Heading into postseason play, hopes are high in Tuscaloosa for the No. 5-ranked Alabama softball team (41-10, 16-8 SEC) and star senior pitcher Montana Fouts.
Fouts, last year’s NFCA Pitcher of the Year and a first-team All-American, delivered her 17th complete game of this season Sunday in Alabama’s last regular-season game, a 3-1 series-clinching win against No. 23 Missouri.
“For Montana to do what she did today, I thought it was great,” Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said afterward, via RollTide.com. “She’s a senior with a lot of video scouting on her and it’s hard to surprise anybody with anything, so credit to her.”
— Alabama Softball (@AlabamaSB) May 8, 2022
Fouts and her Crimson Tide teammates now turn their attention to the SEC and NCAA tournaments. They captured the SEC title a year ago thanks in large part to Fouts’ tournament-record 39 strikeouts through 20.2 innings pitched, yet fell short in the Women’s College World Series.
Fouts was relied on heavily this season, and delivered with a 1.97 ERA, a 22-5 record and 254 strikeouts. Just like last year, she’ll be the key to Alabama’s postseason success. But she hasn’t let the pressure to perform get to her. Instead, she’s leveraged her growing platform for good.
When the NCAA got rid of rules last summer prohibiting collegiate athletes from making money off of their name, image and likeness, Fouts took advantage. She launched a website, MontanaFouts14.com, where fans can buy custom-designed apparel with Fouts’ signature slogan: “Be The Blessing.” Fouts also designated a page on her website to explain how the slogan originated.
“Over the past year with things being very unpredictable, I prayed to Be The Blessing for anyone I crossed roads with,” Fouts wrote. “I was thanking God for all of the blessings in my life; from all of the amazing people I am surrounded with all the way to the opportunities with softball I used to dream about — and still do.”
She continued later, “You can’t always control when or how things happen, but you can control how you handle things and how you make others feel. Everyone I come around, I want to be a blessing in their life. I encourage you to do the same — Be The Blessing!”
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A particular passion for Fouts is inspiring young girls to pursue their athletic goals while following Christ. After last season concluded, she spoke at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes event near where she was raised in Grayson, Kentucky. In a story for Birmingham Christian Family in March, she was asked about sharing her faith.
“I’m really grateful to have the opportunity to be an example to other people,” she said. “It’s easy to talk about my faith because without it or without God, I wouldn’t have anything.”
Fouts is also outspoken about her faith on social media, referencing the Bible verse Psalm 60:12 in her Instagram bio: “With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.”
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Thanks to COVID canceling much of the 2020 season, Fouts has another year of eligibility remaining if she wishes to return to Alabama next season. But she’s not worried about that yet.
Her attention is on the SEC Tournament, which begins Wednesday in Gainesville, Florida. Alabama’s regular-season performance earned it a first-round bye in the tournament as the No. 2 seed, so the Crimson Tide will open play Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET against either Auburn or Missouri.
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