BELLAIRE - Hannah Absalom was just being herself again Tuesday.
The St. John Central senior struck out 21 batters and slugged a solo home run with one out in the bottom of the ninth to lift the still-undefeated Irish (11-0) to a 1-0 victory against a game Barnesville squad on Amanda's Field.
"I knew it was gone when it left the bat," Absalom said of her third homer this season. "Just the sound of it. I didn't care where I hit it. I just wanted to hit, but you could tell from the sound."
The walk-off blast spoiled a fine outing by Barnesville sophomore Sydney Ralston and her teammates. Ralston limited the hard-hitting Irish to four singles prior to Absalom's game-winner.
"I'm going to tell you what," veteran St. John coach Jerry Magistro said. "You saw the (defensive) plays they made. They made play after play after play after play.
"I take my hat off to Barnesville. They just made the plays and kept it a game."
First-year Barnesville coach Bryce Allen echoed Magistro's thoughts.
"That was one of our finer games defensively that we've played all year," Allen said. "It's kind of the way we played at Bellaire when we took a hard one (loss) over there.
"I've got to give all the credit to Sydney. She pitched one heckuva game."
The Irish, playing just their second home game, threatened in their first at-bat, but Amber LaMotte was cut down at the plate on a nice throw from shortstop Avery Hanlon.
SJC also had runners in scoring position in the second, third and fifth innings, but Ralston worked her way out of those jams.
Meanwhile, Absalom was cruising along to a career-high strikeout total. She allowed a one-out double to Halie Gibbons in the second and a two-bagger with two outs to Shasta Roberts in the fifth. The other hit was a bloop single to shallow left by Blair Thompson in the sixth, with two down.
Absalom struck out each of the 10 Shamrocks that strode to the plate at least once. She fanned the side in the first, second, fifth, sixth and eighth.
"All of my pitches seemed to be working," Absalom said. "I would've went back out to the mound in the 10th if I would've had to."
She made sure she didn't have to with her bat.