FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The goal for the Razorback softball team is quite clear this year: a first ever trip to Oklahoma City for the Women’s College World Series…
Fortunately for the fourth-ranked Hogs, Chenise Delce is quite familiar with OKC.
“A trip back home would be great,” Delce said.
Delce is an OKC native, graduating from Carl Albert High School, just 12 miles from USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium, the site of the Women’s College World Series.
It's a tournament she's very familiar with.
“Last year I was working it, so it would be great to play in it this year,” Delce said.
Delce spent her first three collegiate seasons at Tulsa and after each of the past two seasons with a WCWS ('19, '21), worked the concessions at the tournament as a volunteer.
But last summer, she was ready to be there in a different capacity.
“I was working it right before I entered the portal, so I was like, I need to get on a team that has the potential to come here," Delce said.
Enter the Arkansas Razorbacks.
“Before I even came on the visit, I already knew that if they offered me, I was going to come," Delce said. "So luckily they did.”
The Hogs are happy they did as well.
Delce leads the team in earned run average (2.03) and strikeouts (138).
With a 14-2 record, she ranks second on the team in wins, only behind reigning SEC pitcher of the year Mary Haff (16-3).
“She’s a great addition to our team,” Haff said. “She’s one of the main reasons why we’re going to be making it to OKC this year, is that 1-2 punch that we’ve been missing in the past.”
Head coach Courtney Deifel also praised Delce earlier in the season after a shutout in a series clinching win over Kentucky.
“She has a ton of guts, she’s highly competitive, obviously very skilled, and she’s consistent," Deifel said. "She fights for her team.”
It's a team that Delce has fit in with seamlessly as the Razorbacks clinched a second consecutive SEC regular-season title.
“I got to build bonds with the girls here," Delce said. "To go in the season and do well, it’s fun because you’re doing it with your family essentially.”
A family that she hopes to be able to lead back to her home town for a first ever trip to the Women's College World Series.
And this time for Delce, to play in it.