The Green Wave lost a lot from last season – three First-Team All-Apollo selections, a Division I player, and their head coach. Former assistant coach Jennifer Saucier will guide a younger and less inexperienced group that saw last year’s team place second in the Apollo Conference.
Here is a preview of the upcoming team.
TEAM RECORD 2021: 11-7 (6-1)
2021 REVIEW: Mattoon stood at the top of the Apollo Conference standings for nearly the whole season. It wasn’t until a loss to Charleston that the Green Wave fell to second place. Mattoon reached the IHSA Regional Championship, but they lost to the Trojans there, as well.
Four Green Wave players were named All-Apollo, including three seniors. The Green Wave lost starting pitcher Raven Morrison, a First-Team selection. Morrison entered the Regional Championship with an 8-1 record, 1.37 earned run average, two near no-hitters, and 73 strikeouts against seven walks. The team also lost First-Team All-Apollo selections in Delainey Bryant and Xylia Greeson. Bryant is playing softball at Illinois State University while Greeson is playing volleyball at Lake Land College. Tinley Risinger and Hannah Hopper also graduated last year.
Head coach Hannah Dow stepped down at the end of the season and was replaced by former assistant coach Jennifer Saucier.
KEY PLAYERS: Mattoon returns one All-Apollo selection in Ivie Edwards, who was a second-teamer last season. The Green Wave are going to rely on several veteran players, such as Cadance McDaniel, Emma, Longcor, Abby Mathias, and Edwards, who are all seniors. All four players have played on the team for four years, while Alexis Denning rounds out the senior group.
“We do have a lot of girls who have been in the program the past four years and are ready to step in as leaders this season,” said Saucier. “Cadance McDaniel, Emma Longcor, Abby Mathias, and Ivie Edwards are all seniors who have been with the softball program through high school and have put in a ton of work. I’ve coached them since middle school, and I’m excited to see what they can do this season.”
BIGGEST CHALLENGES: Finding a replacement for Morrison will be tough. Morrison dominated the mound, holding opposing teams to one run or less eight times. The lineup will also need to replace the power displayed by Greeson, who belted five home runs, and Bryant, who led the team in hits with 31.
Mattoon returns two very strong hitters in Edwards and Longcor. Edwards finished with 22 hits and had the second-most RBIs on the team with 16, along with a .393 batting average. Longcor had 19 hits and batted .339.
In the pitching circle, Edwards is the team’s lone returner. She pitched 24.2 innings and owned a 6.43 earned run average and a 0-4 record. The team’s second-best pitcher from last season was Elizabeth Enlow, who finished with a 2-1 record and a 5.36 ERA in 31.1 innings pitched.
“My main goal for this season is to just play as a team and have fun,” said Saucier. “It’s a great group of girls who just love playing ball and the wins will come if they are all working as a team.”
KEY GAMES: Mattoon plays its first home game on March 31 against Mount Vernon. Then, the team opens up Apollo Conference play against Charleston on April 2. Mattoon will bring back the highly coveted Mattoon Softball Invitational on Friday, April 15.
• Click here for the entire spring sports schedule, which can also be found on the upper-right column of the website.
Seniors: Alexis Denning, Ivie Edwards, Emma Longcor, Abby Mathias, Cadance McDaniel
Juniors: Sophie Artis, Abbie Morgan, Roma Warrington, Elizabeth Enlow.
Sophomores: Kamryn Conlin, Camryn Lee, Hallee Perry
Freshmen: Hanna Griffin, Lexi Murdock, Aylexis Otto, Aubrie Phillips, Isabel Phillips, Sydney Starwalt