NDSU catcher Hansen finds strength on the field from her escape off the field

FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) -- Senior catcher Maddie Hansen transferred to North Dakota State her junior season from a community college and quickly started to make an impact. Playing 24 games at catcher and scoring 21 runs for the Summit League champions. But it wasn't all smooth sailing in the transition.

"I struggled a little bit last year, just overthinking things," Hansen said of her first year with the Bison.

Turns out the fix, was just a piece of home.

"My dad brought my bow up here for me and I went to a shooting range up here and then on my off time, instead of overthinking I just went and shot bow and it kept me relaxed," the Iowa native explained.

When she isn't gunning down runners on the base path, Hansen is most at home hunting.

Shotguns, and later bows, have been a major part of her life for most of her life, but it was something she had to fight for.

Her parents telling her when she was young, that it was a guy's thing.

"And I was like, 'mom, why is it only for the guys? Why don't you go?' And she was like, 'well he's going shotgun hunting for deer.' And I was like, 'well I want to do that."

It started with target practice and soon enough her dad had her out there, she was one of the guys. Hunting deer and turkeys, she's also added muzzle-loader season to her schedule; as well as, a welcomed distraction when she finds herself overthinking things in softball.

She says it keeps things simple.

"Just the crisp mornings, and the cool air. Seeing nature and just being in that environment and seeing the animals interact. It's just cool to me," Hansen says of her time hunting. "It's unique and it's something that I get to do with my dad."

As she stares down the barrel of her final season of college softball, she says maybe the only bright side is the time she'll get back out in the field with her dad.

"I'll be able to help do more of the dirty work, which I guess they're probably happy that I'll be home for instead of, I would just show up hunt, and they'd be like you get a deer and we don't? Come on!"