St. John fight off Shadyside in softball

BELLAIRE – St. John Central’s Hannah Absalom didn’t have her best stuff Monday afternoon at chilly and soggy Amanda’s Field.

However, the Lady Irish’s senior ace was still really good and especially tough when she had to be against Shadyside.

The Lady Irish were able to scratch across two cherished runs in the fifth and fought off a late Shadyside rally to post a 2-1 victory.

“(Before today) Hannah has only pitched eight innings the entire season,” Lady Irish head coach Jerry Magistro said. “One game went five innings and one went three, so with this weather, knowing who’ve played thus far, I was concerned coming in here today.”

Absalom, who threw a perfect game against Valley on Saturday, had only three innings in as she sat Shadyside down in order. The Lady Tigers got to her for six hits and she plunked a batter as well as had a runner reach on an error.

“We hit the ball pretty well, but we just couldn’t get a big hit,” said Shadyside head coach Jillian Ongley, who missed the first four innings after arriving late because of a medical issue. “It’s the same thing that happened to us at River, but I think we’ve improved since the River game.”

The two Lady Irish runs were unearned in fourth. Amber LaMotte led off with a well placed bunt that looped off the charging third baseman’s head.

After Lady Tigers’ ace Megan Heagney, who was tough in her own right, recorded the next two outs without much difficulty, it appeared as if Shadyside was going to keep the game scoreless.

Junior Caitlin Sliva reached an on error and as the ball bounced away, LaMotte raced for third. Sydney Helms then drew a walk, which loaded the bases for freshman Taylor Lowe.

She ripped a single into right cetner, plating LaMotte and Sliva.

“I told the girls that if you can get the bat on the ball, your chances of winning are much greater,” Magistro said. “We had some young kids come through for us. I was happy with how they played because they still need to get some game experience in them.”

The Lady Tigers bounced right back in the fifth, however.

Bethanie Ramsay led off with a single. After Absalom got two out, Shelby Benedetta singled, setting the tables for catcher Lindsey Dunn. She promptly drove her third hit into left, allowing Ramsay to race home.

Absalom proceeded to catch the next Lady Tiger hitter looking to avoid further damage.

Shadyside had two on and one out in the sixth as well, but Absalom beared down and got a strikeout and a routine grounder to second.

Absalom finished with 10 strikeouts.

“I am happy with how she’s throwing for this early in the season because I know she’s going to get better,” Magistro said. “To get out of here with a win, I am happy because Shadyside’s a good team with a lot of talent.

Heagney, who suffered the tough-luck mound loss, fanned seven and walked just two.

Linescore:

Shadyside 000 010 0 – 1 6 1

St. John 000 200 x – 2 2 1

S: Heagney lp (7K, 2BB) and Dunn. Dunn 3S, 1RBI.

SJC: Absalom wp (10K, 0BB) and DeLuca. Lowe S, 2 RBI.