By Erin Dunne, UD Athletics Media Relations Student Intern

Triumphant cheering broke through the typical crowd chatter with one precise crack of Jessica Grisler’s softball bat in a home game against Drexel University March 22. As the clanging of the metal bat making contact with the ball reverberated through the crowd, the softball players and fans at the University of Delaware knew instantly what this double sent into left field meant. Outfielder Grisler had single-handedly broken Delaware’s career record for hits. 

In addition, Grisler also broke the school’s record for career runs against UNCW on March 28, giving her with two milestone records as she finishes out her senior year as a Blue Hen.

Grisler is by no means unfamiliar with success in her softball career, but this year she has reached new heights. Her final year as a Blue Hen will leave her with two noteworthy records, both of which were previously held by 2002 graduate Mandy Welch. While this adds to her collection of records garnered over her years at Delaware which include a pair of second team All-CAA awards, three offensive MVP titles, the UD single season record for runs and team captain, these two career records mean a little more.

The records are a culmination of four years of hard work, which do not go unnoticed by her coaches and parents.

“It’s obviously very exciting to watch her do it, she’s worked really hard to get up to this point,” commented Martin Grisler, Jessica’s father and batting coach for many years before she arrived at Delaware.  “Seeing her start with a goal and get to her point, it’s really meaningful.”

As a coach who arrived the same year as Grisler, Interim Head Coach John Seneca says that watching her maturation as a player has been an exciting journey. He notes that Grisler humbly keeps her head down and pushes herself with every passing year, day, and practice.

“Jess set out to work hard every day, to be a good teammate, and follow a good process. She knew if she did that, the records would come,” Seneca said.

Grisler entered this season with 173 hits and 95 runs, along with a cumulative batting average of .333. She posted team-highs of 66 hits and 40 runs this year to break both of the records, while her 40 runs established a new UD single season mark. Her career .342 batting average ranks as the fifth best in Delaware’s history.

Her commitment to her team and bettering herself has earned her respect from coaches and teammates alike.

“She is clearly a leader on the field, statistics have shown that, but she is also a leader off the field,” Seneca shares. “She is a 360 degree leader, she leads by example. Jess is always early to practice, always staying late, and always trying to take extra hits.”

Grisler, a team player, contributes much of her success to her teammates, who she says push her in practice every day. She claims breaking these records wouldn’t be possible without help from her teammates.

“They’re who I wake up with at 5 a.m. to lift, and who I’m still with at study hall at 9 p.m. I’m with them all day long, they’re who if I’m in a slump, or if I’m upset, or didn’t get a hit, they’re who I turn to.”

For Grisler, achieving these records was all about overcoming her mental obstacles. She attributes many of her struggles in her career to getting nervous or anxious about batting.

“I try to not think about the records that I’m almost breaking,” she remarked. “At the hits record, it was all I could think of when I’m up to bat, so now I just don’t want to know about them. If I break them, that’s great, but I just don’t want to know.”

Grisler’s records didn’t just break the marks, they hit the old records out of the park. She surpassed the school career hits record by 34 and the runs record by 16.

Grisler’s name will be listed among the UD softball all-time records for years to come. As a senior, Grisler expressed that each passing game grew in sentimentality, and having her name imprinted on these records to be remembered is an honor.

For Grisler, finishing out the season with a positive mentality was essential to her senior year, rather than breaking records.

“If I’m playing my best, they’re going to come,” Grisler shared confidently.