MaKenna Partain’s demeanor works with children and softball

Partain is second on the team in batting average among players with at least 30 games.

Infielder MaKenna Partain swings during a game against Northwestern on Saturday, April 15, 2017 at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.

Carter Jones, Daily File Photo

Infielder MaKenna Partain swings during a game against Northwestern on Saturday, April 15, 2017 at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.

Drew Cove

The future for MaKenna Partain could go many ways, but working with kids will be part of the plan.

“I’m hoping to become a family therapist, more so work with children. I am also minoring in child psychology,” Partain said. “Hopefully [I’ll] be working with children, picking their brains a bit.”

Minnesota’s second baseman is a leader on the field, but her plans after college and softball go further than the game. Partain and the Gophers take on Iowa on the road starting Thursday in another three game Big Ten.

The Banks, Oregon native said she’s always had a connection with kids and can communicate well with them. On top of her interactions and affection for her younger cousins, Partain found a special relationship with a child close to the team.

The second baseman would drop everything to see pitching coach Piper Ritter’s daughter, she said, no matter what is happening at the time for her — in softball or in school.

“I love kids, like absolutely adore kids,” Partain said. “I’m just that type of person.”

The Minnesota athletics department puts on the annual HopeDay Festival, a community service event highlighted by student-athletes interacting with kids and families from the HopeKids organization. Partain, one of those student-athletes, said that’s the best volunteer event she gets to do with kids.

“Easily the coolest experience I’ve ever had,” Partain said. “All the teams will each have stations and we’ll get to interact with all different types of kids and do all of these fun things with them. It’s honestly one of the best days of the year.”

Partain hasn’t ruled out the possibility of coaching someday as well in the future.

Being a leader with kids can help her in her sport, too. Partain said she helps encourage the teammates behind her in the batting order to get through their at-bats and play well overall.

“She’s always there for you, she always has your back,” catcher Kendyl Lindaman said. “That’s just a confidence booster for everyone else on the team.”

Lindaman said Partain’s skillset is complete and is impactful on both offense and defense.

She is third on the team in batting average, hitting .352 and has missed only three games this year. She scored 28 runs so far, almost at a rate of one RBI per game. Partain also is second on the team in stolen bases, 7-8 on stolen base attempts this season.

Head coach Jamie Trachsel said, along with Lindaman, that Partain is calm and cool in demeanor. Partain said she never likes to get too high or too low and can help the team with her even keel.

“She can do everything, especially as a lead off,” Trachsel said. “She can steal bases, so there’s not much more you could ask for.”