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Youthful Bishop Garrigan ready for state softball

ALGONA — The Bishop Garrigan softball team made history with their regional final victory over AGWSR.

Now, the young Golden Bears are hoping to pull more upsets at state.

Ninth-ranked (Class 1A) Bishop Garrigan (29-6 overall) will face off against No. 3 Clarksville (31-1) in the quarterfinals at 1:30 p.m. on Diamond 2 at Rogers Park.

With a thrilling 1-0 victory over defending state runners-up AGWSR in the regional final, the Golden Bears punched their first-ever ticket to state. Amanda Miller fired a one-hitter, facing the minimum 21 batters thanks to her stellar defense.

“It’s such an awesome feeling,” Miller told KLGA Radio after the game. “We talked early in the season that this is our goal. We have no seniors and have nothing to lose, and we wanted to make it become our dream.”

Miller, one of seven seniors-to-be who serve as leaders for the team, is 24-5 inside the circle this year with a 2.56 earned run average. Opponents are batting just .230 off her, as the BGHS defense carries a .932 fielding percentage into state.

“Our defense has been so strong all year,” Miller said. “We make the plays that come to us.”

The offense is led by twin sisters Madison and Mackenzie Meister, as the juniors have collected 116 hits, driven in 73 runs and stolen 58 bases. Mackenzie leads the team with five homers and is hitting .500, and Madison leads with 36 steals with a .492 batting average.

Emma Fogarty, another junior, recorded the lone RBI vs. AGWSR. She is batting .365 with 33 RBI and 26 steals. Aubree Altman and Jordan Hansen are two more 11th-graders that have played vital roles this year along with sophomores Bailey Meister, Tara Kron and Gracie Elsbecker. Eighth-grader Ashlyn Hovey rounds out the starting lineup.

“I am so proud of our team,” Fogarty said. “It’s really unreal. We knew at the beginning of the year this is what we wanted.”

Bishop Garrigan head coach Wendi Meister has three daughters on the team in Madison and Mackenzie, along with sophomore Bailey. Assistant coach Denise Hovey’s daughter is Ashlyn.

And the family tree runs even deeper within BGHS athletic as Wendi’s husband, Rob, is the long-time head baseball coach, and Rob’s brother, Mark, recently led the boys basketball team to the state tournament.

The Golden Bears have won six in a row and 19 of their last 22 overall to set a new single-season school record for wins. They have also been tested this year with games vs. third-ranked (3A) Humboldt, No. 15 (4A) Webster City, eighth-rated (2A) Central Springs and No. 6 (3A) Waterloo Columbus on the schedule.