Center Point-Urbana shortstop Reagan Schutte led the Stormin Pointers in every major offensive statistic possible during a COVID-shortened 2020 season. The senior led a young team to a postseason win after coming up short at Monticello last year. Yet perhaps her biggest individual accomplishment for the Center Point native came during a regular season doubleheader at Xavier as Schutte broke the school’s homereun record with 35 career dingers.
“I went up to the plate knowing I was gonna get a hit,” Schutte said. “We had a runner on second base and I knew I was going to do everything in my power to get her home. [Xavier] pitched me the ball right where I wanted it. I made contact and it just sailed out left.”
Yet breaking a record wasn’t heavily on Schutte’s mind two months ago; it was having a season at all. COVID-19 cancelled the spring sports season and answers to softball’s fate over the summer had to wait until mid-May. On June 15, CPU opened with a pair of wins over South Tama and Schutte’s strong hitting from previous years continued into 2020.
“I was just happy we were getting to play at all,” Schutte said. “As I started having success with the long ball, we reached out to school officials to check what the record was. Breaking the record was fun and exciting. My most important goal coming into the season though was to give my all during each at bat to help my team the best I could.”
Schutte is no stranger to the big hit. Her first career dinger came at her first at-bat her freshman year at CPU in 2017. It was an away game and Schutte found herself in a 3-2 count with a runner on second. She sent the pitch over centerfield and the CPU dugout went wild over what unknowingly would be the first of many homeruns..
“Claire Holtz grabbed me in a big bear hug and Megan Croghan was in line to hug me next,” Schutte said. “Rounding third and seeing all the seniors that I looked up to going crazy at home plate was unbelievable. That was such a special group of girls and I’m so very blessed to have been able to learn from them.”
Coach Shane Light took over the program in 2018 and immediately took notice of Schutte’s hitting ability and much more over the next three seasons.
“It was an honor in a way because it was the first time in my coaching career I had two power hitters in Reagan and Maddie Karr that year,” Light said. “Reagan has a good eye for the ball and just has a lot of natural power. She has always been a team player. This year she bought into the idea she doesn’t have to swing for the fences every time, but more lead by example. Showing that side of her is amazing.”
Hitting and a love for softball developed at a young age. Schutte credits “great coaches” over the years teaching her to read pitches, fine-tuning her mechanics and to “never settle and keep my swing as clean as possible.”
“It’s a great feeling when you connect with the ball perfectly,” Schutted said. “I normally can feel right away whether it’s gone or not. It’s a rush for sure, exciting and maybe a little bit of relief that I don’t have to sprint around the bases.”
As Schutte’s final high school season began to wind down, Light scheduled a late doubleheader at Cedar Rapids Xavier, the program’s only non-conference games of the season. She sat at 33 homeruns and needed one more to tie Karr’s 34. But it was a homerun in the second game that put Schutte in the CPU record books with her 35th career homerun as a Stormin Pointer.
“It was a pretty surreal moment,” Schutte said. “I wasn’t sure if it would even be possible with the shortened season. When I tied the record with my home run in the first game of the double header, I was pretty hopeful. I knew my at bats were limited with the postseason starting later in the week and wanted to make the most of the ones I had left. It was a very fulfilling feeling to know my hard work was paying off.”
When Karr learned her former teammate had surpassed her record, she praised Schutte and noted her high competitive nature and ability to swing a bat. The two had played varsity together in 2017 and 2018 before Karr graduated to play at DMACC and is set to play for Francis Marion University in South Carolina this spring.
“It does not surprise me one bit because I knew she had talent,” Karr said. “It’s good for someone else to break the record. I know she put in a lot of hard work, just like I did, to reach that point. I’m really happy and proud of her.”
Schutte now prepares for the college ranks as she heads to Kirkwood Community College this fall. The Eagles placed fourth at Nationals in 2019 and the CPU graduates hopes to be a part of continuing a winning tradition in Cedar Rapids.
“I knew from the moment I talked with Coach Frese that I wanted to play for him at Kirkwood when he took over last year,” Schutte said. “His straight-shooting personality spoke to me and his vision for his program was something I knew I wanted to be part of. My goal is to help my team hang a championship banner next to that fourth place banner.”
A banner or trophy won’t sit prominently anywhere in the high school dedicated to Schutte’s record, but Light believes it will be broken again one day with Schutte’s full support.
“Records are meant to be broken,” Light said. “Reagan is not a selfish person and is definitely a person who will cheer on the next person who’s close.”
Schutte is the daughter of Ryan and Rachel Schutte of Center Point. Outside of softball, she was involved in National Honor Society, the student newspaper, student council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, taught in a third grade class as an assistant and is a youth softball coach.