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Duke tabbed to third TGCA All-State team

Jun. 7—HUNTSVILLE — Jaelynn Duke has been a staple of the Huntsville softball program for four seasons and has garnered state attention for all four years.

Duke, the District 16 5A Co-Offensive MVP, saw another strong season and for that was tabbed with another nod to the Texas Girls Coaching Association's All-State Team. It is the third time in four years.

"It means the world to me because if I didn't have the coaching staff along the way, I wouldn't be near where I'm at today," Duke said. "I know that people are recognizing how hard I'm working and continue to work."

Duke's senior campaign saw one for the record books. In her final year at Huntsville, Duke started all 34 games for the Lady Hornets and was a force in the batter's box, in the circle and at shortstop.

At the plate, Duke led the team with a .561 average and ripped 60 hits. While moving to the top of the order, Duke still drove in 34 runs and scored another 52 on her own. She also cleared the fence 13 times.

In the circle, Duke posted a 19-5 record in 29 appearances. Over the season, Duke posted a 2.06 ERA in 599 batters faced. She allowed 50 runs, 44 of them being earned, in 149.2 innings. But the most important was she struck out 204 opposing batters.

As a defender, Duke had a perfect fielding percentage in 75 total chances. She turned five double plays.

"It feels amazing to be picked again because I've worked and worked," Duke said. "All the hard work is finally paying off. It feels so good to be succeeding in the sport I love to play."

Duke has now ended her Huntsville softball career but will still be playing the game. At Huntsville, Duke ends with a career batting average of .519 and 239 hits in four years. She has been a part of a core of six seniors who won four consecutive district titles and four straight bi-district championships.

"It's been amazing being able to watch JJ grow and continue to work hard in her last season as a Hornet," Huntsville head coach Morgan Bryan said. "She set her goals high this season and has accomplished each of them, it's just nice to see people recognize all the hard work that she has put in this season."

Now, Duke will head to Tarleton to extend her softball career at the Division I level.

"It means a lot because I've played the game since I was 4 and just knowing I've never stopped working since and now I'm doing what most people dream of doing," Duke said. "I could not be more thankful to everybody who has helped me this far and stood by my side through it all and never let me give up."