WHEELING - Two weeks ago, the St. John softball team ran right through Bishop Donahue in an afternoon doubleheader as it outscored the Bishops 23-1.
In an OVAC 1A semifinal Friday at Ben's Field, everyone expected the same result.
It almost didn't happen.
Photo by TONY VIOLA
Bishop Donahue first baseman Josie Bonar (22)?takes a throw to retire St. John runner Sydney Helms during action of their OVAC?Class 1A softball semifinal Friday in Wheeling.
Cheyenne Harris drove in Sydney Helms for the game-winner in the bottom of the eighth as the No. 1-seeded Irish survived a wild rally from No. 4 Donahue to come away with a 4-3 victory.
St. John advances to its third consecutive 1A championship game against No. 3 seed Paden City.
''I take my hat off to Bishop Donahue,'' Irish coach Jerry Magistro said. ''They came to play. (Bishops coach) Curt (Mele) usually does a good job with his team. They were fired up, ready to go.''
Mele was pretty fired up himself after his Bishops (7-13) put together a three-run seventh inning to tie the game.
With one out and down 3-0, Donahue got hits from Josie Bonar, Jewel Purpura and Jen Little to load the bases before winning pitcher Hannah Absalom walked in a run.
Tess Fallova then doubled into left field to drive in Purpura and Little to tie the game.
St. John (14-1) had a chance to end it in regulation as it loaded the bases with back-to-back walks, but couldn't push across the winner.
Losing pitcher Abbey Mele hit a leadoff double in the eighth and stole third to put Donahue in an ideal situation.
Absalom, who finished with 13 Ks, retired the next two batters and Little flied out to center as Abbey Mele was left stranded.
Helms was walked to start the bottom of the frame and reached third on a hit into right field from Kate Loviski to set up Harris with the game winner.
''That's the way it goes sometimes,'' Coach Mele said. ''We had the leadoff double and we stole her over to third and I was hoping for a passed ball. I told her we were going to take the chance and send her. Things just didn't go our way. I'm proud of the girls.''
The Irish struck first in the third as Loviski scored on an error and Taylor Lowe platted Natalie Cerveli. Absalom hit a leadoff homer in the six to give St. John a 3-0 lead.
''I was concerned about the game,'' Magistro said. ''When you have a prom the day before you're always concerned about your team. A lot of people have proms, you just have to come and be ready. Maybe this will give them a little bit of a wake up call to know to come (today) and be ready to play.''
Paden City 1
PADEN CITY - Despite Katie Shreves singling home a run, Paden City (10-13) fell to Williamstown in preparations for today's OVAC Championship Game.
Abby Still provided a double, the only other Wildcats hit.
HANNIBAL - Sophomore Rosey Romick tossed a no-hitter in her first career start as River swept Valley.
Bailey Caldwell, also in her first start, one-hit the Lumberjills in Game 2.
Monica Curtis had two hits and knocked in a run in the first game for the Pilots (21-3), while Hailey Bowers tripled twice, doubled and drove in three runs in game two.
Frontier 8, Tyler Consol. 4
NEW MATAMORAS - Mitch Minder singled twice to drive in four while Drew Schneider drove in another as Frontier (6-9) beat Tyler Consolidated (7-10).
Jacob Stackpole plated a run with a single for the Silver Knights, who were limited to three hits.
University 9, Brooke 0
WELLSBURG - Mario Lombardi and Chad Harper evenly divided four singles but it was not enough as Brooke (12-7) was shut out by University.
St. Clairsville 1
RICHMOND - Clay Woodward struck out eight through six innings and also doubled twice as Edison (13-2) warmed up for its OVAC Final today with a victory against St. Clairsville.
The Wildcats' Storm Allese plated a pair with a single and Collin Scott, Collin Skeeles and Nolam Marcus drove in one each.
Lewis Mitchell had an RBI single for the Red Devils.
Valley 7, Beallsville 6
PINE GROVE - Brandon Stoneking hit three doubles and drove in three runs as Valley edged Beallsville.
Stoneking also came on in relief in the sixth to earn a victory for the Lumberjacks (3-9), while Colby Bucher homered among two hits and drove in three runs.
Garrett Brown led the Blue Devils with a home run among two hits and also drove in two runs.
Weir 9, Indian Creek 7
WEIRTON - Mitch Piakely doubled and drove in two runs as Weir beat Indian Creek.
Mike Curtis earned a victory for the Red Riders (4-9) as he retired five on strikes and Jordan Allen had two hits and drove in three runs.
Mason Gibbins led the Redskins (3-10) with a double and two RBI.