BELLAIRE - A good pitcher in softball can really cover up any kind of deficiencies a team might have.
St. John has an elite pitcher and very few - if any - deficiencies, so it's easy to see why the Irish are rolling along and still unblemished.
St. John posted two more convincing victories at chilly Amanda's Field on Saturday afternoon, posting 6-0 and 5-2 victories against Bishop Donahue.
Irish junior flame thrower Hannah Absalom was up to her same old tricks in the circle. She simply dominated the Bishops' to the tune of 18 strikeouts. She fanned the side in four of the seven innings.
"Anymore, there are so many strikeouts, our scorekeeper has to tell me because I lose track," Irish coach Jerry Magistro said. "Hannah deserves everything she gets. She's a great kid, hard worker and extremely coachable."
The only blemishes she allowed were a looping single that landed on the chalk line in right field and a hard shot down the third base line. She did issue one walk in the seventh inning.
However, just one Bishops runner moved up any further than first base.
"She's by far the best pitcher we've faced or will face this season," Donahue coach Curt Mele said. "She did a good job of shutting us down."
After Absalom did her thing to fan in the side in the top of the first, the hard-hitting Irish offense went to work in the home half.
Senior standout Kaydie Coppa led off the game in style for the Irish. She drove an Andrea Guzek offering well over the left-centerfield fence.
The rally was just beginning for the Irish. Absalom drew a walk and Morgan DeLuca followed by reaching on a fielder's choice without an out being recorded.
Guzek fought back to record a strikeout, but first baseman Sydney Helms roped a double into the left-center gap, plating both Absalom and DeLuca. Senior shortstop Kristen Russell then delivered a single. Helms raced home with the fourth run on a well-executed squeeze play by Amber LaMotte.
"You always feel comfortable when you get four and you have Hannah (in the circle)," Magistro said. "We hit the ball pretty well today."
Staked to the four-run lead, Absalom proceeded to sit down the first 13 in order before Selena Ghaphrey broke up the perfecto and no-hitter with one looping liner in the fifth.
"I didn't want to see our kids get content with the four-run lead," Magistro said. "I thought we played well in every phase of the game. We pitched well, hit the ball well, ran the bases and played defense well."
St. John pushed across insurance runs in the fourth and sixth innings. LaMotte reached on a walk and eventually scored all the way from first on a sacrifice, heads-up base running and a throwing error.
Coppa, who was a triple shy of the cycle, drove in LaMotte with the final run of the game on a base hit.
"Small ball got us some runs," Magistro said. "We left girls in scoring position in three innings, so we need to improve on that. Bishop Donahue is a quality team, so this was a nice win for us."
Guzek suffered the loss in the circle. After the first inning, she really settled down. She fanned nine and walked only two.
"For some reason, I think there might have been some nerves in that first inning," Mele said. "We made some mistakes in the field and when you're playing St. John, you can't make those types of mistakes."
Donahue's other base hit was produced by lead-off hitter Tess Fallova with two outs in the sixth.