Technically, the three-peat has already happened.
The Charleston High School softball team won the Apollo Conference in 2019 and missed out on defending their title in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic wiped away spring sports. The Trojans are currently riding a three-peat conference championship streak right now, so a “three-peat” after winning in 2021 and 2022 would sound even nicer with four straight titles.
Given that the Trojans did not lose any seniors from last year’s 25-9 team that won the Apollo with a 10-2 record, expectations will be extremely high for a team filled with college talent.
First-Team All-Apollo pitcher Karah Moore is headed to play for Lake Land College after going 13-6 with a 1.79 earned run average with 114 strikeouts in 117.1 innings pitched with a .209 opposing batting average. Moore also hit .505 with 55 hits, 12 doubles, 11 home runs, and 39 runs batted in all tops on the team.
First-Team All-Apollo members Kailyn Wilson and junior Addison Shrader also return. Wilson signed to play at Parkland College after a season when she threw 59.1 innings with 47 strikeouts, a 4.01 earned run average, and a 9-1 record. Wilson batted .431 with 31 runs batted in and 12 doubles.
Shrader hit .439 batting with 54 hits, 31 runs batted in, 10 doubles, and a team-leading seven triples and 20 stolen bases. Shrader also pitched 22.1 innings to a 0.63 earned run average with 22 strikeouts.
“Karah will be great again,” said Charleston coach Blain Mayhall. “We look for her and Kailyn to carry us in the circle. Addison will get some innings as well. They need to step up and have the same type of season or better. Erin Blair and Clara Cox will also look to step up as senior leaders as well. If the seniors can lead each other and the rest of the team, we will be in good shape. If we don’t have a team-first mindset, things may not always go the way we want.”
Senior Erin Blair also signed with Lake Land College after hitting .202 with 20 hits, 25 runs batted in, six doubles, and seven home runs. Blair is the team’s starting catcher but could also see time in the outfield.
Senior Clara Cox, who hit .284 with 27 hits with 20 runs batted in, and junior Olivia Schuette, who hit .304 with 28 hits and 12 runs batted in, will also patrol the outfield. Junior Kailee Gough and sophomores Ryle Shrader and Brie Tomlinson should get playing time as well.
The infield will feature a move of Schrader to first base while Second-Team All-Apollo senior Maci Mayhall continues to hold down second base. Mayhall led the team in assists last season while batting .462 on the season. Sophomore Blair Ritchey will make the move from third to shortstop after hitting .302 as a freshman last season. Freshman Avery Beals will step up and take time at third base with Moore spending time there as well when she is not pitching while junior Morgan Dickey will see time as well.
With the depth chart deep, Mayhall is hopeful the team can get back to making a deep state-run. Last year, the team was upset in the Regional Championship by Mount Vernon 3-2 in nine innings. Given that the whole team is back, the sky’s the limit.
“I hope the girls remember the end of last year’s season and let that drive them to improve on last season,” said Mayhall. “They have all the tools to compete at a high level and play deep into the postseason if they focus on a team-first mindset.”
2023 Varsity Roster
2022 Apollo Standings