“Mentally disciplined” is how Sara Rupp, Texas State softball signee, is described by her junior softball coach, Mark Tucker. Rupp, a catcher, has played with her twin sister, Randi, her entire life, but she has developed her own identity on the field.
Sara had to make an early decision in high school at Barbers Hill. She played both softball and volleyball until her sophomore year, when she realized softball was more of a year-long commitment.
“The volleyball coach was not too happy about it,” Sara said. “It was mid-season and he wanted me to be committed to that sport. But I thought about it and said, ‘I’m not going to play volleyball in the future,’ so I just focused on softball since that was my future.”
Both Sara and Randi committed to Texas State their sophomore year of high school, and it was always in the cards that they would attend school together. Sara says the two mentioned the possibility of attending different schools, but it was never an actual discussion when it came to their final decision.
“Texas State was just perfect where it’s at: far from home but close enough to come home, and so it just fit,” Sara said. “We went up and just visited. It was just beautiful and right for us.”
Sara and her sister have always had a close bond, and it’s mimicked on the field by their catcher-to-pitcher relationship. The catcher and the pitcher have to have a deeper mental connection to attack each batter.
“I learned quickly with this kid that she had a good mind for it, so I let her (call the game), and she kind of grew into it,” Tucker said. “We would talk between innings about certain pitches, about how to attack certain hitters.”
Tucker quickly learned to entrust Sara with the responsibility of making in-game decisions as opposed to making them himself.
During one summer with the Texas Bombers, Sara’s sister, Randi, got injured and was unable to play. Tucker referenced this moment as a turning point for Sara’s maturity.
“She wasn’t sure if she was really happy playing,” Tucker said. “They are really close with each other, and she really had to work at it. I remember at one point she had to skip a tournament. She took a weekend off, and I talked to her about it.”
Tucker explained to Sara that she would have to learn to persevere without her sister eventually and that this was a good opportunity to start that process. Sara used it to catapult herself and become one of the veteran presences Tucker entrusted to speak to her incoming Bomber teammates.
“She really gave a great speech,” Tucker said. “She talked about how much it meant to her, how much she loved the game, loved her sister, and she had learned that she needed to put herself out there.”
Despite Barbers Hill finishing just short of a state championship, Sara says she’ll remember playing one last season with a group of players she had played with her whole life.
“This was our last year, so we gave it all or nothing, and the determination between all six of us seniors—it was awesome,” Sara said. “Any day could have been our last day playing together, so we just wanted to go as far as we could.”
The drive of the family-like unit and the fan base at Barbers Hill will be things Sara misses most when she joins Texas State.
“These kids are wanting to learn, wanting to get better, and they’re willing to work at it,” Tucker said. “The group of them are unbelievable. They almost know what they’re going to do before they do it.”