Class of '18: No. 13 East Carter (Ky.) softball ace Montana Fouts

Class of '18: No. 13 East Carter (Ky.) softball ace Montana Fouts

The Class of 18

Class of '18: No. 13 East Carter (Ky.) softball ace Montana Fouts

USA TODAY High School Sports is publishing a series called “The Class of 18,” highlighting 18 members of the Class of 2018 whom we will be watching in the coming year. The athletes were selected by the USA TODAY HSS staff. 

ATHLETE PROFILE:
Name: Montana Fouts
School: East Carter (Grayson, Ky.)
Sport: Softball
Position: Pitcher
College: Alabama

MORE CLASS OF ’18: See all the athlete profiles here

Montana Fouts (Photo: Kevin Goldy, The Daily Independent)

Ask Montana Fouts about her superstitions and she chuckles.

“There’s a lot of them,” she begins. “In the mornings, I try to eat the same thing. I try to put my uniform on the same way. You definitely don’t step on the lines. After every pitch, I try to walk back the same way in the circle if the ball isn’t hit.”

No matter her routine, Fouts has been one of the nation’s most dominant softball pitchers and she will enter her seventh season of varsity softball next spring. Yes, seven.

Fouts began playing varsity in sixth grade for East Carter (Grayson, Ky.). She has been named to the American Family Insurance ALL-USA High School Softball First Team each of the last two seasons.

“I feel like I should have been a senior three years ago,” she says.

She stands 6-2 and says she is consistently hitting 68 mph, but adds she is “still trying to get stronger to throw faster. I’m trying to hit 70 more.”

For her career, she has a 111-14 record with a 0.39 career ERA and 1,483 strikeouts in 797 innings pitched. As a junior, she finished 29-4 with a 0.43 ERA and 448 strikeouts in 212.2 innings

Fouts is a career .487 hitter and has driven in 205 runs with 25 home runs. This past spring, she batted .567 with 12 home runs, 16 doubles, 66 RBI and a 1.017 slugging percentage.

She said the decision to come up to varsity so young was an easy one.

“We knew it would be better competition than playing middle school,” said Fouts, who started playing coach pitch at age 5. “I think it made sense to face better hitters and get the swings that I needed against better pitchers, too.”

Being ahead of the curve also applied to Fouts’ recruiting. She committed to Alabama on Halloween in 2014.

“Being the youngest every offered by Alabama, it made me feel like they needed me,” she said. “It’s a great program with great coaches. Ever since I was committed to Alabama, I knew I was going to go there. People have asked me since I committed at a young age if I would ever change my mind and I always said no. Alabama is for sure where I wanted to go. …

“Ever since I was little, I’ve always wanted to play college softball and be someone like Jenine Finch. I wouldn’t call myself a star — not yet at least – but I’m trying.”

Fouts gained additional national attention when she threw a whopping 451 pitches in four games at the state tournament in a game. That followed her throwing a one-hitter with 13 strikeouts in a 9-0 victory against Collins the previous night. The Raiders finished 36-5 on the season and 3-2 in the state tournament.

“My arm is never hurt because I’ve thrown a lot of pitches,” she said. “I really focus on days when I have to do that I keep my mechanics right so nothing bad happens.”

Interestingly, she has taken some inspiration from Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

“I watched a video with Clayton Kershaw, and he talked about how every single pitch he’s trying to throw as hard as he can to try to strike the batter out,” she said. “So I’m going into every single pitch thinking there is no way this kid is going to get a hit off me. I’m trying every single time to make sure that doesn’t happen. But I know they’re trying just as hard to get a hit off me. …

“I’ve always thought since I was little that there will always be someone better than you so you need to be the one that outworks everybody. My main philosophy is don’t let anyone outwork you.”

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