When athletic milestones at the University of Alabama take place, usually football and basketball come to mind. However, Sunday evening in Tuscaloosa, it was all about a different program and one Crimson Tide player in particular.
Montana Fouts, Alabama softball star and pitcher extraordinaire, celebrated her 100th career win Sunday. Fittingly, it was in front of a home crowd and her last game at Rhoades Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
Fouts, who has been fighting through a knee injury, spoke about her mindset going into her final home game.
“I have been telling myself and everybody else that I’ve felt like a million bucks for the past couple of weeks and I’m sticking with that,” she said. “Everything, every single thing that’s happened — the injury, the conversations, the losses — I’d do it all over again 14 times because that has brought us to this moment.
“And I think that all of those things are why we’re going to the Women’s College World Series.”
— Alabama Softball (@AlabamaSB) May 29, 2023
Fouts, who signed with Bama when she was just 14 years old, was the Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year (2016–18), the USA Today All-USA High School Player of the Year (2018), and the MaxPreps National Softball Player of the Year (2018).
In her freshman year, she completed the season with a 1.39 ERA and a 21-6 record over 181.2 innings. She struck out 193 batters and held hitters to a .175 average.
Because Fouts’ sophomore year was shortened by the COVID pandemic, she only managed a 3-3 record with a career-high 2.04 ERA and 41 strikeouts.
The success returned her junior year as she led the Crimson Tide to its first SEC title since 2012. Fouts was named the tournament MVP with a tournament-record 39 strikeouts. During the season, Fouts went 27-4 with a 1.61 ERA and 349 strikeouts.
This season, Fouts is 25-10 with a 1.48 ERA and NCAA-leading 319 strikeouts in 223 innings. She earned four SEC Pitcher of the Week awards and led the SEC in strikeouts. Fouts has been named as a top-25 finalist for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year and a second-team All-American.
Her 100 career wins are fourth all-time for Alabama behind Shelly Laird (115), Kelsi Dunne (113) and Jaclyn Traina (106). The 319 strikeouts is eighth-most in a season for a Tide pitcher.
The win Sunday clinched a Women’s College World Series berth for Alabama and its 14th appearance in the tournament. The No. 5-seeded Tide opens at 11 a.m. Thursday against No. 4 Tennessee. The game will be carried on ESPN.
Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.