Derek Palmiere stands out from the crowd in more ways than one.
Not only has the Calgary native turned heads with his ability to play multiple positions on the baseball field, but many of his teammates and coaches also notice the smile plastered on his face.
It’s also hard to ignore the 18-year-old, as he stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 165 pounds.
Palmiere says his family moved to Okotoks when he was in Grade 10 and the move paid off in a big way. In late-March, he signed his Letter of Intent with Williston State. The Tetons have had an eye on Alberta in recent years, bringing in fellow Dawgs alumni like Ben Tighe, Dayne Fredland, Parker Maxwell, Ethan Jarvis and Riley Rowland.
“Derek is a tonne of fun to be around and a very hard worker,” Dawgs Academy general manager Tyler Hollick said in a text. “He has been a great representative of our program for over six years now, both on and off the field.”
The coach is also excited about Palmiere’s versatility, recently transitioning from catching to the infield and is even pitching in some situations.
“He has worked extremely hard to turn himself into a college-level infielder with a ton of upside on the mound,” Hollick continued. “He will hit and showcases above-average arm strength across the diamond and on the mound.”
Here’s what Palmiere had to say when we posed a series of questions to him in a few Instagram messages.
Q: Why Williston?
A: My old teammate Kobe Fredland goes to Williston now and told me great things about it.
Q: Tell us a bit about the process of being recruited. Were other schools interested? What went into your decision-making process?
A: My coaches at Dawgs Academy talked to the Williston coaches and sent them some video of me. I talked to other schools, but I thought Williston was best for me.
Q: How did you get into baseball in the first place? Who was instrumental in getting a glove on your hand?
A: When I was a little kid my parents would take me to my cousin’s games and I fell in love with the game.
Congratulations @DerekPalmiere for signing his commitment letter with Williston State College in ND.
Years of perseverance and hard work, on and off the baseball diamond! Big shoutout to the @DawgsAcademy for their amazing program!
— 🇨🇦 Dean Palmiere (@dpalmiere) March 22, 2020
Q: How excited were you to put pen to paper on the Letter of Intent?
A: Signing was very exciting, especially since it was during quarantine. It got me excited for next year since we don’t know if we can play this year.
Q: What has your experience at Okotoks meant to you?
A: I’ve played for the Dawgs for six years now and it has been the best experience of my life. My coaches and teammates have helped me to get to a level where I can play college ball.
Q: Any coaches or teammates you wanna single out for helping you along the way?
A: All my coaches in Okotoks have been so great. It’s very hard to single out one as my favourite.
Q: Any favourite memories of your time in Okotoks?
A: My favourite memory in Okotoks has to be watching the college team win the WCBL last summer.
Q: What had been your favourite baseball moment to date?
A: I would have to say winning provincials in 2017 with the Bantam Black team.
Q: How have you been spending your time in the midst of the pandemic?
A: There has been a lot of hitting off the tee in my backyard. Occasionally, I’ve been able to go to the ball diamond by the Okotoks Rec Centre to play catch.
Q: What does the game of baseball mean to you?
A: Baseball is so much fun. I love being able to make memories with my teammates and learning to overcome challenges that come my way.