a very talented team who haven’t yet reached their potential,” said Mayhall. “They have played some great softball. Only 3-4 innings have not been up to their ability, which has resulted in the three losses.”

Leading the team offensively is Ava Goble, who has 30 runs batted in, 30 runs scored and a .468 batting average. Avery Beals leads the team in hitting with a .600 batting average and a team-leading 42 runs. Aubrey Hunter has ripped three home runs, including a first-ever over fence home run. The trio leads an offense that is averaging 9.7 runs per game this season.

In the pitching circle, Goble, Raylin Cox, and Ella Price pose a triple threat. Goble leads the way with a 0.78 earned run average. Goble has posted a 7-2 record in 53.2 innings with 42 strikeouts and 14 walks. Cox is second on the team with a 7-0 record in 47.1 innings, with 39 strikeouts, and 18 walks.

Charleston won the outright Apollo Conference.

“We did a great job versus conference teams to win the outright title,” said Mayhall. “Our pitching staff has been wonderful. Ava Goble, Raylin Cox, and Ella Price have all three been great and have all had big moments for the team.”

Charleston Sectional Notes

Where: Charleston Middle School

Time: 11 a.m.

When: Saturday