Delaney Reefe rose from her position behind the plate and asked the umpire for time.

The call was granted and she walked up to the mound where Courtney Wyche stood. The freshman catcher and graduate pitcher have formed a new duo for the Terps, building their relationship on and off the field from the start of the season. Reefe called the timeout as a reset for Wyche.

“It’s okay, your pitches look good,” Reefe said once she reached the mound.

“No, they don’t. Don’t tell me that,” Reefe recalled Wyche replying.

Reefe’s eyes widened, but she understood. Wyche didn’t want encouragement — she wanted the truth.

This breakthrough was one of many throughout the start of the 2024 season that contributed to the duo’s strong chemistry. The mutual respect in the relationship is fueled by mentorship, but the four-year age gap hasn’t phased the two. Their common goal — winning — remained the same.

From that moment on, Reefe knew what Wyche needed, and how she could continue to support the pitcher.

[Courtney Wyche throws career-high 19 strikeouts as Maryland softball beats Penn State, 2-0]

Reefe knows exactly what to say to get Wyche “fired up” in a game, she said, and pays attention to the pitcher’s vocal cues. Encouraging shouts of “kill it Court” keeps Wyche energized and engaged, she said.

The duo developed mutual understanding through hours of overtime work. For Reefe, the adjustment to collegiate level was hard, but the adjustment to Wyche was even harder — the catcher had never worked with someone who could throw as fast as Wyche. The Maryland natives started working together the summer before Reefe even got to Maryland, Wyche said.

“She got to get to know my pitching style, the speed, spin, all that fun stuff,” Wyche said. “We could build that relationship and that trust mentally.”

Both players stepped into new roles this season. Wyche learned how to be a patient leader, showing Reefe exactly what she needed while also stepping back and letting Reefe evolve in her position. Reefe was pushed outside her comfort zone immediately, jumping over the freshman jitters and taking on a crucial role in the Terps’ lineup.

[Maryland softball’s quality at-bats led to an offensive explosion against Minnesota]

“Courtney is an elite pitcher … Delaney will be an elite catcher and she has all the tools to do that,” coach Lauren Karn said. “They’re in two different spots of their eliteness.”

Last weekend’s play showed how the duo’s teamwork pushed them both to a higher level. Wyche notched a career-high 19 strikeouts in last weekend’s series against Penn State and was named NCAA National Pitcher of the Week.

Their effect on each other becomes obvious as both Reefe and Wyche yell at each other after every strikeout. Wyches’ passion for the game and the state of Maryland have changed the way Reefe operates as a catcher, Reefe said.

Reefe and Wyche feed off of each other’s fire, and their dedication to the game has carried the Terps through their first 33 games of the season and a 3-3 conference record.

With a majority of Big Ten play left their relationship will undergo many more tests, starting in College Park on Friday against conference opponent Illinois.