Gallentine chooses Muskingum Univ.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Taylor Gallentine surveyed a plethora of schools when searching for a place to land as a collegiate softball player. But just one checked off all the boxes for the St. Clairsville senior.

Muskingum University will be Gallentine’s destination following an exhaustive hunt that included various schools throughout the tri-state area.

“It’s close to home,” said Gallentine, the OVAC Class 4A Player of the Year. “And their softball team has very successful the past few years.”

The Muskies, under the guidance of Head Coach Kari Winters, played host to the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament for the first time in 11 years this season after posting a conference mark of 15-3. Muskingum finished the year 31-11.

“I was looking for a school that offered a lot academically, was relatively close to home and had a successful program,” Gallentine said.

Marietta, Point Park, Ashland, Akron, Wilmington, Cleveland State and Youngstown State were also on Gallentine’s radar.

“I’m glad she decided on Muskingum because it’s closer and, more importantly, I feel it’s a great choice academically,” said Rob Gallentine, Taylor’s dad and her head coach last season.

“Coach Winters has been in contact with Taylor for a long time and really has shown genuine interest in her as a player and a person.”

Taylor Gallentine earned second team all-Ohio honors this spring after batting .587 in 20 games with 32 singles, 10 doubles and two triples. She also registered 18 RBIs and scored 25 runs from her shortstop position.

“I think I became stronger and more accurate with placing the ball offensively,” Taylor Gallentine said about her success in 2019.

Coach Gallentine pointed to his daughter’s work ethic as a source of continued improvement.

“She has hit in Cambridge with her travel ball coach every winter since she was 9,” he said. “Then, she would transition into high school open gym (which is optional) and never missed a high school open gym that I can recall.”

This past season was a unique one for the Gallentines, one that saw them working side by side at the prep level for the first time. Taylor said it was worth it, while Rob said he treated his daughter like any other player.

“We would have conversations about past and future practices and I would listen to her input because she does have a very high softball IQ,” Coach Gallentine said.

“But I attribute our successful year to the entire team because it bought into what we were trying to accomplish. All the girls worked very hard.”

Taylor Gallentine is eager to take her talents to Muskingum and help that program continue to thrive.

“I talked to Coach Winters about playing as a freshman in center,” she said. “She said I have a very similar skill set as their graduating centerfielder, but no spots are guaranteed.

“If I work hard, I may be able to start.”

Taylor, who is undecided on a major, is also the daughter of Cindy Gallentine.