The Trojans are one of many teams looking to chase down Mahomet-Seymour in the Apollo Conference boys baseball race. The Bulldogs (7-1) are the current frontrunners. Four teams are just one or two games back, so this weekend could shake up the standings. Charleston is in second place, a game ahead of fourth-place Effingham.

Here is a preview of Saturday’s game. 

Team Records: Charleston (8-5, 3-2) vs. Effingham (10-8, 3-5)

Where: Marty Pattin Field

School Size: Charleston (796), Effingham (736)

First Pitch: 11 a.m.

Opponent’s History: Effingham is led by second-year coach Curran McNeely. In his first season, the Hearts were 11-12. Before McNeely, the team was led by Chris Fleener, who led the program for 20 years and won 421 games. 

Effingham’s Past Results: Effingham has been spotty all season but owns some very quality wins. That includes a 1-0 win over Mount Zion before losing 12-9 in the second game. Effingham lost 7-4 to Teutopolis and then played Mahomet-Seymour to a 5-3 loss in extra innings (8)  before losing 9-0 in the second game. Two weeks ago, Effingham held Mattoon scoreless with a combined 18-0 output in two games. Last weekend, Effingham lost to Lincoln in back-to-back games 2-1 and 4-1. 

Effingham’s Top Players: Effingham lost two All-Apollo players in Jackson Lee and Dylan Cunningham, but brought back all-conference junior Josh McDevitt. Effingham’s top itcher is Brayden Pals, who struck out 14 Green Wave batters two weeks ago. 

Effingham’s Team Stats:  No stats are available. 

Charleston’s Past Results: Charleston hasn’t played an Apollo Conference game since their split with Mahomet-Seymour, which included a 16-15 thriller. After that, Charleston lost three straight games to Teutopolis, St. Anthony, and North Clay. But the Trojans bounced back with two wins in a row, including a dramatic victory over Altamont on Wednesday night in which Logan Beals ripped a game-winning homer.

Charleston’s Team Stats: Collin Patterson lead the team in average (.469 average) and hits (15), while Kendall Pankey has scored a team-best 13 runs. William Applegate hit his fourth homer against Neoga, best on the team, and he has a team-leading 16 RBIs. Connor Woodley, who leads the team with 19.2 innings pitched, has struck out 28 batters, walked 11 and has a 1-2 record. Pankey has struck out 18 in 10.2 innings pitched. CHS is hitting .300 as a team, and allows opponents a .281 average.

What Charleston Said: “Effingham is going to be bringing in two quality pitchers this weekend,” said head coach Daniel Bennett. “It’s always a tough matchup regardless of going against them.  As a team, we just have to control what we can control and take good approaches at the plate, and put the ball in play.   We had a tough week last week going up against 3 quality opponents.  I am not worried about our team, they are continuing to work hard and we just haven’t been able to find consistency with playing games so this is a big week for us and will hopefully get us back on track.  We have a great group of kids and they are going to continue to compete so I’m excited to see how they can finish the conference season.”