ORANGEFIELD, Texas (BVM) — As the 2021 season approaches, Orangefield softball standout Emma Humplik is eager to hit the diamond again after a shortened junior season.
For countless individuals, 2020 has been a complete mess. And for Humplik and the Lady Bobcats, that theme didn’t change. They were off to a 19-2 start and just beginning their district schedule before the pandemic shut everything down.
As the weeks went by, the girls continued to practice on their own as Humplik and her teammates prepared for the season to resume. But the reboot would never come around. On April 17, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that all schools would remain closed for the rest of the year. The University Interscholastic League quickly followed suit and canceled the remainder of the high school spring sports season.
Following this announcement, another crucial blow would take place in Humplik’s life. She had to decommit from Texas A&M. Humplik had been committed to the Aggies since freshman season, but because of the pandemic, seniors at the collegiate level were given an extra year of eligibility to play and she had to withdraw her commitment from Texas A&M. Humplik has had family members attend the university before, so not being able to continue the family legacy and play softball there took a toll on her.
“I have a bunch of family over there,” Humplik said. “My great-grandpa was the head of the corps at A&M. So it just kind of broke my heart a bit when all that stuff happened. But I’ve become a better person because of it, especially as an athlete, and we’re moving onto something better.”
Although she had to reopen her recruitment and had her junior season canceled, she didn’t let those setbacks bring her down. In fact, she played with her select team, the Bombers 18U Gold National Team, this past summer.
Emma Humplik #12 USF commit showing her gun.💪🥎💯🚀 pic.twitter.com/b823BOSDun
— Bombers Gold 18U National CTX- Womack (@18uGoldWomack) October 22, 2020
“Summer is very important in the select world,” Humplik said. “We stayed in Texas this year because of COVID. I was with a new team, but I had a good season.”
Then came the hitting video she posted every week with hitting coach Jeremy Green. A lot of players use social media to display their abilities to college coaches and scouts.
— Emma Humplik (@emmahumplik12) July 8, 2020
“I have several girls that will DM (direct message) me and say, ‘Hey, can I send you a couple of videos so you can help me out?’ So they’ll send me videos and I’ll give them feedback and they just really appreciate it,” Humplik said. “There are girls from China and Africa and I have to translate their direct messages which is kind of crazy because you don’t realize how big of an impact you can [have] just from a social media video.”
With over 15 million views, Humplik became a viral sensation over the summer. At the time, she had reopened her recruitment and was already in talks with 15 top-tier college softball programs. But as she talked with other schools, there was another school that topped them all: USF.
“I started my recruiting process again,” Humplik said. “It was kind of stressful because I was already in my senior year. But when that video went out, several coaches actually reached out to me. Then USF came along and my select each is very good friends with the USF coach. … I was narrowing down my options and I told my parents I want to go visit these [schools]. The first stop was Tampa, Florida. So we went there and I told Coach Erickson If I’m impressed with the University as I’m impressed with the coaching staff then I would expect his offer. So I went there, about a month ago, and called him two days later and accepted his offer. That was very exciting and I’m excited to go to a bigger city.”
COVID-19 took something special away from Humplike, but it also presented her with another opportunity for her to pursue her dreams. Humplik has been welcomed with open arms, and she is ready to help the USF softball team that has won three AAC titles and has made it to the NCAA tournament three times of the last four years.
“I’m glad some of them [current USF softball players] reached out,” Humplik said. “I know going into high school or college, you feel like you don’t fit in at first. I can’t go and interact with all of them. It’s exciting and scary at the same time.”
Humplik continues to put in work no matter the circumstances. She cares about everyone around her, looks forward to the future, and will keep moving in the right direction.