In the Gloucester softball team's recent win streak, the team has found success with pitching, defense and small ball at the plate.
On Wednesday against Bishop Fenwick at Burnham's Field, the Fishermen were once again strong in all of those facets of the game, leading to a 6-0 victory, their seventh in a row.
"We did what we do today," said Gloucester head coach John Nicastro, whose team improves to 16-3 on the season with one regular season game to go Thursday at Lynn Classical (3:30 p.m.). "We went to the small ball and we were aggressive. I thought we hit the ball a little better than we have been lately."
Gloucester took the lead for good in a second inning that featured a heavy dose of bunts and good baserunning. A fielding error and a fielder's choice put the first two runners on, and the next four laid down bunts, which led to a pair of runs.
Maddie Machado's squeeze bunt scored pinch runner Rachel Rallo from third. Sydney McKay followed with a bunt of her own, and while the lead runner was thrown out at the plate, Natalie Aiello caught the Fenwick infield napping and raced home on a lackadaisical throw back to the pitcher from first base.
Two batters later, Riley Thibodeu lined a single to right scoring Machado and pinch runner Kelsey Lowthers to extend the lead to 4-0.
The Fishermen plated two more in the third on a Jenna Hoofnagle sacrifice fly scoring Tracy Wood and an Aiello bunt single scoring Rallo to make it 6-0.
That was more than enough run support for pitcher McKay, who allowed just one hit, a first inning single from Lauren Wilkinson, and three baserunners on the game, none of them reaching second base, while striking out five for the win.
"She did it today with mostly two pitches, the drop curve and screwball" Nicastro said. "The one hit was my fault, I called for a high fastball in a situation where there was no need to throw it. She had to pitch that way to keep us ahead comfortably."
While Gloucester threatened in its final three at bats, some nice Bishop Fenwick defense kept the home team off the scoreboard.
The best defensive play of the day came from center fielder Francesca Wythe, who fielded a fly ball and threw a strike to home plate to cut down a Gloucester runner trying to score. Catcher Tess Palermo recorded the out with an outstretched tag.
"That was an unbelievable play," Nicastro said. "That was one of our best baserunners, Ella Marshall, and she did everything right. It was just a perfect throw and a great tag."
Gloucester finishes up the regular on Thursday at Lynn Classical in a battle of the Northeastern Conference North (Gloucester) and South (Classical) champs.
Gloucester 6, Bishop Fenwick 0
at Burnham's Field, Gloucester
Fenwick 000 000 0| 0
Gloucester 042 000 x| 6
BF: Morey, 2B, 3-0-0; Wilkinson, SS, 3-0-1; Steriti, 3B, 3-0-0; Palermo, C, 3-0-0; Dion, DH, 3-0-0; Burke, P, 3-0-0; Wythe, CF, 1-0-0; Scogi, LF, 2-0-0; Dunn, RF, 2-0-0. 23-0-1.
G: Thibodeau, LF, 4-0-1; Marshall, SS, 3-0-1; Wood, CF, 3-1-1; Schuster, C, 3-0-1; Rallo, PR, 0-2-0; Hoofnagle, DH/2B, 2-0-1; Aiello, 2B, 2-1-2; Lowthers, DH/PR, 1-1-1; Machado, 1B, 2-1-0; McKay, P, 3-1-0; Grow, RF, 3-0-0. Totals, 26-6-8.
RBI: BF, none; G, Thibodeau 2, Hoofnagle, Aiello, Machado.
WP, McKay; LP, Burke.
Records: BF, 7-10; G, 16-3.