MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota Golden Gopher softball added four student-athletes to their 2018-19 roster. Head coach Jamie Trachsel and her staff welcome Natalie DenHartog, Emma Burns, Emily Hansen and Ali Lindner.
“It is with great pride and a tremendous amount of excitement that we welcome our 2018 class and their families into our Gopher softball Family,” said Trachsel. “All of these young women bring with them a tremendous amount of passion for the University of Minnesota and our softball program. I have no doubt they will make immediate contributions on and off field as we challenge for excellence in the classroom and championships on the field.”
Emma Burns | Infield/Utility | Rapid City, S.D. | Stevens High School Burns is a two-time All-State honoree following a decorated career at Stevens High School. “I fell in love with the city and campus, it felt more comfortable to me than any other campus,” explained Burns. “The softball program and facilities stood out to me as something I wanted to be a part of and playing in the Big Ten was more than I could have dreamed of.” The infield/utility player helped the Raiders to a 48-8 record in her final two seasons. Besides softball, she captured a seventh place state finish in the triple jump at the 2015 state track meet.
Coach Trachsel on Emma: “She is a natural athlete with a world of potential, having great eyes and soft quick hands. Her ability to learn and make adjustments quickly will allow her to make big gains in her growth and development as a freshman. Her desire, commitment, dedication, and work ethic will be determining factors in not only her immediate impact, but her overall career in this program. We are very excited about all the attributes this young lady brings with her to Gopher softball, and look forward to being part of this time period in her life as she challenges for greatness and contributes to the overall success of the program.”
Ali Lindner | Outfield | Sioux Falls, S.D. | Harrisburg High School A slap hitter and outfielder from Sioux Falls, S.D., Lindner brings depth to the lineup. Playing for the South Dakota Renegades, she helped the squad to a ninth place finish at PGF Nationals in 2017, a runner-up finish at the 2016 PGF Nationals and USA Softball of South Dakota 14U, 16U and 18U State Champions. "I am excited for the amazing opportunity to help build this team and the program they have," explained Lindner. "I chose Minnesota because of the family atmosphere, the coaches and the opportunities for future occupations." As an honor roll student, she also participated in varsity track where she won the state disc competition in 2017.
Coach Trachsel on Ali: “Ali is a great addition to our program, specifically the outfield and line-up as she is a powerful athlete with deceiving speed, and strong arm. Her sacrifice, commitment, and aspirations have brought her to Minnesota softball. I have no doubt she will do whatever it takes, for however long it takes to maximize her ability for the betterment of our team to help us win on a regional and national level. We look forward to working with Ali and being part of her journey and collegiate experience as she embodies the standards and expectations of a winner and this program. Her energy, class, humbleness, and character will be a true asset to Gopher softball.”
Natalie DenHartog | Infield | Hopkins, Minn. | Hopkins High School A two-time All-Conference honoree from Hopkins, Minn., DenHartog adds a strong presence to the infield. “It has always been a goal of mine to compete against the best competition and the opportunity to do that and represent my home state was one that I couldn’t pass up,” said DenHartog. Her junior year she posted a .500 batting average, .587 on-base percentage, .960 slugging percentage and drove in 32 runs. A varsity athletics academic distinction honoree and 2016 All-State tournament team member, she helped Hopkins High School to back-to-back Section 6AAAA titles and a fourth place finish at state her sophomore season.
Coach Trachsel on Natalie: “Natalie is a gritty, tough, and hard-nosed player who is capable of playing multiple positions and playing them well. Her confidence, humility, and poise will allow her to make big strides physically and mentally as a freshman. We look for Natalie to add depth and strength to our infield and line-up as a strong all-around athlete who runs very well. There’s no question she will excel on and off the field and represent Minnesota softball with the upmost respect.”
Emily Hansen | Infield/Outfield | Buffalo, Minn. | Buffalo High School Remaining in her home state of Minnesota to fulfill her lifelong dream of being a Gopher, Hansen’s discipline and work ethic will help her excel both defensively and offensively. Hansen helped Buffalo High School to three state tournament appearances, including a Class AAAA runner-up finish in 2016. She also was named to the 2017 MSHSL Softball State All-Tournament team following her teams fifth place finish last season. “I chose the ‘U’ because my whole life I have dreamed of being a Gopher,” said Hansen. “Born and raised in Minnesota I will be proud to wear the Maroon and Gold.”
Coach Trachsel on Emily: “Emily is the kind of player you want to coach and have on your team. She has great discipline and work ethic and excels in every area of her life. Her dedication and love for softball and Minnesota softball will continue to be her foundation as she continues her development as a defensive player and dangerous hitter. She comes to our program as one of the best hitters in the state of Minnesota and we look forward to adding her bat to an already explosive line-up. Her character, passion, and pride are exactly what being a Golden Gopher is about.”