It’s been four years since Frozen 2 came out but the song “Into the Unknown,” likely a popular song in homes with child under the age of 5. 

Even for high school softball coaches, that song is resonating more than ever. 

A clean slate is what head coach Jennifer Saucier is dealing with right now.

All three All-Apollo selections have graduated from last year, as did many other contributors from the team’s 13-14 squad from 2022. 

Despite the unfamiliarity, Saucier is impressed with what she has seen so far. 

“Honestly, I’ve been really impressed with the hard work the whole team has given so far this year with practice and dedication,” said Saucier. “Any given player can help us at any moment.”

Headlining the team will be Lake Land signee Liz Enlow. The senior pitcher was the second-most used pitcher last season behind First-Team All-Apollo selection Ivie Edwards. Enlow threw 63 innings and finished with a 6-3 overall record in 14 appearances with 30 strikeouts and 16 walks. Enlow is also the top returning hitter after posting a .319 last season with 30 hits, 23 runs scored, 19 runs batted in and two home runs. 

“Liz is an all around player and leader on the team,” said Saucier. “I’ve coached her since middle school and it’s been awesome to see how far she has come through the years. She puts in the extra time it takes to be at the next level and it shows. Liz will be helping us on the mound, in the outfield, and with her bat. She’s an all around athlete with a lot of skills to help the team with whatever we need.”

Sophie Artis, who is headed to play for the University of Health Sciences & Pharmacy in St. Louis, is the only other senior on the team. In 21 games, Artis hit .297 with 19 hits, including seven doubles. Artis drove in 14 runs and scored 15. 

“Liz and Sophie are seniors this year and have huge bats and leaders on this team,” said Saucier. “They both have stellar gloves in the field too that can back up whoever is pitching during the game.”

The Green Wave lost the bats of Emma Loncor (Second Team All-Apollo) and Cadence McDaniel in the lineup. Langcor led the team in runs batted in last season with 24, while McDaniel led the team in hits with 28. Abbie Morgan was a Second-Team All-Apollo pick last season after hitting .490 with 24 hits, 23 runs batted in, and a team-high five home runs; however, Morgan decided to graduate early and will not play this season. 

Stepping into new roles will be juniors Kam Conlin, Cam Lee, and Hallee Perry. All three saw time at the varsity level. Conlin hit .244 with 19 hits and nine runs batted in, while Lee hit .268 with 22 hits and 15 runs batted in in 26 games. 

“Kam Conlin, Cam Lee, and Hallee Perry are going to be huge for us both defensively and at the plate as well,” said Saucier. “Our underclassmen are also workhorses and I can’t wait to see how they help us out this year as well.”

Saucier said that the infield and outfield are still in the works given that it is early in the season and that the team is still trying to figure themselves out.

“I honestly have a clean slate right now and am still deciding who might play where,” said Saucier. “I also anticipate the lineup constantly changing depending on who we need in the field and where during any given day. We have a lot of versatile players who could play both infield and outfield. This is something I’ve told the girls and I’m looking for 9-10 girls who are going to give me everything they have in a game. That’s who will be in the lineup. The entire team seniors through freshmen have the potential to see the field. That honestly excites me and I am looking forward to seeing what we can achieve together as a team.”

Last year, Mattoon finished fifth in the Apollo Conference with a 5-7 record. When it comes to the standings, Saucier is not worried about that right now. As long as the team can compete with everyone, everything else will fall into place. 

“My goals are to play together and compete with everyone,” said Saucier. “We are a young team, but I am so confident and optimistic that that isn’t going to matter. People shouldn’t count us out. The girls get along so well and have fun with each other. In my opinion, playing as a team and having good chemistry is the key to winning and playing well. These girls are so determined, and that’s all I can ask for. I’m excited to start playing.” 

2022 Apollo Standings

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