It will be nice to finally call home sweet home.
The calendar is about to turn May and the Mattoon High School baseball team has played just one game at home this season. Due to renovations, the turf field is as good as new and the Green Wave will get to finally start maximizing its use. While one would like to look at the 5-8 start to the season, which includes a 3-3 mark in the Apollo Conference, another could point out that Mattoon has been a road team in 12 of those games.
“It is going to be nice to be able to play a few games in a row on our new field,” said head coach Jarod Kiger. “We are extremely proud of this new facility and certainly enjoy getting to host games. Plus, not having to get on a bus and travel for a game will be nice.”
Mattoon is about to rattle off six of their next seven games at home, which includes two doubleheaders. Mattoon’s homestead will start with a non-conference game with Teutopolis. On Friday, Mattoon plays Mount Vernon. That will set up a conference doubleheader against Taylorville on Saturday. After an away game at Champaign Centennial on Monday, Mattoon returns home for a conference doubleheader against Apollo leader Mahomet-Seymour.
Mattoon is currently fourth in the Apollo standings right now but had their biggest wins of the season with a doubleheader sweep over Mount Zion on Saturday.
“Last weekend was a nice step in a positive direction for the team,” said Kiger. “Our starting pitching was the best it has been all season. They limited Mt. Zion’s free opportunities by not issuing free passes. This was the biggest factor in our success. Even as the hits did not show up on the stat sheet, we made solid contacts, which was nice to see. The energy from our team has not wavered. Players are being positive towards each other and cheering on team successes. We have some nice challenges coming up with T-Town, Mt. Vernon, and Taylorville. It will be really nice to play host for a while. Expectations will remain consistent, that we need to get better with each opportunity and have fun.”
Playing on a brand new field and getting to relax without a bus ride is always a plus too.
“We have been practicing on our field for a few weeks now and it has been really nice,” said Kiger. “This is an opportunity for our athletes to play on a great surface that not many high schools in the area have. A couple of the biggest things I have noticed, as a coach, is the increased energy level of athletes at practice and not missing on the field opportunities due to adverse field conditions.”