One visit to the University of Iowa was all it took for versatile Freeburg High softball player Miranda Schulte to know it was a place she wanted to call home.
Schulte, a first baseman, third baseman and pitcher recently made a verbal commitment to the Hawkeyes, who were 19-32 overall and 9-14 in the Big Ten this season. Schulte batted .512 (42-for-82) with 10 doubles, three triples, 10 home runs, 35 RBIs and a .600 on-base percentage as a junior this spring. She struck out just four times.
On the mound, she was 16-7 with a 1.72 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 150 2/3 innings.
“I went there on an unofficial visit and I just fell in love with it the day I was there,” said Schulte, the daughter of Mark and Marsha Schulte.
Miranda Schulte said there initially was some indecision about the process, although the only other school that was under consideration was Evansville of the Missouri Valley Conference.
“My mom and I had no idea,” she said. “I’m an only child and we didn’t know what to do, so we talked to my coaches (Maggie Jones, Dave Smith and Allen Wagner). We ended up accepting before we went down to Florida for nationals. I was so relieved that I could play and know that I was committed.”
I wanted to pick a school where I could go and hit, too. Normally, the bigger schools you go to, your pitchers don’t really hit as much. They focus on pitching. I wanted to be able to hit, too.
Freeburg softball player Miranda Schulte
Schulte’s club team is the Midwest Prospects. She was twice a first-team selection by area coaches for the BND All-Area Large School Softball Team.
More than likely, Schulte said, she will be a first baseman or third baseman at Iowa, which is coached by Marla Looper. She doesn’t expect to pitch regularly beyond her senior season at Freeburg.
“They recruited me for first and third,” she said. “Right now, they have three pitchers who (only) pitch. I’m going to be a utility pitcher, kind of. I’ll pitch if they need me.
“I wanted to pick a school where I could go and hit, too. Normally, the bigger schools you go to, your pitchers don’t really hit as much. They focus on pitching. I wanted to be able to hit, too.”
It’s a skill Schulte has conquered. In three seasons, she has punished opposing pitchers to the tune of a .484 average (125-for-258) with 33 doubles, six triples, 26 home runs and 115 RBIs.
Genetics is part of the explanation.
Mark Schulte batted .575 as a senior at Marissa High and was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 24th round of the 1982 draft. Marsha Schulte played softball at Marissa, helping the Meteors reach the Class A state tournament and win a school-record 26 games in 1984. Mark’s father is Lee Schulte, who coached at Marissa for 33 years.
“I’ve always had my dad helping me, telling me what I’m doing right and wrong,” Miranda Schulte said. “So I just go into a game trying to fix whatever he tells me. Most of the time, I’m successful with it.”
Schulte acknowledges that she has “good bat speed.” Her power, she said, “comes natural.”
“I don’t really lift weights that much,” she said.
The ball explodes off Schulte’s bat, her drives over the wall typically being no-doubters.
“Mostly, (I enjoy) the contact,” Schulte said. “I feel like the contact is a big point. Most of the time, if I hit it, I know whether it’s going to be gone or not. I always have my teammates (nearby) going, ‘See ya!’”
Schulte said she will use her senior season to improve across the board.
“You can never be good enough at something,” she said. “(But) this is what I’ve played for my whole life, just to be going to a school like this.”