Pro softball life suits former BH star fine
It seems like yesterday when Randi Rupp was pitching for Barbers Hill softball.
Rupp helped lead the Lady Eagles to the Class 5A state semifinals in 2014 and parlayed her prep career into a scholarship and stellar career at Texas State.
Today, she is paid to play a sport she loves as a member of the Cleveland Comets in the National Pro Fastpitch league. As she competes in her second year there, Rupp’s life has begun to take new paths and shape itself into new challenges.
And she wouldn’t want to have it any other way.
With the Comets, 5-8 as of Friday, she was 0-3 in this young season, with a 2.49 ERA having thrown 19.2 innings after going 4-11 with a 4.13 ERA her rookie season.
It has been quite the change.
“It’s a big step and kind of reminded me of when I made that step from high school to college,” Rupp said. “I kind of got beat up my first year and I am trying to figure out what works for me and figure it out by myself. That’s the biggest thing. I went from having a twin sister (Sara) playing with me and a coach calling everything for me in college to now I have to remember what the batter did the previous at-bat, myself. Last year I struggled trying to figure out that type of stuff.
“Sara was attached to my hip, so it’s been a learning experience which is good for me. One day she isn’t going to be attached at the hip, but we are still roomies now.”
Sara and Randi are twins and the both currently live in Center, Texas.
“I told her I would pay her be my bullpen catcher,” Rupp said of her former backstop at Texas State. “She didn’t take that offer very well.”
Without her lifelong catcher and with her Cleveland coaches expecting her to figure out a lot of the little things on her own, Randi Rupp believes she is turning the corner.
“I’ve struggled a little bit,” she said. “I’ve only given up one home run while last year was terrible having to adjust to all the hitters. I was spoiled a little bit having Sara there my whole life.
“It’s like facing a No. 4 hitter one through nine. You are playing the best of the best and you have the international teams coming over to play.”
She admits that the big city feel of Cleveland is something she isn’t used to even if she lived 30 minutes from the hub of Houston.
“I am not a huge city girl; I mean where am I from?” Rupp said.
Her teammate, pitcher Sierra Hyland, has appreciated the role Randi Rupp has played for Cleveland.
“Randi is an awesome pitcher and all-around teammate,” Hyland said. “She is a very humble individual on and off the field. Having her as a fellow teammate this summer has been great especially talking pitcher to pitcher, we are able to talk about the mental game of pitching.
“We always have something to exchange back and forth, whether if it’s about hitters coming up in the lineup or the umpires’ zones. I’ve had fun this summer sharing the field with her and excited for what it is come this season.”
While all this softball has been going on, Rupp is also getting ready for an October wedding to fiancée Johnathan Hennigan and has been able to work around the distractions since the NPF campaign began earlier this month.
“I did a lot of the wedding stuff in the offseason, so I haven’t had to worry about it,” Rupp said.
“A lot of that stuff was done before I came out here. I have great support back home helping me with stuff I don’t need to worry about.”
Her and Hennigan will get married and live in Center, her fiancée’s hometown.
As softball continues for her, Rupp has to also start looking at her life without softball. One that doesn’t include coaching, despite it always being an option.
She also plans to travel with Hennigan while he plays within the Philadelphia Phillies baseball organization of Major League Baseball. He currently plays for their AA team in Reading, Pennsylvania.
“My degree was in business management, but I don’t know exactly what I want to do with that,” she said. “I guess I will have to be a big girl and grow up, which I absolutely refuse to do right now.”
She doesn’t know how much longer she will play, let alone in the NPF as she eyes a possible move overseas.
“I am not ready to hang it up just yet,” Rupp said. “Oh, I still love it. I am not ready to get a big girl job.”
To watch the Comets and the NPF visit https://www.flosoftball.com/events/6472520-2019-npf-schedule/schedule?utm_campaign=2019npfseason&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=profastpitch.com&utm_content=website&rtid=&coverage_id=.
The Cleveland Comets website with Rupp’s stats and the team’s schedule can be found at https://clevelandcomets.us/.
The Comets next play Monday at 7 p.m. against the USSA Pride.