WHEELING - Perhaps the best thing that happened for Bishop Donahue in the fourth inning was that Hannah Absalom didn't get another chance to bat.
She had done enough damage the way it was, on a pitch she wasn't supposed to get.
Having already seen the senior stake the Irish to a 3-1, with a mammoth home run over the left-field wall, and some dirt piles behind the fence, Bishop Donahue coach Curt Mele wanted to walk the St. John standout.
"We were already behind (in the count) 3-0 and we planned on walking her before it was 1-0," Mele said. "We wanted to go high and outside on that pitch but the pitch wasn't outside enough. She is not only an outstanding pitcher, but she is also an outstanding hitter, which we found out in the second. She's just a great player."
She did what a great player does when given a chance to drive a pitch too close to the strike zone.
Absalom deposited the pitch into the gap for a double that scored two runs and started a six-run fourth in a 10-1 victory against the Bishops on Wednesday at the I-470 fields.
She also pitched four innings of relief in the second game, a 13-0 St. John's victory.
"She's one of our studs," St. John acting coach Neal Johnson said of the Irish's senior star, who improved to 7-0 with the Game 1 victory. "Whatever we ask her to do, she's going to do it. We've come to expect her to have games like this. She's definitely one of the best around. We figure if we can scrape together some runs, she is going to keep us in games with her pitching. She did it with the bat as well."
Absalom finished the day with four RBI, and in the circle limited the Bishops to two hits with 10 strikeouts and one walk.
The way Absalom was pitching against the young Bishops, who were down to the requisite nine players needed because one player is out of the country for spring break, she didn't need any more than the two runs she provided with the moon shot to left field.
That blast gave the Irish a 3-0 lead.
Around the lone run she surrendered in the third, thanks to a two-out single by No. 9 hitter Taylor Koontz followed by a double by Tess Fallova, Absalom was spot on.
She struck out two batters every inning, five of them looking, to keep the Bishops at bay.
Meanwhile, errors plagued the young Donahue squad, which has one senior and three juniors.
Starter Abby Mele actually pitched well, and got herself out of several jams.
St. John ended up stranding 11 base runners, many of whom reached on either errors or infield singles.
"In the innings where we gave up runs, we gave them four, five, six outs an inning and you can't do that against a good team," Mele said. "They are a really good-hitting team but I feel like some of those plays are plays that we should have made. The girls battled though, and that is all you can ask for. Yes, we have a young team. Like everybody else, we have had a hard time getting outside (because of weather). We'll be fine."