SALT LAKE CITY — Sometimes what a team needs isn't what an individual wants to give.

But great players not only put the team first, they understand that as much as hard work, excelling at one's assigned role is the epitome of teamwork.

This year's Deseret News Most Valuable Players put their teams first and found individual success. A speedy centerfielder, two talented pitchers and a catcher who knows how to lead in difficult times are this year's most valuable players in prep softball.

5A

Malia Campos, Murray

From the moment Malia Campos put on a Murray softball uniform, she's had an impact on the team's success.

"All four years she's been completely awesome defensively," said Murray head coach Lisa Parker. "She's made unbelievable catches all throughout her career."

The senior's speed in the outfield gave her teammates a lot of confidence — even if the high fly balls were on their way over the fence.

"Yeah, she dives, even over fences," said Parker with a laugh. Campos helped the Spartans to a second-place finish this season by taking advantage of her speed in the outfield and at the plate.

She earned 22 stolen bases and scored 49 runs. She finished the season with a .491 batting average and 27 RBIs.

When the pressure was greatest, Campos came up biggest. In the playoffs her batting average was .714 with a slugging percentage of 1.000. She had nine stolen bases, six RBIs and 11 runs in the five games.

"She brings a lot to us," said Parker. "She's just so stinking athletic."

So athletic, in fact, that she switched from being a right-handed batter to swinging from the left side. She struggled at some points last year, but it paid huge dividends this season, said Parker.

"Without her we would not have gotten as far because of all the things she did," Parker said. "I can't imagine the season without her. I can't imagine it with her gone. She's a ton of fun, and the younger kids have learned from her."

4A

Lyndsey Healey, Spanish Fork

Spanish Fork head coach Don Andrews normally calls the pitches thrown by the Dons in a softball game. But during region, his pitcher was frustrated and Andrews took a chance.

"I told (catcher) Lyndsey (Healey) to go ahead and call the game," he said with a little laugh. "And the first game she called, she called a no-hitter."

Healey's rapport with junior pitcher Kailey Christensen enabled the Dons to tie for the region title and then go on to win the 4A state championship. Christensen pitched every inning for the Dons and credited her teammate with helping her physically and mentally.

When asked what it means to a team to have a great catcher, Andrews asks, "What does it mean to a car to have tires? Without a good catcher … we'd have gotten by, she helped keep everybody happy."

And as any coach knows, good chemistry off the field often translates into on-field success.

Andrews said the honor student is a happy, friendly girl, until she walks out onto that dirt.

"When she takes a swing, it's a swing," he said laughing again. "She's pretty serious out there."

Healey will play at Salt Lake Community College next season with Campos, and Ms. Softball MaCauley Flint.

"She's a very good athlete, and she could really play any position," he said. "If I hadn't needed her at catcher, she'd have played outfield. She's a Kamikaze-type outfielder. There is no fence that would have stopped her."

3A

Jordan Theurer, Bear River

Jordan Theurer is only a sophomore, but she plays with maturity that exceeds her 15 years.

"She may well be the best player I've coached if she continues to develop," said Bears head coach Calvin Bingham. "She's confident; she understands the game, and she's just a natural."

Bingham actually coached Theurer's father 35 years ago and said softball is in her genes.

"She's really athletic," he said. "She played basketball and when they put her in, I thought things happened. She has the ability to rise to the occasion. When the situation is tough and things are tense, she gets tougher."

The honor student had a .523 batting average, and in fact, her bat was so valuable, they had her hitting in games even when she didn't pitch.

She finished with 11 doubles, three triples and two home runs. In the circle she earned a 16-3 record.

Despite her youth, her teammates respect and listen to her.

"I think everybody respects her because she is such a tremendous athlete," he said. "She fit in really well, and I had a lot of talent this year."

2A

Abby Bayles, San Juan

The road to a state title isn't always smooth. But for the San Juan Broncos, that path was made better by the chemistry of this year's title team.

"This is one of the funnest years I've had," said Broncos head coach Craig Swenson. "I didn't have hardly any problems. They came to practice and worked hard and the seniors took care of a lot of that other stuff."

The seniors, including this year's MVP Abby Bayles, made it a point to befriend and include everyone off the field.

"She was one of the leaders on the team from the first week that we started," he said. "They started doing extra activities outside the ballpark, and I think that really carried them a long way as far as team unity."

Bayles finished the season with a .338 batting average, including two triples, five doubles, four home runs and 14 RBIs. In the circle, she was the team's defensive leader earning 103 strikeouts.

Bayles graduated with a 3.7 GPA and will head to Utah State next year.

"She's extremely easy to coach and asks a lot of questions," he said. "She's a good girl and kids like her. On the field, she didn't get rattled very easy."

e-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com

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