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Butler's Negley opts for Glenville

Butler graduate Makenna Negley is all smiles after signing a letter of intent to continue her academic and softball career at Glenville State College in West Virginia.

BUTLER TWP — Makenna Negley was looking for a chance. Sara Scoone was looking for a catcher.

They found each other.

Negley, a 2021 Butler graduate, hit .400 as the softball team's catcher and drove in nearly half of the Golden Tornado's runs this past spring. She was planning on walking on at Clarion University in the fall in an attempt to extend her playing career.

Those plans were recently re-routed.

Scoone had just completed her first season as Glenville State (W.Va.) College's head softball coach and was seeking a catcher while scouting a travel ball tournament in Cleveland. Negley plays summer ball for the Ohio Outlaws, a participant in that tournament.

“I was looking for other positions, too, but a 2021 catcher was at the top of my list,” Scoone said. “I had seen a profile on Makenna and asked her (Outlaws) coach if she was committed to a school. He said she wasn't.”

Negley was slated to play third base for the Outlaws that day.

“The coach asked me if I wanted to see her catch and I absolutely did,” Scoone said. “So she changed positions.”

Shortly thereafter, she altered the direction of her softball future.

Negley recently signed a letter of intent to continue her academic and softball career at Glenville State. She plans to study pre-med.

She figures to do a lot of catching, too.

“I know the opportunity is there,” Negley said. “My goal is to start next season and work myself into becoming a competitive Division II player.

“Coach Scoone wants to win a league championship sometime during my four years there. I'm definitely on board with that.”

The Pioneers were 11-30 in Scoone's first season. The team won seven of its final 10 games despite 16 of its 24 players being freshmen. Glenville had no seniors on its roster and only three juniors.

Negley said Scoone approached her after that tournament game in Cleveland.

“She invited me down to visit the campus, see the school,” Negley said. “It had everything I wanted and I felt like I could step in and play for them.”

All it took was one game for Scoone to realize she liked what she saw in Negley behind the plate.

“I could tell she was well-coached growing up,” the coach said. “Her mechanics were solid. She played with confidence. As a leader, she spoke when she needed to speak.

“She was just what I was looking for. I don't hand starting positions to anybody. Makenna will have to earn it, but the opportunity is there.”

Scoone is a young head coach. She graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan — also in the Mountain East Conference — in 2018 and was an all-conference player there.

Butler coach Cait Baxter said Negley was “in the right place at the right time” in terms of landing an opportunity at Glenville State.

“Sometimes, that's what it takes,” Baxter said. “Makenna was part of that junior class that lost out on a prime recruiting year. Every high school went through that in every sport.

“Those players were out there and they (Glenville) found Makenna. That program is headed in the right direction. Makenna is the right fit for them and that program is the right fit for Makenna.”

Negley plans to continue harnessing her catching skills.

“I'm working on improving my arm strength for throwing and I want to be able to help the pitchers out as much as I can,” she said.

Baxter has little doubt Negley will succeed in Division II softball. She played at that level herself at Slippery Rock University.

“She has everything it takes to be a good player at that level,” Baxter said. “I'm just glad to see all of her hard work paid off.

“Play as much ball as you can. That's how you get better. Makenna is a prime example of that. She's a good example for what we're trying to build with the Butler softball program, too. Work hard at it and this is what can happen.”