Schultz, who faces the decision of turning pro or returning to school, has a two-year-old daughter
OMAHA, Neb. — When junior Scott Schultz closed out Oregon State’s first win at the College World Series since the program won a national championship in 2007 — an 11-4 win against Louisville to avoid elimination — he was pitching for more than Oregon State.
After Oregon State home games, players exit the locker room to a swarm of people. Some are greeted by parents, friends or fans.
Scott Schultz has a different type of visitor than his teammates.
Anxiously awaiting his appearance at every home baseball game is Madison, his two-year-old daughter.
“She comes up and gives me a hug when I come out of the locker room,” Schultz said. “She puts a smile on my face, win or lose.”
Madison — whose last name is Snell, the name of her mother and Schultz’s girlfriend, Allison — was born in 2010, during the fall of Scott’s freshman year.
Scott was 18 years old. Allison was 19.
Allison opted to stay with her daughter in Scott’s hometown of Gig Harbor, Wash., where she could be closer to Madison’s grandparents.
Meanwhile, Madison’s father was a full-time student and member of the Oregon State baseball team. The change was new, and wasn’t always easy.
“That first year she changed so much,” Allison said. “I tried to get down there at least once a month, whether it was just me or with Maddy, but I think it was really hard for him to see her change so quickly and not be able to be there for it.”
The difficulty of balancing all of the responsibilities — a college student raising a newborn daughter and playing baseball — showed early in Scott’s career.
He experienced success on the field, finishing 4-1 with a 3.61 earned run average in 52 1/3 innings, but struggled in other areas.
“He was just like a lot of freshmen where you have to be a lot of places at a lot of times, unlike high school where you don’t have that constant accountability,” said Pat Casey, OSU’s head coach. “He had to be reminded a few times how to balance everything. For most people, that’s something you’ve got to learn.”
The following year, Allison and Madison moved into Scott’s Corvallis apartment. Suddenly, both Scott and Allison were going to school in addition to raising their daughter, and Scott was still playing baseball.
The two were forced to grow up faster than the average college student, especially Scott, who still wasn’t accustomed to living with his daughter.
While the three were now farther away from their family in Washington, Scott and Allison made things work.
“It was a lot to try to juggle school, baseball, spending time with Maddy and everything that comes with all those different aspects,” Allison said. “I think he handled it pretty well. He’s a great dad and I think he grew up pretty quick.”
As the family of three settled into their new lives, Scott became comfortable on the field as well. While he threw less innings than his freshman season, the right-hander found his role with the Beavers, working as the team’s best reliever out of the bullpen.
He racked up a 3-1 record and 2.56 ERA in 45 2/3 innings as a sophomore. He excelled in Pac-12 play, holding opponents to a .122 batting average, culminating in 8 2/3 innings of two-run baseball against No. 3 LSU in OSU’s final game of the season.
As Scott improved as a pitcher, he matured as a man as well. Casey saw drastic changes after the right-hander’s first year at Oregon State.
“He’s matured a bunch,” Casey said. “He knows how much respect I have for family, and him taking responsibility as a man to make sure [Madison’s] taken care of is great to see.”
That maturity carried over to the present, Scott’s junior year.
Scott accumulated a 2-1 record and 2.08 ERA in 43 1/3 innings in his 2013 campaign.
Allison and Madison go to every home game, rooting for number 24.
“I think she went to her first baseball game at four months old and I think she’s been to almost every home game since,” Scott said. “She’s starting to learn how to chant and she roots for the Beavers every day. It’s pretty awesome. She’s a great little girl and I love her to death.”
Scott’s love of baseball has rubbed off on Madison, too. She’s already earned a reputation among the Goss faithful.
“She’s a well-known personality at Goss,” Allison said. “She does all the cheers and chants. The first year I took her she just kind of sat there and didn’t really get it, but now that she’s older she understands more and loves going to the baseball house, what she calls it.”
At 6-foot-2, 211 pounds, with a fastball in the low-90s, Scott was an attractive prospect for Major League scouts. The Florida Marlins drafted him with in the 17th round of the 2013 MLB Draft earlier this month.
Financially, raising a daughter can be tough — especially for two college students. Scott hasn’t decided whether or not he will leave for the minor leagues or return for his senior season at Oregon State.
Whatever he chooses, his family will support the decision 100 percent.
“If he decides to go to the Marlins we would be very supportive,” Allison said. “I would probably stay home until he gets his situation firm and secure and he knows where he’s going to be. But we will definitely be making a lot of trips out if he does decide to go to the Marlins.”
At the moment, Scott and Allison’s lives rotate greatly around baseball and Oregon State. At some point, potentially when both are out of college and financially secure, the two hope to settle down more permanently.
“In the future we hope to get married and all of that kind of stuff down the line,” Allison said. “But right now, it’s all about baseball and I’m OK with that. I’m a baseball girlfriend.”