June 10, 1995 in Washington Voices

Valuable Sisters Palmer Siblings Clutch Players For Wv Softball Teams

By The Spokesman-Review
 

When West Valley shortstop Peggy Palmer was named the Frontier League’s most valuable player, she was merely carrying on a family tradition.

Her sister Tanya, who completed her collegiate softball career this spring at Spokane Falls Community College, was Frontier MVP as the Eagle shortstop in 1993.

Peggy, who said she always wanted to emulate her older sister, did so two years later.

The pair became the first sisters at West Valley to earn MVP honors in the same sport and at the same position.

“I don’t remember a sport where two people from the same family became MVP their senior year,” said Eagle softball coach Steve Kent. “It’s hard to say, but it’s never happened here.”

Where the fiery Tanya was more aggressive and sports-oriented at an early age, Peggy came to excel in the sport gradually by learning from her sister.

“I was more ballet,” said Peggy, who was a cheerleader this year at WV. “She showed me how to play, I liked it and decided to follow in her footsteps.”

As a junior at WV, the heavy-hitting Tanya already had shortstop sewn up when Peggy got to high school, so she played a variety of varsity positions her freshmen and sophomore years.

After her sister went on to SFCC, Peggy moved into the shortstop position as a good fielding, if light-hitting junior. This year she committed just one error and displayed pop in her bat, hitting .560.

“I think I stopped thinking about it so much and went up knowing I could hit,” Peggy said.

The Palmer family is close-knit and sports-oriented. Joe and his wife Margie are West Valley graduates. He played baseball and continues to play recreational softball. The kids followed suit.

Margie has been WV’s softball scorekeeper for the five years the Palmer girls played shortstop.

“The story I’ve told,” said Kent, jokingly, “is that Tanya was a junior varsity player until I found out her mom could keep score.”

The parents have tried to keep sports in perspective, accepting disappointments and accolades in stride.

“All I told them was to go out and enjoy the game,” Joe Palmer said. “If you can’t enjoy the game don’t play.”

The sisters not only have enjoyed themselves in softball, but excelled at the sport.

Tanya was a three-time all-leaguer at WV. She was an all-conference outfielder at SFCC her freshman year. But she wasn’t named first team at shortstop this season despite potential MVP numbers (that honor went to Everett CC pitcher and University High School graduate Tammy Bradstreet).

Tanya committed just three errors and led the league with a .489 batting average. She drove in 23 runs, hit 14 doubles, three triples and a home run and had a .749 on-base percentage.

She shrugged off the slight as one of those things.

“It was a big disappointment, but that’s sometimes how it goes,” Tanya said.

There has been no rivalry between the two sisters. Tanya has been Peggy’s biggest supporter and Peggy attributes her success to her sister.

“When Peggy was athlete of the week and Tanya was a senior it would have been easy for her to be jealous,” said Joe Palmer. “Tanya was right there cutting out her clippings. There’s a lot of love between those girls.”

Tanya will continue playing softball at the recreational level. Peggy will follow her at SFCC.

Kent said that players like the Palmers are the reason coaches do what they do.

“They are an example of what is right with young people today,” he said. “They are good students and exceptional people.”

And in the eyes of Frontier League coaches, most valuable softball players.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo


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