ROY -- It was a jaw-dropping year for the Royals' MaCauley Flint.
Flint, a junior right-hander, allowed just 10 earned runs in 149 innings. She threw a perfect game against Taylorsville -- a 2-0 victory -- on May 19 in the state 5-A tournament at Taylorsville's Valley Complex and recorded 16 season shutouts.
The 17-year-old blonde fireball also rang up 304 strikeouts with a stellar 0.46 earned run average.
But Flint was sorrowful over undefeated Region 1 champion Roy High not closing the deal -- sweeping the 5-A title -- in its first season competing with the big dogs.
"The season was a success even the way things turned out," she said. "Only having one loss going into the championship game (against Bingham) was pretty awesome; not a lot of teams can say that. Going undefeated was never a goal, and I loved how competitive this team was."
The Royals needed to beat Region 3 champion Bingham just once on the state 5-A tournament's final day, but May 20 turned out to be Roy's day of infamy.
Roy was manhandled 6-0 by the two-time defending 5-A champion Miners, necessitating a second game. Flint would watch that 2-1 setback to Bingham as a spectator, unable to pitch with an injured right thumb.
X-rays taken May 21 at Roy's Ogden Clinic Grand View showed the tip of Flint's thumb was shattered.
"My dad (Travis) said everything that could have gone wrong in the first game went wrong," Flint said. "We had (four) errors and we couldn't hit the ball (getting just four hits). During warmups before the game, the coaching staff knew we weren't geared up. Bingham was already in game mode (following a 2-0 win over Fremont). We knew we should have been and we weren't."
Flint got injured on a check-swing, foul tip on an inside pitch -- the ball would have hit her had Flint not swung -- in the sixth inning and was unable to finish her at-bat.
"Oh gosh, it killed me knowing I couldn't be there for my team," she said. "It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do; I felt like I let them down.
"It's been a tough pill to swallow," Flint said. "I'm glad I'm a junior and I have another year with them."
Compiling a glittery 23-1 won-loss record and leading the Royals to a school record 26 victories, Flint is the 2010 Standard-Examiner All-Area Softball Team's most valuable player.
"When I first took my (batting) glove off and saw my nail just hanging there, I started panicking not knowing how bad it was," she said. "When my dad told me to go find the (team) trainer, I knew it was bad.
"I was nervous not knowing if I would be there 100 percent and not giving my team my best effort," Flint said. "After they drained it and started squeezing my thumb to get the blood out, that's when I could feel it. There was no way I wouldn't try everything I could to play in that game.
"We got a mitt and I tried slingshot to my dad for three balls. When he walked away, I knew I was done."
Realizing her thumb was broken didn't lessen the anguish Flint felt.
"It helped me knowing that I wasn't a wuss, but it didn't take away from not being able to play," she said. "I would like to think I would have made a difference. (Sophomore right-hander) Jamie (Aiken) did so well in that second game. She did more than anybody ask her to.
"I never want to feel like I did in the 6-0 loss to Bingham in the state championship game and not be celebrating at the end," Flint said. "That will give me more drive in the offseason to get as strong as I can, work on my mechanics and try to perfect everything I can to not let it happen again."
"I am in no way disappointed in MaCauley," Roy coach Mandy Koford said. "In that second game against Bingham, the girls were playing for MaCauley. She made sure they were a close group this year. They played great and Jamie was amazing in that second game."
Flint's pitching repertoire includes a riseball, curveball and a lethal change-up.
"My dad, Stan, taught her that change-up. I could never pick it up," Koford said. "MaCauley had great movement on the ball, and she could keep anyone in the state off-balance. She has total control of every pitch, hitting spots when she needs to.
"MaCauley got more stubborn this year and was bound and determined not to let teams score," she said. "MaCauley thought if they can't score, we can't lose."
Flint says the highlight of the 2010 season was the perfect game versus Taylorsville.
"I've never done it before and to get one in the state tournament was pretty special," she said. "We didn't realize how big it was going undefeated in Region 1; it was a goal of ours to win region.
"The three seniors who played were big for us," Flint said. "Even having a great season, there is still a bad taste in our mouths. If we come back as determined as we were this season, we'll be fine."
Flint started slingshot pitching with her grandfather, Stan Flint, at age 11.
"I always played up when I was younger, getting a better understanding of the game," she said. "I started throwing a riseball when I was 13, and my change-up was later than that.
"It was my ninth-grade year when I knew softball could take me places," Flint said. "I take two months off from softball, usually in October and November, and then I'll start throwing again in December.
"I've talked to a few in-state schools," she said. "A lot of e-mail communications and it's getting exciting. Right now, I want the family support, but I haven't narrowed it down. I'll play at the next level; it depends on where and with whom."
Away from softball, Flint wishes she could be a better dancer and appear on "So You Think You Can Dance." Her worst habit is popping her knuckles, multiple times a day.
* Flint's bucket list: "I want to go sky diving. I want to swim with dolphins, and I've only been to the ocean one time and that was last year. It would be cool to throw the first pitch at a New York Yankees game."
Back to softball, "MaCauley would be the first to say she is not a finished product and would like to pick up more speed," Koford said. "I expect a bunch of hungry and determined girls to come back next year.
"I was a little nervous on how she would handle the pressure of being our top pitcher, but never once did MaCauley doubt herself or the team we put on the field," Koford said. "I think her ability to keep teams from scoring was the biggest accomplishment. MaCauley wanted to be the ultimate showstopper; she has a lot more confidence than I did."