Tri-County Youth Sports Grant
Tri-County Youth Sports Grant Winners
Marlys Taber Watts

Described by Hall of Famer Lorene Ramsey (GPSHOF class of 1982) as the “best defensive shortstop in the nation while in her prime,” Marlys Taber Watts experienced a truly outstanding career in women’s softball. She played nine seasons (1964 – 1973) with the highly touted Pekin Lettes before finishing her career with the West Allis State Bankettes. The 1965 Lettes team (GPSHOF class of 1988) finished third in the Amateur Softball Association’s World Tournament. She was known for her speed and defensive ability and was sometimes considered one of the top two hitters in the lineup. Marlys was a five-time National Amateur Softball Association All American, twice named to the 1st team and three times selected to the 2nd team. Other recognitions included being selected to numerous All-West Central Region All-Star Teams and receiving an invitation to the USA Pan-American Games tryouts in 1979. Other noteworthy experiences on the “big stage,” Marlys participated in three National ASA All-Star Softball Series, most significantly in 1966 when she was the leading hitter with a .389 batting average. At Illinois State University, Marlys played four varsity sports, field hockey, basketball, volleyball, and softball. She was inducted into the ISU Hall of Fame in 1982. The ISU “Hall” is not the only one of which she is a member. Marlys was inducted into the Illinois ASA Hall of Fame in 1989 and the National Amateur Softball Hall of Fame in 1991.