BOUNTIFUL There might not be a more soft-spoken athlete in the state than Pleasant Grove shortstop Lisa Castleberry.
The ninth-grader doesn't say much, but she doesn't need to. She did her talking with her bat, glove and arm in leading Pleasant Grove to a 2-1 mild-upset victory over Viewmont in the first round of the 5A softball tournament on Tuesday afternoon.
Pleasant Grove advances to play reigning champion Taylorsville on Thursday, while Viewmont drops to the one-loss bracket to face Copper Hills.
Castleberry drove in the game-winning run with a single to left field in the top of the seventh. The hit capped a fabulous day for her at the plate, as she went 3-for-4 and drove in both of the Vikings' runs.
"Lisa is just so quiet," said Pleasant Grove coach Kale Gillman. "You can't get her to say boo, and then she's the one who pulls through. You never know who's going to be the hero, and she was the hero today for sure."
Castleberry also got her pitcher and fellow ninth-grader Angie Mikalauski out of a jam in the bottom of the seventh. Mikalauski walked Viewmont catcher Brooke Olsen to lead off the seventh, and allowed pinch runner Holly Ritz to advance to third with one out.
Viewmont looked to be in good position to tie the game when Cina Cummings hit a hard grounder to Castleberry, but she fielded it cleanly and threw Ritz out at home to preserve Pleasant Grove's slim lead.
"It was fun making plays," Castleberry said.
Pleasant Grove had to overcome one last bit of trouble to put the game away. Viewmont had runners on first and second with two outs in the seventh. Sophomore first baseman Sammi Dodson, a grizzled veteran by Pleasant Grove's standards, made a tough play on a grounder hit by Viewmont's Megan Peay and beat her to the bag to put the game away.
Pleasant Grove was the lower seeded team in the battle of the Vikings, but it didn't feel like an underdog coming into the game. Pleasant Grove's players got a surprise when Viewmont ace Shelbi Tyteca, hobbled by a biceps injury for much of the season, pitched against them. But they kept their poise against the four-year starter to defeat her.
"We were pretty confident," Castleberry said. "We were just out there to be relaxed and have some fun, and play a good ball game."
Mikalauski was solid in the circle, as she struck out nine and allowed just five hits. Tyteca was impressive in defeat, as she struck out the side in three innings and finished with a total of 12 strikeouts.
Tyteca is an intimidating presence, but maybe the young Pleasant Grove team just didn't understand it was supposed to be scared to play on Tuesday."It was a good thing we went by the junior high and picked up some strays," Gillman joked. "We're a pretty young team. I think these kids just don't know how to give up.
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