The squad also topped seventh-ranked Mexico by a 1-0 decision, and added wins over Peru, 3-0, and Cuba, 2-1, in the tournament’s opening round as well.
“It was definitely different, playing in another country and being around so many big athletes,” Delhoyo continued. “A lot of teams were in an athletic villa, and we saw Olympic basketball players, seeing Team USA softball walk by, that was shocking seeing a lot of people I’ve always looked up to.”
Her journey began with the Lady Dukes, her club team in North Carolina, prior to the 2021 summer season.
“I had a couple of teammates who were on the junior national team,” Delhoyo recalled. “That had always been a goal of mine. They set me up with those connections, and in 2021 I played for the junior national team.”
After making the junior national team, the Flemington, New Jersey, native traveled with her new squad to compete in the 2021 Pan American Games in Peru.
The group faced off against other national teams such as the Netherlands, Chinese Taipei and Peru, an “unreal” experience especially against the host country which Delhoyo, then 17 years old, claims was one of the loudest atmospheres in which she’s played.
Delhoyo’s first experience with team Puerto Rico quietly laid the groundwork for her to later realize her dream to compete with the National Team. The squad’s head coach, David Santos, reached out to Delhoyo in 2022 to invite her to try out primarily as a middle infielder for the 2023 games last November.
Following an all-around two-day tryout, which consisted of everything from fielding practice in the infield and outfield to throwing velocity to batting practice, Delhoyo waited only two days to find out she had made the team.
“It was really quick. He pulled me and two other girls to the side, and said, ‘We’re taking two out of three of you,’” Delhoyo said. “It was definitely nerve-wracking knowing that those girls were older than me and they also had a lot more college experience than I had. But I was confident in the way I played, I thought I was right there with them so that helped a lot.”
In joining the Puerto Rican National Team, Delhoyo saw her Knights connections continue abroad, teaming up with former Knights ace right-hander Gianna Mancha and current UCF softball commit Yessenia Lopez to finish one spot better than the team’s No. 3 world ranking entering the tournament, a noted goal of Delhoyo’s.