Summer 2024

UCLA softball catcher Delanie Wisz glorifies God with custom gear in WCWS

UCLA is one of four teams still playing for a chance at a national championship in the 2022 Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.

The Bruins (50-9), the No. 5 national seed, have staved off elimination twice in the past three days. They defeated Northwestern, 6-1, on Friday and Florida, 8-0, on Sunday after losing to Texas in their first game in Oklahoma City.

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Their reward for advancing out of the losers’ bracket? A date with No. 1 overall seed Oklahoma on Monday at 12 p.m. ET. If the Bruins win, they must beat the Sooners again on Monday at 2:30 p.m. ET to reach the finals.

A key piece in the Bruins’ quest for a second national championship in the past three tournaments (they also won in 2019) is redshirt senior catcher Delanie Wisz, a 2022 Pac-12 first-team honoree and second-team All-American. She’s already racked up four hits in nine at-bats in three games the Women’s College World Series, including a home run against Texas.

Wisz is a versatile defender, sometimes playing third base like she did against Florida in addition to her catching duties. She’s also the only UCLA starter to have a batting average higher than .400 and leads the team with 15 home runs and 61 RBIs. In order to defeat Oklahoma, the Bruins will need to rely heavily on their veteran leader.

Wisz’s importance to the team hasn’t been overlooked. In fact, ahead of UCLA’s trip to Oklahoma City, former Bruins catcher Jen Schroeder surprised Wisz with customized catching gear inspired by her faith and her family.

โ€œThe idea,” Schroeder said this week in a story by the Los Angeles Times, “was that people would see this gear and she would put this gear on and she would feel the way that I saw her: as this confident, bold, amazing athlete.โ€

The chest protector features a cross because Wisz is outspoken about her faith in Christ on and off the field, already having “Audience of One” embroidered on her glove. Uniquely, the vertical portion of the cross on the chest protector is an exact replica of the scar from multiple heart surgeries on Wisz’s sister, Stevie.

Stevie, who was diagnosed with aortic stenosis as a baby, is also a follower of Christ and was part of UCLA’s 2019 title-winning team.

The inside of the chest protector features another cross, Delanie’s number 97 and a copy of a tattoo that honors her brother, Hunter, who passed away 17 days after he was born.

โ€œThat gear is super special to me,โ€ Delanie said after the win over Northwestern, according to the L.A. Times. โ€œIโ€™m just so beyond blessed to have been able to receive something like that.โ€

Delanie was able to transfer into the UCLA program from Loyola Marymount the season after her sister’s national title in 2019 due to a need for catchers, and recently, she reflected on the path God ordained for her softball career.

“I believe that God had His hand over my journey and Iโ€™m right where Iโ€™m supposed to be,โ€ Wisz told the L.A. Times after leading UCLA to a super-regional sweep of Duke. โ€œSo itโ€™s just a dream to be able to wear this uniform.โ€

Wisz describes herself as a “Follower of Jesus Christ” in her Instagram bio and sometimes posts about her faith.

She knows that she might leave Oklahoma City as a national champion, or she might leave with a loss. Either way, she’s grateful to be glorifying God with her play and, now, with her catching gear.

โ€œMy faith plays a huge role in my softball career,” Wisz told His Huddle last month. “One thing that I always remember, whether Iโ€™m having the best season of my life or the worst, is that Iโ€™m only playing for Him.โ€

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