Hand it to the Bulldogs for flying under the radar. At the beginning of the year, Mahomet-Seymour was not talked about in the conference rankings. Here we are in the middle of the season and the team is undefeated in regular and conference play. Can Mahomet challenge Charleston, the Apollo favorite, on Saturday? 

Here is a preview of the game. 

Team Records: Charleston (8-1, 4-0) vs. Mahomet-Seymour (6-0, 2-0)

Where: Karen Karch Field

School Size: Charleston (796), Mahomet-Seymour (943)

Varsity Tip-Off: 11 a.m.

Opponent’s History: Mahomet finished 16-8 last year and 5-2 in the Apollo. The team is led by James Heinold with his experience unknown given the lack of IHSA results. The last Regional Championship from the team came in 2018. 

Mahomet-Seymour’s Past Results: The undefeated start to the season includes a 4-3 win over Tolono Unity to start the year. After that, the team defeated Prairie Central 3-0 and Olympia 3-1. The team then routed Heritage, 26-0. The bats continued into the Apollo season with 10-0 and 11-6 wins over Effingham. 

“We are off to a pretty good start,” said Heinold. “Solid pitching, defense and situational hitting have helped us win a lot of games. We have had a good mixture of competition that has allowed all varsity players to see playing time. I know our conference games are going to be tough. The Apollo conference is very strong in softball.”

Mahomet-Seymour’s Top Players: Mahomet-Seymour brings back All-Apollo senior Karley Yergler, the team’s ace with a 0.33 earned run average, 52 strikeouts and a 2-0 record in 21 innings pitched. She is batting .357. Abbey Akers leads the team in hitting with a .600 average and two home runs. Akers is tied with Maddie Cortez with five runs batted in. 

“I have a great group of returning players from last year, ” said Heinold. “My seniors have stepped up and filled some big holes left by graduating seniors. My seniors (Karley Yergler, Jadyn Hannah, Abby Akers, Chloe Truax, Jessica Hawk, Jami Marriott) have taken on a strong leadership role and done a great job so far. They have all been positive contributors and play their roles well. The Juniors (Sydney Ward, Brooke Howard, Jenna Wade, Kayla McKinney, and Kenadi Granadino) have stepped up, filled holes, and made their presence known on the field. My only sophomore (Maddie Cortez) on Varsity has brought a strong defense and a solid bat to the lineup.”

Mahomet-Seymour’s Team Stats: The Bulldogs bat .295. The pitching staff owns a 1.62 earned run average. 

Charleston’s Past Results: It’s been a successful week for Charleston. On Monday, the team defeated Champaign Central 13-3. Then on Tuesday, the team won a pair of Apollo Conference games – 13-3 and 3-0 over Lincoln. 

Charleston’s Team Stats: Freshman Blair Ritchey continues to hit the ball well, leading the team with a .478 average, while Karah Moore is also hitting well at the plate at .433. Moore leads the team with 13 hits and is second on the team with four doubles to Ritchey’s five. Addison Shrader reached double-digit RBIs as she leads the team with 10. On the mound, Moore is 7-1 with a 0.34 earned run average, 44 strikeouts, and a .153 batting average allowed. 

What Mahomet-Seymour Said: “Charleston has a great feeder program and are extremely well-coached,” said Heinold. “They play the game hard and with intensity. Also, they have a lot of buy-in with the program. They are tough every year and we look forward to playing them this year. I expect this year’s team to be just as tough of a team as always. They are a well-rounded team and seem to have very few holes in their line-up.”

What Charleston Said: “I know they still have a senior pitcher who is darn good,” said Blain Mayhall. “They are always a quality softball team that puts the bat on the ball.  We will have to play well in all aspects of the game to give ourselves a chance to win.  Our girls continue to compete.  We still need to make sure we focus for seven innings or in this case 14, knowing our count up to the plate and hitting the pitcher’s mistakes will help us up at the plate.