The professional softball tale of Randi Rupp-Hennigan continues on even if there is this unplanned COVID-19 pandemic thing to ruin the momentum.
Rupp-Hennigan’s second season with the Cleveland Comets of the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) saw her numbers end up at a 5-4 overall record with a 1.81 ERA – the team’s second best. Cleveland finished 20-22-1 last season as the former Barbers Hill and Texas State hurler saw a jump in performance following her rookie season.
“My second year was a much better experience,” Rupp-Hennigan said. “I really enjoyed my teammates and getting to play with Team Mexico. I love getting to be a small part of their journey to the Olympics. I’m looking forward to this year again for the same reason.”
Rupp-Hennigan’s rookie year with a 10-38 Cleveland squad the previous summer saw her go 4-11 with a 4.13 ERA.
She was also able to play with touring Chinese (2018) and Mexican (2019) national team members during the NPF seasons and was scheduled to play with latter once again this summer, schedule permitting. The Comets are a hybrid squad of internationals and league-drafted members.
The pending season was put on hold in terms of putting together an official schedule for the summer campaign, waiting until May 1 to announce its next steps as the nation deals with COVID-19.
Still, Rupp-Hennigan is looking forward to the possibility of working with her fellow Comets soon.
“My teammates this year are a lot of fun to play with and be around and I think when you’re having fun and enjoy being out there you perform better,” she said. “Our season is scheduled to start towards the end of May through July.”
Rupp-Hennigan made her schedule even more challenging having signed with Athletes Unlimited, which is beginning its first season as a 56-player league playing a six-week schedule in Chicago from a hoped for mid-August to September calendar.
The coach-less league has a different rules and expectation-level as four teams play three games a week and earn performance points, such as a pitching win or save.
“Whoever has earned the most points at the end of the week, they are the next week team captains,” Rupp-Hennigan said. “Everybody who is playing in the league automatically get paid $10,000 for playing, then based on the points we get incentives up to $35,000. Because this is just a six-week league starting in middle of August, I am able to participate in both the NPF and this new league.”
Athletes Unlimited ranks players on a leaderboard and the higher placing, the more incentives earned. Players of the Game also get points.
“Obviously, this isn’t the only way to earn points, there are a lot of different ways you can earn them,” Rupp-Hennigan said.
For Rupp, it’s clear her playing performance is trending upward.