Male Athlete of the Week: Jordan Donahue, Damien baseball
Jordan Donahue is well-accustomed to being the young kid of the bunch. The Damien shortstop's hot start to his freshman season proves that to be true.
Donahue turned in his best game-to-date in the Monarch's come-from-behind 12-7 win over PAC-5 at Ala Wai Field last Tuesday, when he batted 2 for 3 at the plate with a double, triple, three RBI and three runs scored.
"He had a good game that day," said Damien coach Timo Donahue, Jordan's father. "We had Jordan lead off the first two games because our leadoff man was on a trip, so when he came back we put Jordan back in the No. 2 spot. I think he's handled himself well. I was happy for him because we were putting in a lot of work. We worked all fall to get him ready for this upcoming season. So far it's paying off."
Jordan, who bats left and throws right, got on with a walk in his first plate appearance when he took ball four on a 3-2 pitch. He eventually came around to score the second run of the inning to give the Monarchs a 2-0 lead after one.
PAC-5 got a run back in the fourth inning before storming ahead with a five-spot in the fifth to lead 6-2.
However, the Monarchs wasted little time in answering. They sent 13 batters to the plate and scored 10 runs on six hits — including four extra-base hits — to take the lead for good.
Donahue scored the first run of the inning. He doubled to left center on an 0-1 pitch and scored two pitches later on Kaimana Cameron's single up the middle to pull Damien within 6-3.
After Pomai Kim singled to put two runners aboard, Jayden Cabbab belted a three-run home run to tie it up.
Donahue eventually got another at bat in the inning and drove a ball over the head of the Wolfpack centerfielder for a bases-clearing triple that stretched his team's lead to 12-6.
"He's one of a few guys we have that usually have good at bats and have plate discipline to swing at good pitches and let pitches out of the zone go," Timo said.
While Jordan has been right at home at the plate — where he sports a healthy .333 batting average and ranks second in D2 statewide in runs scored (nine) — getting comfortable at shortstop has been a work in progress.
"He pretty much takes the approach that he's the young guy on the team, but because of his position he is required to take charge — regardless of his youth," Timo said. "I'm trying to get him to be more vocal — and that will come as the years go on and he gets older and older — but he's got to take command of the infield and I think he's starting to understand that, even though he's got all older guys around him."
Jordan, whose older brother Christian, an Iolani graduate, is a starting outfield at Oregon State, has reached base safely in all four games this season.
"I think a lot of guys — because he's younger — don't expect much from him, but he's always played against older guys growing up," Timo said. "When his brother comes home they work out pretty much every day and they talk all the time and text back and forth after games, so the good part for Jordan is he gets non-stop coaching."
Timo, who managed Christian and the Waipio All-Stars to the Little League World Series crown in 2008, said he tries to separate his coach-player relationship from his father-son one.
"When we're at practice or at games he's just another player, and when we're at home we have that interaction and we walk about it, but it's not that hard to coach him and I don't think it's hard for him either because both of my kids have played for me since they started. I was always their coach," Timo said. "And he takes it well. If I get on him it's not like it's the end of the world. Basically, he probably expects more of himself than I do."
Damien (3-1) has now won three in a row to pull within a game of first-place Saint Francis (4-0).
"In the three years that I've been here this is the best team that we've had," Timo Donahue said. "The guys that were freshmen are now juniors, the sophomores are now seniors and they're starting to understand what we were trying to teach them from the beginning. They've made huge strides in their progresss as players as well. We had a good preseason where we played almost all D1 teams and I think that helps us. If think if the kids put it together it could be a special year for us."
Jordan, who celebrated his 16th birthday Tuesday, and the Monarchs will look to extend their win streak when they take on PAC-5 at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at Patsy T. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park.