High school softball: Macauley Flint fires two-hit shutout as top-ranked Royals keep rolling
ROY — Roy's Macauley Flint demonstrated why she's one of the state's best pitchers Thursday, leading her Royals over the visiting Brighton Bengals 3-0 in the second round of the 5A state tournament.
Flint fanned 10 Bengal batters in a complete-game, two-hit shutout, her 16th shutout of the season.
"She's such a composed girl," Roy head coach Mandy Kofford said. "She seemed nervous before the game, which made me nervous, but she got it together. She can pitch through anything."
The Bengals only got a runner as far as second twice. In the bottom of the first, Flint issued a walk to Brighton's leadoff batter, Lauren Miller, who advanced to second on a fielder's choice from Marissa Egbert. After that, Flint dialed in and struck out the next two batters to end the Bengals' scoring opportunity.
Flint also struck out the game's final two batters to kill any Brighton rally attempt after Shelbi Everett singled to start the seventh inning and advanced to second on another fielders' choice.
"I think I was kind of too amped up the first batter," Flint said. "My dad (assistant coach Travis Flint) called over to me and told me to breathe and calm down, and that's what I concentrated on doing the rest of the game."
All of Roy's run production came from the seven through nine holes in the bottom of the order.
"We are really lucky because everyone in our lineup is strong. We don't have any soft spots," Flint said. "As a pitcher, it makes it so much easier to throw when you have good defense and batting to support you."
The Royals put the first runs on the board with a two-out rally in the bottom of the second. With nobody on, Bryce Mitchell hit a hustle double to left field. Breeane Vandersteen fought off some good pitches from Brighton's Sierra Nielson to smack an RBI double of her own and advanced to third on the throw home. Freshman Jordan Barrera followed that with a RBI single to give the Royals a 2-0 lead after two innings.
"I was just thinking I need a base hit and really need to get my player home," Barrera said. "No mercy."
Errors hurt the Bengals, who racked up three in the game on defense and led to Roy's third and final run in the fourth. Mitchell struck out, but made it to first on a dropped ball at home. She headed to second on a nice sacrifice bunt by Vandersteen and ended up going all the way to third by hustling when the throw was behind her. She came home on a sacrifice fly from Barrera, who pounded the ball to left.
Top-ranked Roy won the 4A state championship last season and is poised to repeat at the 5A level this year.
"That's the beauty of softball," Flint said. "This year we've played 3A Bear River and they're great and we've also played tough 4A teams. The move up didn't really change anything as far as competition."
The Royals will now face the Taylorsville Warriors on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at the Valley Softball Complex.