Senior Spring: Micah Schroder ’20 etches name into softball record books
In Micah Schroder ’20’s three full softball seasons with the Big Green, she earned league recognition twice, set Dartmouth’s single-season RBI and batting average records in 2019 and earned the Ivy League Player of the Year crown in the same season.
But Schroder was not one of those kids who was hitting line drives by the time she was three years old. In fact, she did not even start playing softball until she was nine. Before then, she was a volleyball player, and even when she did start to play softball, it wasn’t completely her idea.
“My older sister had always played softball and so had my brother, and one season my dad just kind of threw me into it so I could practice with my sister,” she said.
Her playing relationship with her sister, Merris, only grew from there. Merris is one year older than Schroder, and they played both high school and travel softball together. The friendly competitiveness that they shared growing up led them both to put in significant extra work off the field.
“She and I are both very competitive,” Schroder said. “I wouldn’t say it was always someone trying to beat out the other, but it was if I went to go do extra work, she would come. Or if she was going to go hit and run, I would follow with her. So it was almost like a little bit of encouragement of ‘I’m going to go do extra practice, are you coming or not?’”
This hard work paid off for both sisters. Merris played her college softball career at the University of Alabama. While the sisters considered playing together in college, Schroder decided to prioritize a better educational fit.
“For me, I always saw it as softball was going to help me through college and that education would be the most important piece,” Schroder said. “I started looking at the Ivy League in about eighth grade, and I just fell in love with Dartmouth — [I] wanted to go there, and the cards fell right for me.”
The rest is history. Schroder started 25 games in her first season at Dartmouth. In her sophomore year, she led the Big Green in batting average, hits, RBIs, runs and doubles en route to an Ivy League Championship and Second Team All-Ivy honors.
In her breakout junior season, Schroder proved that she was not only the best player in the Ivy League, but also one of the best in the nation. Along with her single-season records, she recorded the second-highest slugging percentage in school history. Schroder’s .473 batting average was fourth in the country, while her team-leading 40 RBI — including an Ivy League-leading 33 during conference play — and .525 average with runners in scoring position highlighted her ability to produce runs for the team.
Ultimately, Schroder’s historic junior season concluded in a fitting number of accolades, including Ivy League Player of the Year, National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I All-Northeast Region First Team and a unanimous First Team All-Ivy selection.
Head coach Jen Williams described Schroder’s incredible junior season.
“I think that performance last season was one of the best hitting performances in the country by a Division I softball player; there’s no doubt,” Williams said. “She was an incredibly high impact athlete who really helped get us to where we ended up last season.”
Loghan Thomas ’20 noted Schroder’s dedication to her sport and how she always worked to improve her game.
“I don’t think there was anybody on the team that had a better work ethic than [Schroder] did,” Thomas said. “She lived and breathed softball. Sometimes you would just walk by Leverone [Field House] at night, and she would just be in there hitting reps.”
Although Schroder has always been gifted in the physical aspects of the game, Williams attributed some of Schroder’s junior season success to adjustments she made on the mental side.
“She worked on her mental discipline [and] mental tools,” Williams said. “I think the mental aspect of the game was something she really dedicated a lot of effort to her junior year, and that really showed on the field.”
Schroder headed into her senior season with high expectations, as she was among the top 50 student-athletes named to the USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List. However, Schroder was unable to build upon her historic junior year after the softball season was cut short due to COVID-19.
Although she did not get to showcase her talent as much as she hoped this season, Schroder remained committed to her off-field relationships with teammates. Thomas explained that Schroder was vital in keeping the team — in particular the senior class — as close as they were.
“[Schroder has] kind of been a rock to hold our class together,” Thomas said. “I think we’ve gone through our ups and downs, but through all of it, she’s intensely loyal and has all of our backs, and [she] does an amazing job of making us all feel connected.”
Schroder said that she made most of her favorite Dartmouth softball memories off the field with her teammates, and she takes immense pride in her relationships with them.
“I think the softball team is known around Dartmouth to have a very good culture, where the teammates are all really good friends and close,” she said. “I’d say my favorite thing about being on the softball team at Dartmouth is having that reputation and then getting the chance to uphold it every day.”
Because of the discrepancies between the Ivy League and other NCAA schools’ spring sport eligibility rules, Schroder cannot continue to play softball at Dartmouth. She is, however, considering using her final year of eligibility at another institution while pursuing a master’s degree. She hopes to decide which school to play at within the next two weeks.
“I think that she deserves the opportunities that are coming her way,” Williams said. “She has great graduate opportunities at some of these institutions, and I really hope that it works out for her because she really deserves to have that final year and be able to pursue her graduate work at the same time.”