Leading the Gophers in batting average, Ellee Jensen feels at home with Minnesota

Jensen is batting .371 as a freshman.

Freshman outfielder Ellee Jensen runs to first base in a game at Siebert Field.

Courtesy of Brad Rempel, Gopher Sports

Freshman outfielder Ellee Jensen runs to first base in a game at Siebert Field.

Drew Cove

Since its last season, Minnesota’s softball team has remained relatively the same.

One of the team’s additions stands out, though.

Ellee Jensen, the Gophers’ freshman left fielder, leads the team in batting average, .371. Now roughly halfway through her first season, she will look to continue her play when the team faces off against Michigan State this weekend from East Lansing, Michigan.

Jensen said her biggest passion besides softball is family, and while she’s from Wisconsin, she weighed those values when deciding to come to Minnesota. 

“This team here is so unique … everybody is so caring and they want the best for everyone,” Jensen said. “That’s not something you find on every team.”

Jensen is reaping the benefits of the choice to venture from Watertown, Wisconsin. Her passion for family back home has helped her get to where she is now, playing Division I softball.

The origins of her time on the field go back to her home. Jensen said her dad, Tim, coached her from when she was six years old almost until high school, when she was 12. Ellee — who got her nickname by combining her first name, Elizabeth, with her middle name, Lee — eventually said she wanted to go play on more competitive teams so she could make it to the collegiate ranks. 

Her father played baseball for a few years, and Jensen credits him with all of her knowledge about softball until she came to Minnesota.

Aside from softball, Jensen also played volleyball in high school. She received All-State honors in Wisconsin three times for both volleyball and softball, and was a four-time letter winner in each sport.

“Volleyball is a huge team sport and I think softball is as well,” Jensen said. “How to play with individuals on the court and on the field [was important to learn].”

Now that she is on the field with the Gophers, Jensen has adjusted to playing in every game for Minnesota this season. She has played alongside plenty of people with experience in the outfield, with junior Maddie Houlihan in right field and senior Dani Wagner in center.

Wagner hasn’t played as much this season due to injury, but she sees the value Jensen brings to the field.

“She’s just someone who will go out and do whatever we need,” Wagner said of her teammate. “She’s learned a lot in the short time she’s been here.”

The freshman has taken control of the Minnesota offense this season. She has 33 hits and three RBIs, plus four stolen bases on five attempts.

Beyond the offense, though, head coach Jamie Trachsel said Jensen’s commitment to the defensive side of the game and getting better overall is noticeable.

“Every day, that kid shows up, and her mentality never changes,” Trachsel said. “There’s nothing different about her approach, her mentality, how she sees something and her commitment to every single play.”