The undefeated Gloucester High School varsity softball team added three more wins to its record in recent action to improve to 16-0. The Gloucester girls appear poised to make their second consecutive run to the Group 5A state tournament.
On a warm afternoon with many former players in attendance, the Dukes downed the visiting Hickory Hawks, 3-1, Tuesday in a key PenSouth Conference match-up. Morgan Haywood scattered four hits and gave up one run while striking out three in the win.
Gloucester took an early lead in the first as Macy Robbins walked with one out and advanced to second on a single from Kaleigh Arnett. Robbins then raced home as the Hawks were unable to turn a double play on Haywood’s ground-out hit to the second baseman.
The Dukes stretched the lead to 3-0 when Alyssa Shackleford hit a two-out single up the middle to score Robbins and Arnett, who had earlier singled and reached on an error, respectively.
Haywood ran into trouble in the sixth when Hickory put together back-to-back singles and a Gloucester error to put runners on second and third with no outs. Haywood gave up a run on a bunt for the first out of the inning before inducing back-to-back pop-ups to Nealcyn Watkins and Shackleford to end the threat.
Haywood pitched a gem of a game as the sophomore left hander did not allow a runner in scoring position except in the sixth. She gave up a lead-off single in the seventh but drew pop-ups to Watkins at third and Shackleford at short stop to hold on to the win.
The Dukes played flat and sluggish but woke up late in the game to defeat the host Indian River Braves, 5-3, in 10 innings on Friday. Haywood delivered the big blow with a two-run home run in the 10th.