ELM?GROVE - No joke about it on April Fool's Day.
St. John Central's Morgan DeLuca made her long-awaited initial appearance on the softball field for Jerry Magistro's Irish on Monday.
It didn't take the much-heralded performer long to show what she can do as she led the Green-and-Gray to a convincing doubleheader sweep of visiting Valley on Lisa's Field at the J.B. Chambers I-470 Complex by scores of 14-1 and 28-1.
ST. JOHN’S Morgan DeLuca drives a pitch during Monday’s opening game of a twinbill against Valley at the Chambers I-470 Complex in Elm Grove. It was DeLuca’s first game of her high school career after missing all of last season with a knee injury.
"It has been 1 year, 5 months and 23 days since I've been on a softball field," said the sophomore, who has already battled through two knee injuries during her brief career. "I've been looking forward to softball for a long time."
In the opener, which lasted just a little over an hour and was called after 2 innings because of the 10-run mercy rule after three frames in West Virginia, the hard-hitting Irish catcher collected a two-run double in an 11-run first inning. She then added a two-run triple in the second inning. In between, she drew a walk and ended up scoring all three times.
"I felt great out there," she added. "We've got a great team that is pretty structured. We have a lot of potential."
Caitlin Sliva, a transfer from Union Local, singled twice to drive in a trio of runs for debuting St. John. Kaydie Coppa singled twice and knocked in a run, while Sydney Helms rapped two singles that produced a pair of runs. Kyleigh Falcone smashed a run-scoring double.
Junior sensation Hanna Absalom, who has had better days, hurled her fifth no-hitter in two seasons as she checked the Lumberjills (1-5) bats. She did, however, issue three walks. She fanned four batters in the top of the third, one reaching on an error and eventually scoring on a second miscue.
"I'm proud of the way the girls played," noted Magistro, who picked up career win No. 248 with the twinbill rout. "We're still a very young team and it's tough when you play teams like this early on because you want to get everyone in and get them some game experience."
In the nightcap, the Irish, who served as the visiting team, tallied two dozen markers in the top of the first inning alone.
Seniors Coppa and Kristen Russell accounted for five hits and eight RBI as Coppa doubled twice and tripled to plate four teammates. Russell added two singles and four ribbies.
Amber LaMotte drove in three runs with a single and double. Sliva had two RBI and a double, while Absalom knocked in a pair of runs with a double and triple.
Absalom was once again dominant inside the circle as she fanned two in an inning of work. Falcone and Sliva each worked an inning.
DeLuca, who was playing with an injured finger, aggravated the injury in the first game and didn't play in the second.
St. John Central hosts Magnolia Wednesday on Amanda's Field in Bellaire. The first pitch is set for 5 p.m.
St. John Central 14, Valley 1
Valley 001 - 1 0 4
St. John Central (11)3x - 14 8 1
Batteries: Harris, Bucher (1) and An. Sharpe. Absalom and DeLuca
St. John Central 28, Valley 1
St. John Central (24)04 - 28 15 3
Valley 1 00 - 1 0 8
Batteries: Absalom, Falcone (2), Sliva (3) and Harris. Bucher, Harris (1), Cunningham (3), and An. Sharpe
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