Centerville grad completes award-winning freshman season with Dayton softball

Emma Schutter is second Flyer to win A-10 Rookie of the Year award

There was never any doubt Emma Schutter was going to attend the University of Dayton.

Schutter grew up a Flyer fan, going to softball and basketball games and watching her sister Maggie, a 2018 UD graduate, play volleyball for four seasons. Her dad Mark played tennis at Dayton from 1981-85.

“It’s always been my dream to play at Dayton,” Schutter said. “Honestly, I’m so grateful for this experience.”

Last week, the Centerville High School graduate Schutter became the second player in UD softball history and first since Manda Cash in 2015 to win the Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Year Award.

Schutter started in center field and led the A-10 with a .414 batting average. She hit .538 in conference play. No one else hit better than .460. She also ranked second in the league with 23 stolen bases.

A three-time A-10 Rookie of the Week award winner, Schutter also was named to the A-10 first team and to the Schutt Sports/NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award top-25 list.

“I honestly couldn’t have done it without my coaches or my teammates, without all their support,” Schutter said. “It was definitely a team effort.”

Credit: Erik Schelkun

Credit: Erik Schelkun

Dayton’s season ended Friday with an 8-0 loss to George Washington in the A-10 tournament at George Mason in Fairfax, Va. The Flyers finished 22-24.

Dayton entered the six-team tournament as the No. 5 seed after finishing 12-10 in conference play. It lost its opening game, 7-3 to No. 4 seed Saint Louis on Wednesday, but then beat No. 6 seed Massachusetts 4-2 in an elimination game Wednesday night.

Dayton beat Saint Louis 10-1 in a second elimination game Thursday. It won a third straight elimination game Friday, 3-1 against No. 3 Saint Joseph’s, before falling to No. 1 George Washington, which lost the championship game to Fordham on Saturday.

Schutter and senior Kelsey Gumm, who allowed five earned runs in 17 1/3 innings in four appearances, were named to the all-tournament team.

Schutter thinks the tournament run will give the team momentum heading into next season.

“This weekend was super exciting,” she said. “I thought we really proved that we’re here to stay. I’m really excited for what’s to come.”

Schutter came to Dayton after a standout high school career. She led the Greater Western Ohio Conference in hitting (.573) as a senior in 2021 and ranked second as a sophomore (.607) in 2019. She didn’t get to play her junior season when all spring sports were cancelled because of the pandemic.

“Going through the recruiting process, Dayton was always my No. 1 school,” she said, “and to finally be able to put on the jersey — because I’ve been I’ve been committed here since my junior year — it was just a dream.”

Schutter got off to a hot start and hit .313 in 10 games in February. She saw her average fall to .244 in early March but pushed it above .300 with six hits in a doubleheader against St. Bonaventure on March 20. She passed .400 for good with a 4-for-4 performance against UMass on May 1.

“Softball, I think, is one of the most humbling sports,” Schutter said, “so I had to keep reminding myself, especially adjusting from high school to college, It’s okay to fail and fail a lot. That’s all part of the process.”

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