ETBU delgado photo

Former ETBU player Jessica Delgado will throw out the first pitch for today’s Military Appreciation Game.


It started in the fields of Colorado. An American dream was born and sacrificed for the Delgado family. Starting out working the vegetable fields, the Delgados worked hard for the future of their family and an American dream.

This dream was for Jessica Delgado, their daughter and Mexican-American heritage, to be able to receive a college education and go into the world to help others. Their sacrifices have now helped Jessica achieve her dream as she enters the military service in the Air Force.

“I am really proud of where I come from and making something of my last name. My parents worked in the fields in Colorado and sacrificed a lot for family. I was able to come to ETBU and win championship rings and give my parents those rings with our last name on it. I can’t wait to have my name stitched onto a United States military uniform,” says Delgado.

Delgado, a 2015 East Texas Baptist University graduate, played and coached under Janae Shirley. She was a part of three NCAA Division III Tournaments, including winning the 2014 Super Regional and going to the World Series, and won the 2013 American Southwest Conference Tournament Championship. Due to an injury in her senior season, she chose to stay with team and help coach, serving others to help her team grow and become better.

With her American dream coming true, the ETBU softball team will honor her today in the Military Appreciation Game by throwing out the first pitch.

“To be honored by one of my biggest mentors (Shirley) in life is a dream come true,” comments Delgado. “This is such a huge honor. The best decision I ever made was choosing ETBU and it became my second home. The amount of success we had as a program while I was there and now to come back and see how much it has grown since I left is really neat. I am excited to bring back my parents to show them how the program has progressed.”

Joining the Air Force, Delgado entered the delayed entry program. She will leave for basic training on March 26 to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. After completion of training, she will work in Security Forces which is the first line of defense for the Air Force and be stationed in San Antonio as an Airman First Class.

“Joining the military was something I have always wanted to do after high school. I wanted to pursue softball and take that route first,” said Delgado. “God had a plan and through softball and getting a degree I will receive a promotion right off the back joining Air Force. I have always wanted to serve our country. I grew up with uncles and cousins serving in the military and nobody in my immediate family has went that route. I am proud of my family and can’t wait to serve this country.”

As a star on the Arlington Martin High School softball team, Delgado earned several awards that put her name out as a player that would be wanted at the collegiate level. The four-year letterman and three-time All-District player and two-time team MVP narrowed her college choices down to four schools in Texas Southern (NCAA Division I), Incarnate Word (NCAA Division II at the time), Texas Wesleyan (NAIA), and ETBU. It was ETBU in the end that won over her heart and helped her pursue her American dream.

“She was a hard worker and you could tell through the recruiting process that family was important to her and she would be all-in wherever she went,” said Shirley. “She is a dedicated person and scrappy player that without a doubt I knew she would make an impact for our program.”

Delgado did just that in the shortened amount of time she played due to injuries. She earned All-ASC honorable mention in her freshman season hitting .333.

The 2013 and 2014 seasons were limited due to injuries and then in 2015 she decided to hang up the cleats and help coach so she could continue to help her team to be successful.

Shirley adds about Delgado, “We can’t even begin to express how proud and excited we are of Jessica and for this new chapter in her life. As a student, athlete, and assistant coach she was always the hardest working and most dedicated person we had.

“She is exactly kind of person I would want to defend my country — a Christ centered, hardworking, dedicated, and loyal young woman. We are so proud to call her one of our own.”

As the first person from her immediate family to join the military, Delgado hopes to be a role model for her two nieces and nephews as their Godmother.

“Family is important to me. Representing them and defending our country is the ‘American Dream’ for me. A lot has been sacrificed for me to get to this point and I am so grateful for my parents and family that have helped me get to this point.”

Delgado will throw out the first pitch on Saturday at the Military Appreciation Game starting at 2 p.m. as ETBU faces Louisiana College.