By Jean DePlacido
---- — Tawny Palmieri had the kind of season every college softball player dreams about.
The Merrimack College senior captain from Peabody led the Warriors in just about every batting category this spring. In doing so, she put her name in the school record books as one of the top 10 ever in seven different offensive categories despite only playing there for three years.
Palmieri, who began her college career at UMass Amherst before transferring to Merrimack, immediately started piling up the accolades with her new team. She became a Northeast-10 All-Conference First Team and Daktronics All-Region Second Team selection in her first year with the Warriors.
The shortstop-turned-third baseman was named to the All-Conference First Feam once again this year, and just found out a few days ago she has been selected to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Region First Team.
“It’s a nice way to end the season with those two big honors,” said Palmieri, who graduates this Sunday with a degree in sociology and education. “Making the NFCA First Team means I’m eligible to become an All-American. I don’t think that will be decided until the NCAA tournament ends, but it’s all really exciting.
“Playing at UMass was a great learning experience for me, but I’m glad I transferred. It worked out perfectly; I met a lot of good people I will be friends with for the rest of my life. It’s nice to know I’m in the record books for a lot of things, and I can’t help thinking I could have been on more lists if I played here my whole career.”
Palmieri got off to a fast start this spring and never cooled off, finishing with a .432 batting average for a Warriors team that finished 21-22-1 (11-9-1 in the conference). She led the team in batting average, slugging percentage (.728), on-base percentage (.510), runs scored (31), hits (54), RBI (34), doubles (9), homers (8), total bases (91), walks (21), sacrifices (2), stolen bases (11), total plate appearances (151), at-bats (125), games played (44) and games started (42) and also tied for first in triples (2).
“For Tawny, it’s one more honor to cap off a great career here,” said Merrimack head coach Jim Cardello after her All-Conference selection.
“I even think I could’ve done better,” admitted Palmieri. “I never look at my stats during the season because it messes with my head if I do. When I checked them out after it was over, I was surprised to see how many categories I led the team in.”
The former Peabody High softball and basketball star also worked hard in the classroom at Merrimack and will have two days to celebrate her graduation before starting classes toward a Master’s degree in education.
“I got into the education fellowship program at Merrimack and will finish in a year,” said Palmieri. “It will be all paid for, which is great. I’m going to be helping coach Jody Norton at North Shore Tech/Essex Aggie for the rest of the season, then coach a summer softball team in Danvers. I know I definitely want to be a softball coach.”