Catching is a switch, but Sophia Delgado delivers like natural at plate for Aurora Central Catholic. ‘Hit the gaps.’

It may not be her favorite spot on the field, but junior catcher Sophia Delgado is a team player.

That’s why she finds herself at home these days behind the plate for Aurora Central Catholic.

“I usually play middle infield in travel ball,” Delgado said. “Catching, I get really nervous about it, but once the game is going, I feel like I get more in a groove and I get better.”

And no matter where she plays on defense, when Delgado steps up to the plate, she’s a force to be reckoned with by opponents.

Delgado was at it again Tuesday afternoon as the host Chargers came up short in their bid to clinch a share of the title in a GCAC White showdown, dropping an 18-8 decision to IC Catholic.

Delgado did her part, helping quell a threat in the first inning by throwing out a runner who strayed too far off third base after a wild pitch. She also went 3-for-4 with three RBIs for ACC (17-5, 9-2).

Senior shortstop Analisa Raffaelli, a Colgate commit, had three hits and four RBIs to lead a comeback from a 4-0 deficit in the first inning for IC Catholic (17-2, 9-2).

“I feel like we almost relaxed a little too much — like we thought we had it,” Delgado said. “We let them up and shouldn’t have.”

Junior first baseman Ashley Moore added two doubles and two RBIs for the Chargers, while senior second baseman Natalie Sanchez and sophomore centerfielder Grace Grunloh had two hits apiece for the Chargers’ 12-hit attack.

“It’s never easy playing them,” ACC coach Mark Pasqualini said of IC Catholic. “Eight runs wasn’t enough. We’re just not producing those big hits.”

The Chargers led the first meeting with the Knights 5-0 and survived with three runs in the seventh for an 8-5 win.

Several defensive lapses this time didn’t help as three pitchers gave up 18 hits, walked eight and hit two as IC Catholic sent 10 batters to the plate in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings.

“Statistically, we’re there, we’ve won a lot of games,” Pasqualini said. “The last step to success is developing that killer instinct, making the little plays, getting key hits and putting the pressure on them by taking the extra base.”

ACC needs to win Thursday at DePaul Prep to tie IC Catholic for a share of the program’s first conference title since 2019.

Delgado, who joined the varsity as a freshman as a utility player, figures to be in the mix.

“She started toward the end of that year, had to earn her way in,” Pasqualini said of her debut.

The hit parade began as she finished at .438 in limited play.

“Then last year, we needed a catcher,” Pasqualini said. “Freshman Grace Grunloh did some but not a whole lot. This year, they were alternating.

“Sophia is a good shortstop, but she’s catching now most days. The team function works better with her catching.”

Last season, Delgado batted .512 with 42 hits and ended up earning all-conference and second team all-state honors. She started slow at the plate this spring but has come on strong.

Her effort Tuesday boosted her team-best batting average to .479 with a team-high 35 hits.

“She’s really picked it up,” Pasqualini said of Delgado’s current 11-game hitting streak. “I was trying to get her to hit her ball because early in the season some of the girls were hitting home runs left and right and she was trying to join the home run club.

“I told her, ‘Your best ball is a line drive to right center field. That’s your ball. Just hit that ball. I promise you, your stats will shoot right back up.'”

He wasn’t lying.

Delgado, who wants to take her game to the next level and has had conversations with several NCAA Division III schools, bought in right away.

“We have a lot of power hitters,” Delgado said. “Instead of trying to be like everyone else, I just want to get hold of the ball, hit the gaps.”

Sure sounds good.