The Holy Family softball team won 19 games and reached the Class 3A state semifinals in 2013 but posted a 26-38 record over the following three seasons.

So far in 2017, however, the Tigers have broken out in a big way. With less than two weeks remaining in the regular season, the Tigers are 12-2 and are in line to win the 4A Tri-Valley League title after beating league contenders Erie, Frederick and Windsor in the first round of conference play. I chatted with head coach Mitch Martinez to get his take on what has led to Holy Family's success this season.

Question: After posting a sub-.500 record over the past three years, the Tigers have really broken out this season. Can you give me your thoughts on what had lead to this resurgence in 2017?

Martinez: To be honest, I think that it's just the kids putting a lot of work in. We have a core of kids who have been there for a while and they all show up to extra workouts and they want it. They all have talent but they're willing to put in the extra effort be where they want to be.

It's a group that knows what it wants and has a good understanding of what it takes to get it. The best part is that they're all working together towards the same thing.

Beating local rivals and softball powerhouses Erie and Frederick for the first time in a long while was huge for you guys. In what ways were those particular wins symbolic of your momentum this season or how special this year's group is?


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This season is kind of a culmination of everything we've been through. In the past couple seasons, the kids have worked hard and still have disappointments. We'd get up against the good teams and sometimes we'd play so hard that we'd play tight and not play our game. We'd get to regionals and be disappointed with how we played. Things like that.

When you get those wins over rivals and really, really good teams, you get that confidence going. We don't feel like we're good enough to take people for granted, either, so the girls are excited about any win they get and they're still staying balanced and moving forward. But the rivalry games are always great.

Speaking of special, junior Erin Caviness is on fire this season. She's batting .488 and 1.44 ERA on the mound. What have you seen out of her in 2017?

The one thing for her is the maturity level that she has. She's played at the varsity level for a while and she doesn't get too high, she doesn't get too low. Erin just does her thing, pitches one pitch at a time, and the rest of the players feed off of that. She's bought into that step-by-step mentality and because she has, the rest of the players have too.

How some of your younger players would develop figured to be a key to your success this season. You've got five underclassmen batting over .368 this season. How big of a boost have the Tigers gotten from their youngsters?

We have three sophomores that are starting who started all last year. Even though they're young, they're experienced. I think that one year of having them in there really helped. We also have two freshmen who are starting and they're just following what the other girls are doing.

Our upperclassmen are excellent role models and I think that's a major part of why the program is working the way it is.

Even though this season has been a productive one on the field, the team doesn't seem to have too serious of a mood surrounding it all the time. What is the chemistry like in the Tigers dugout this fall?

Any team that I've been around that has been successful, they get along really well. Our girls just get along. They have a good time. And even the seniors who don't get a lot of playing time, they keep our team focused.

I'm having a great time, too, because of how well they get along. Practices are fun. Bus rides are fun. Of course, the games are fun. Most importantly, they all believe and when you have all those things working for you, good things are going to happen.

Brad Cochi: cochib@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BradCochi