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Prep softball: Tyteca a potent bat in Viewmont’s lineup

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Paul Fraughton | Salt Lake Tribune Viewmont freshman Riley Tyteca has hit eight home runs in her team's last eleven games.

By Jennifer Gustavson

Special to The Tribune

First published Apr 10 2013 02:04PM
Updated Apr 10, 2013 02:04PM

Riley Tyteca’s basement is unfinished, and it’s going to stay that way.

After all, there’s no better place for the Viewmont slugger to hit a few fastballs.

"My dad will throw me live pitches downstairs after practice," Riley said. "Once, we broke some plaster off the ceiling, so we framed it and hung it on the wall."

Riley’s backyard, too, is a softball training center, equipped with three batting cages and enough space to smack balls into the open fields surrounding their house.

A few holes in the wall never have been enough to keep the Tytecas from hitting and pitching their way to the top.

Riley comes from a long line of Tyteca softball phenoms, including older sisters Shasta, Shelbi and Bailee, who all took their game to Utah State.

"I’ve been playing since I was 4," she said. "I’ve always loved it and loved seeing my sisters play. Now it’s my turn for some fun."

If by fun she means dominating, then mission accomplished.

Tyteca, only a freshman, leads the state in home runs with eight this season, including three in one game against Olympus on March 20.

In short: Tyteca is a game-changer, and her team knows it.

"Riley has given us a boost. It just shows it doesn’t matter what age you are," said Catie Larsen, a junior shortstop who has verbally committed to BYU. "We all strive to hit like her."

"She’s just a dangerous hitter," catcher Emily Robb said, "so I’m glad she’s on my team."

But Tyteca isn’t the only formidable force at home plate.

The Vikings boast a solid one-through-nine hitting lineup that also includes Larsen, Robb, Amanda Varley, and Kellie Williams.

The proof is in the numbers.

"Any of us can get up there and make an impact," said Larsen, who has three home runs, two triples and seven doubles entering the week. "We’ve got slappers and soft hitters, and any of us can hit it out of the park. We’re unpredictable."

"Our coaches have told us if we can score 10 runs a game, we’ll make it," Robb said. "We know even when we’re down, we have the power to come back."

Viewmont’s strength is in its bat, to be sure, but hitting also is its best defense mechanism. While the Vikings have a solid pitcher in Eliza Thornley, they lack the luxury of a backup in the circle.

"So it’s our job as hitters to back her up and make her job a little easier," Robb said.

Tyteca can take it home from there.

"I think I’ve taken some people by surprise, but I know a lot of the girls we play against," she said. "They already know what I’m about."

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