GLASGOW — There were plenty of smiles and high fives to go around in the Smyrna High softball team’s huddle on Thursday afternoon.
A five-game winning streak will do that to a team.
And considering how the last two seasons have gone, the Eagles have plenty to be happy about.
Smyrna defeated Hodgson 9-6 in a nonconference matchup to improve to 5-3 overall. The Eagles (5-3) have already surpassed last season’s win total.
An influx of freshmen — Smyrna has five on the roster — has meshed with large classes of juniors and seniors to vault Smyrna into this position.
“We’ve got some talented girls and it doesn’t matter what age we are,” junior Tayler John said. “We just play good as a team.”
John had the big hit for Smyrna on Thursday — a triple with the bases loaded during a six-run fourth inning. Junior Madelynne Rodriguez and senior Sydney Botsch combined on the mound to earn the victory as they held Hodgson to three runs each.
The winning streak comes after a bumpy start to the season.
Smyrna fell to some Henlopen Conference powers in its opening games with defeats to Delmar, Lake Forest and Sussex Tech.
A 22-1 win against Newark righted the ship. In that offensive explosion Rodriguez went 4-for-4 with four RBIs while John, freshman Olivia Faragher and junior Samantha Jamison added 3 RBIs.
The Eagles haven’t looked back since, winning three Henlopen Conference games afterwards against Milford, Sussex Central and Dover before the Hodgson victory. Smyrna travels to Woodbridge (2-3) today at 4:15 for another conference clash.
“We started a little rough but we’ve really come together as a team,” Faragher said. “We’ve just kept winning and trying our best and that’s all that matters. We know what we can do, we practice hard and we play hard.”
Smyrna finished the last two seasons with a 3-15 record.
“Last year we could not play together to say our lives,” John said. “This year we really bonded as a team and just clicked.”
Faragher kickstarted the offense on Thursday with a two-run single to highlight a three-run first inning.
The Silver Eagles were able to put together a rally and tied the game at 3-3 after the second. But the Eagles had a response waiting in the fourth.
“We didn’t let it affect us,” John said. “We were good at keeping our heads in the game and acting like it was a 0-0 game all the way through.”
Senior Amber Carrow also knocked in a pair of runs in the fourth. Freshman Kaelyn Press added a triple while senior Cayla Carter had one RBI and scored twice and Taylor Cappella also had one RBI.
“It was a good day,” John said. “We were all hitting the ball and we all made plays in the field.”
Staff writer Tim Mastro can be reached at email@example.com or 741-8224.
Follow @TimMastroDSN on Twitter.