Freshman Parlich shows skills on softball field

Freshman Danielle Parlich fields a ground ball between innings on Saturday afternoon at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.

James Healy

Freshman Danielle Parlich fields a ground ball between innings on Saturday afternoon at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.

Matt Greenstein

Danielle Parlich spews words out of her mouth at such a fast rate her teammates said they canâÄôt ignore them. Parlich, or âÄúNelâÄù as her family and friends call her, has given the Gophers an upbeat but gritty presence in the dugout. âÄúWe joke about this all the time. SheâÄôs just really boppy, and [we joke], âÄòSheâÄôs a freshman.âÄô We can definitely tell that sheâÄôs a freshman. SheâÄôs goofy and she keeps it lighthearted in the dugout,âÄù sophomore Sara Groenewegen said. Though Parlich is a typical freshman in the dugout, she acts anything but her age on the field. The second baseman is hitting .391 and is leading the Gophers with 45 hits on the season. She drove in five runs in her first collegiate game. âÄúSheâÄôs a very mature player. She doesnâÄôt play like a freshman at all. SheâÄôs really polished, both offensively and defensively. SheâÄôs very confident âÄî very few times have I seen her frazzled,âÄù head coach Jessica Allister said. Senior Kaitlyn Richardson said ParlichâÄôs competitive drive has been part of her character for as long as theyâÄôve known each other. In her time at Basha High School in Arizona, Parlich played on a club team called the Arizona Hotshots, which Richardson also played on and then coached for three years. âÄú[Parlich] was competitive and just did a great job for us in high school, and I didnâÄôt think [playing in college] would be a problem for her at all,âÄù Richardson said. âÄúI told everyone she was going to come in and get on base every time. I was excited for her, and I was excited that she was able to make that transition.âÄù While playing in high school, Parlich wasnâÄôt yet exposed to the hectic and overwhelming schedule of a student-athlete at a university. But since coming to Minnesota, Parlich has adjusted well. âÄúPractice, now, is every single day, and IâÄôd say that in college, it takes up a lot more of your life, which I enjoy a lot. IâÄôve always enjoyed playing softball,âÄù Parlich said. While adjusting to the college style of living was relatively easy for the freshman, the change to collegiate softball proved much harder. âÄúI knew coming in, ahead of time, that it was going to take a lot of work and a lot of dedication,âÄù Parlich said. She said having a strong support group was vital, and she relied on her older sister, Sam, and her father, Keith. Sam Parlich played softball for Arizona State University from 2009-13. Both Keith and Sam ParlichâÄôs contributions have helped Danielle Parlich progress into one of the GophersâÄô best all-around players this season. âÄúItâÄôs awesome to see her where she was and now where she is,âÄù Groenewegen said, âÄúespecially from the beginning of the year.âÄù Even though she has less than a full season of games and training under her belt, Parlich has made an immediate impact. âÄúSheâÄôs just so good at all aspects of the game. SheâÄôs got a great bat and obviously can slap and hit away. She runs the bases extremely well, and sheâÄôs got a great glove. SheâÄôs really softball- savvy,âÄù Allister said. Though ParlichâÄôs stats are impressive, Richardson said she gives the freshman advice to stay humble. âÄúItâÄôs a different level, playing in college, and you canâÄôt be outcome-oriented. You have to be process-oriented. Sometimes the ball is going to go your way, and sometimes youâÄôre going to crush the ball to the wall every time and itâÄôs going to get caught,âÄù Richardson said. Parlich has taken the advice to heart but has put her own spin on the seniorâÄôs words. âÄúI feel like overall the big message has been, âÄòIf you make a mistake, just come right back no matter what,âÄôâÄù Parlich said. âÄúâÄòGive it your all because thatâÄôs all you can do, and thatâÄôs all you can ask for.âÄôâÄù