Maggie Gallagher probably shouldn’t be playing softball today, let alone count herself among Washington’s top prep players this season. She has her adoptive parents — and an incredible drive to succeed against all odds — to thank for the student-athlete she’s become.
The Burien (Wash.) Kennedy Catholic senior shortstop was left in a box on the street in China as a newborn, and she weighed just 14 pounds, battling a bout with bronchitis, when Ed and Mary Gallagher adopted her in 2000, according to the Seattle Times.
“My (birth) parents gave me up for a reason,” Maggie told the Seattle Times. “I’ve always felt loved and wanted, so I never thought about that much.”
As detailed by the Times’ Solange Reyner in a wonderful feature on the University of Washington commit, neighbors gave Gallagher a bat as a toddler — a seemingly strange gift for a 2-year-old that paved the way for one heck of a softball career.
“I loved that bat,” she told the paper. It remains in her possession.
Now, Gallagher wields a mightier bat, recording a .725 batting average last season to go along with 42 runs scored and another 34 driven in, leading the Lancers to a 17-2 record. She logged 25 extra-base hits in 51 at-bats — a 1.705 slugging percentage. She also played for the TC/USA Nationals Fastpitch champion Northwest Bullets this past summer.
— Taiki Green (@itstaiki) March 19, 2016
“She’s so mentally tough, hardworking, driven, she wants to be the best player on the field in all ways,” longtime Kennedy Catholic coach Dino Josie told the Seattle Times. “She’s the most skilled softball player we’ve ever had here.”
Much of that toughness came from playing as the only girl on baseball teams until her freshman softball season, according to the feature. “Some of the guys put me down, wouldn’t play catch with me,” she added, “and that bothered me.” Not anymore.
“One of the boys hated me with a passion and last year I asked him why and he said ‘Because you were better than me,’ ” Gallagher told the Seattle Times. “But you know what, I liked beating out the boys.”
The girls, too, it seems.