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Prep softball: Viewmont’s Larsen amazes at the plate, in the field

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Paul Fraughton | Salt Lake Tribune Viewmont High School slugger Caitlyn Larsen who will play softball for BYU next year. Wednesday, May 8, 2013

By Christopher Kamrani

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published May 12 2013 03:49PM
Updated Dec 7, 2013 11:31PM

Bountiful • How good is Caitlyn Larsen?

There have been moments when senior captain Emily Robb is in her crouch behind the plate and Viewmont’s star shortstop makes a play that causes even the umpire’s jaw to drop.

There have been moments when Larsen makes a strong-armed throw across the diamond or legs out a triple in the corner, and Robb just shakes her head.

"All day, every day," Robb said about the amazement she gets watching Larsen. "Does that count?"

It counts.

Larsen, a junior team captain on a 19-2 Viewmont Vikings team who has committed to BYU, is a can’t-miss player in Utah softball. Here’s the proof: She’s batting .621 and has 12 homers, 10 doubles, 5 triples and 43 RBIs.

"I’m pretty picky," she said. "I’m patiently aggressive."

And she doesn’t chase pitches out of the zone, teammate Eliza Thronley said.

"It’s crazy," the junior pitcher said.

So is Larsen’s statistical line.

On a team loaded with talent, the shortstop is her own highlight reel as described by her coach, Brad Jones. An all-state athlete in basketball, Larsen’s athleticism lends well to her playing the most crucial position on the field.

"When she showed as a freshman," Jones said, "I knew we had a gem."

She’s the quarterback of the Viking defense, calling out specific positions and defenses, but as her coach and teammates say, Larsen is a goofball when she sees her team needs to share a few laughs.

"She just wants to be laid back and have fun," Thornley said.

"The team responds to her," Jones added.

Speaking to the volume of Larsen’s talent is her quick recruitment process to BYU. She said the program noticed her a few times last summer while she played in some high-profile tournaments out of state.

She heard there was interest, emailed the powers-that-be, took an unofficial visit and signed on the dotted line.

But there’s a minor caveat to Larsen’s career continuing at the Division I level.

"I’m actually a huge Utah fan," she said, "so it’s kind of weird."

Larsen credits her development on the field to her growth spurt from her freshman year, which has helped expand her hitting capabilities at the plate. She has 41 hits and has struck out just twice in 66 plate appearances over 21 games.

"A lot of it’s sheer talent, and she has a very good head for the game," Jones said. "I can ask her to do anything and she’ll do it."

That includes being moved up to No. 3 in the lineup to avoid teams pitching around her in the cleanup spot. It also helps to have freshman Riley Tyteca, who has hit 13 homers, protecting her.

The game comes rather easily to Larsen, and as her Vikings strive for their first state crown since 2003, the shortstop who does it all will be in the thick of things.

"Most of the time," Jones said, "she’s in a position to just go, and she does."

ckamrani@sltrib.comTwitter: @chriskamrani

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