Going through graduate school is challenging enough, and adding on being a Division I athlete takes the degree of difficulty to another level.
On top of all that, throw in being a single mother of a 1-year-old girl, and it would be too much for almost any other person to handle.
UH softball’s Becca Schulte is the exception, being described as a supermom by her teammate and double-play partner Rock Benavides.
“Becca’s a hero,” Benavides said. “She’s literally a superhero. I don’t how she does it. All I do is softball and school (and that’s a lot). She’s being a single mom on top of that. That’s amazing to me.”
Road to UH
Prior to transferring to UH for graduate school, the 6-foot Andover, Kansas native began her collegiate softball career at Butler Community College in 2016.
To say that she experienced immense success there is a bit of an understatement.
In Schulte’s two years at Butler Community College, the Grizzlies went 111-5, including an 88-game win streak, on the way to leading her team to back-to-back NJCAA National Championships in 2016 and 2017.
“There was so much chemistry and joy on the team (at Butler Community College) that it made success come easy,” Schulte said. “I was also there to prove myself and to work to get a scholarship. I was playing with a chip on my shoulder. I was still chasing that Division I dream, so I worked harder than ever.”
Schulte, who batted .433 with 26 home runs in 108 RBIs during her sophomore campaign, capped off her Butler career by being named the 2017 NJCAA Division I Championship MVP.
“Winning those national championships helped me believe that I could compete and be successful at a high level,” Schulte said.
Schulte left Butler Community College as the Grizzlies’ all-time leader in home runs, with 42, RBIs, with 181, and runs scored, with 157.
In 2018, Schulte transferred to LSU and took over as the Tigers’ everyday second baseman. LSU reached the NCAA Super Regionals that year.
After all her success, hardship finally struck the next year as Schulte suffered an injury that sidelined her for the entire 2019 season.
Luckily for Schulte, her softball playing days did not come to an end as the NCAA granted her a waiver for an extra year of eligibility.
After graduating from LSU in August 2019 with a business administration degree, Schulte transferred to UH and started graduate school in January of 2020.
In her first year as a Cougar at the time, Schulte got off to a hot start.
The new UH second baseman started the first 23 games of the year, hitting five home runs and driving in 18 runs for a 16-7 in favor of the UH softball team that included an 11-game win streak.
Then, the COVID-19 pandemic took the United States by storm and the NCAA canceled the remainder of all spring sports.
This was crushing as Schulte didn’t know if she’d ever take the diamond again.
Little did Schulte know, the pandemic would not be the only thing to shake up her world in 2020 as she would find out later in the year that she was pregnant.
Becoming a mom
Schulte was originally told she was having a boy and settled on the name Rin, but three months before her due date another curveball was thrown her way — the baby was actually a girl.
Despite this new information, something about the name Rin struck a chord with Schulte and so she decided to stick with it for her soon-to-be baby girl.
“I just knew in my heart that my baby’s name was Rin, so we stuck with Rin for a girl too,” Schulte said. “It fits her. It’s unique.”
On March 23, 2021, Schulte’s life changed forever with the arrival of her daughter, Rin Elizabeth.
From the moment she gave birth, Schulte was immediately filled with a kind of unconditional love towards her newborn.
“It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” Schulte said. “Being a mom is my purpose now. It fits me well and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Strong support system
While Rin’s birth brought Schulte more joy than she knew imaginable, she also knew raising an infant would require her to lean on the support of others.
From friends and family to her teammates, who consider Rin to be their little niece, to parents of old teammates, Schulte feels blessed with the support system that surrounds her.
“They always say it takes a village and they’re not kidding,” Schulte said. “With any kid, it takes a village but especially in my situation. I have incredible help and so many people that love on (Rin). I just think that I’m super blessed with the circle I have and the circle keeps growing.”
Schulte is especially grateful for her sister Beth, who moved down to Houston and has been a large part in helping raise Rin.
“My sister has been the biggest blessing,” Schulte said. “I couldn’t do it without her.”
Having not played in a competitive softball game since March 10, 2020, Schulte finally returned to the diamond in the fall of 2021 for one last ride.
The transition back to gearing up for the season, piling on top of Schulte’s already busy life as a student and single mother was tough. But after how her final year at LSU and first season at UH went she just wanted one more chance to take the field.
“The fall was hard,” Schulte said. “The fall was definitely hard. It was a lot, but I knew that the spring would be worth it.”
UH softball head coach Kristin Vesely, who was already high on what Schulte brought with her skillset and leadership when she originally transferred to UH, noticed that her second baseman had a new perspective once she rejoined the Cougars.
“I think (Schulte’s) level of perspective has changed and her maturity,” Vesely said. “She is a college kid but she has something else that she’s responsible for. She’s a really calming voice for our plays. Just having that leadership available to our kids and their ability to learn from her is huge.”
Vesely said Schulte has been the veteran voice the Cougars needed, always knowing what to say to her teammates no matter the situation the team finds itself in.
“It’s tremendous to have her back,” Vesely said. “She does a good job managing emotions and giving positive (feedback) to the pitcher and positive energy. That’s such a big deal.”
Schulte is making the most of her final season as a collegiate softball player, hitting .323 to go along with a team-best 11 home runs and 35 RBIs.
One of Schulte’s hometown friends, Kayla Weidert, even started the #mombombs and tagged the NCAA when reposting clips of the UH second baseman’s home runs. This quickly caught on with the rest of the UH softball team and they began doing the same every time Schulte went yard.
Along with her big bat in the middle of the UH lineup, Schulte’s a rock-solid second baseman that makes the difficult plays look routine.
— Houston Softball (@UHCougarSB) March 26, 2022
While Schulte has gone through so many ups and downs to get to this point, wearing many different hats while juggling countless tasks on a daily basis, she wouldn’t change where she is at for the world.
“When you love something, your work for it,” Schulte said. “I love softball and my baby, so the work is worth it.”