ROY — MaCauley Flint is tough.

Not just throw-a-softball-faster-than-some-people-drive tough. Not just dive-in-the-dirt, head-first, collision-guaranteed tough. And not just run-as-fast-as-you-can-for-as-long-as-you-need-to tough.

Flint is pitch-until-your-arm-aches, hit-until-you-have-blisters, ignore-doubters-and-haters-with-equal-energy tough.

But maybe what the winner of this year's Deseret News Ms. Softball Award does best, however, is see a light at the end of any tunnel.

Obstacles, at least in MaCauley Flint's eyes, are just opportunities. As long as there is one more out, one more pitch, there is a way.

"She is the fiercest competitor I've faced in all the years I've coached," Syracuse coach Kelly Anderson said of the Roy High standout. "She can beat you on the mound and in the batter's box. She has an unbelievable drive to win."

And even when MaCauley Flint was just a towheaded preschooler, she was showing her competitive fire in just about every way possible, according to her mom.

"She's always been a natural perfectionist and leader," said Angie Flint. "She always wants to beat the boys at school; she's just always had that drive."

Her focus, drive and competitive nature make her a natural in a sport like softball, where one bad play, one mental lapse, can lose a game. And nowhere is Flint's determination more apparent than when she's in the circle.

"From the time she was 10 years old she's known how to win games," said her father and Roy assistant softball coach Travis Flint.

But MaCauley isn't just blind ambition or unbridled passion. She is also focused and disciplined in ways that other teenage players might not even understand.

The senior, who will play for Salt Lake Community College next year, was walked more than 20 times this season and did what many young hitters cannot — exercised patience.

"That's crazy uncommon," said Roy coach Amanda Koford, who is also her aunt.

On the mound, Flint finished the season 23-1 with an ERA of 0.84. She had 200 strikeouts in 136 innings as she led the Royals to the 5A state title, her second championship in three years. She was just as effective offensively with a batting average of .484, knocking in 29 runs and scoring 34 more in the process.

"She's definitely the best pitcher in the state," said Murray coach Lisa Parker. "She's got the stuff, and not just only pitching, but she really hits well, too."

Flint has had quite a career. She led the Royals to a 4A state title her sophomore year, pitching five straight shutouts. Last year the Royals didn't lose until Bingham beat them twice in the state tournament for the 5A title.

Flint and her teammates took the pain of that disappointment and funneled it into positive improvement. They worked hard and were better friends off the field in an effort to claim the 2011 state title.

Her teammates call her a "mentor and big sister."

Koford once said that Flint exhibits determination, grit and wisdom that exceed her years.

"She's a determined soul," said Koford. "Anything she really, truly wants to do, she's going to do. She doesn't stress out about things. She knows what she has to do and she just gets it done."

An honor student, Flint enjoys photography and dancing when she's not trying to figure out ways to improve her game. MaCauley's mother, who has watched her daughter deal with the pressure, the pain, the fatigue and the joys of sport, has been both surprised and delighted by her daughter's success.

"I am just in awe of her," said Angie Flint. "Just to see her grow as a person and as a woman. It's been so fun to see her grow and get better and better. I am just proud of her. I often think, 'What did Travis and I do to deserve such a neat girl?' We are so blessed. I look at all that she's accomplished, and she's just beginning."

email: adonaldson@desnews.com

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