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Before the season began she was named on every media outlets preseason All-American team. Major college coaches began recruiting her when she was in middle school.
Fouts' senior season has ended with accolades piling up like her strikeout numbers: Kentucky's Miss Softball 2018 honor, USA Today Player of the Year, FloSoftball All-American honors and Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year for the third-straight year. She's a four-time MaxPreps All-America, the MaxPreps National Sophomore of the Year and has been featured in Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd.
And those are just the major honors. She's been all-conference, all-region, All-State and player of the game more times than people can count.
Fouts can now add 2018 MaxPreps National High School Softball Player of the Year honors to her list of accomplishments.
In 2018, the Alabama commit went 37-1 with a 0.09 ERA while striking out 481 in 232 innings. She also batted .566 with 12 home runs and 71 RBIs as tiny East Carter went 41-2 and finished in fourth place in Kentucky's state tournament.
Fouts is a seven-year varsity player. There's no award for that … just a testament of her talent. And maybe a little awe.
"I remember those first few varsity games," said the 6-foot-2 Fouts. "I was constantly falling down, not just running or fielding, but even when pitching."
Fouts has come a long way since that first varsity season in 2012 when she was 2-0 with a 0.88 ERA and four strikeouts in eight innings.
Her career totals would burn out most calculators: 148 wins against 15 losses; 1,964 strikeouts in 1029 innings. She pitched 39 no-hitters, including 23 perfect games. And in those 1,000-plus innings, she walked 88 and allowed only three homers.
Of the 2,779 batters she faced, she struck out two-thirds of them. Opponents batted .111 against her and just 0.82 this season.
According to the Kentucky High School Athletic Association record book, Fouts' 0.09 ERA is a single-season state record and her 37 victories and 481 strikeouts rank second all-time for a single season. Middlesboro's Danielle Gilbert had 39 wins in 2004, and Elizabethtown's Whitney Valentine struck out 527 in 2003.
"I met her in sixth grade and then she grew six inches one summer," said East Carter coach Derek Calhoun. "She was a regular as a seventh-grader and just kept getting better. I've never seen as good. Never seen an athlete or player of her type. She is a once-in-a-lifetime player."
Calhoun added that he was a former football coach, but has seen maybe one or two others as competitive as Fouts. And she has been that way since he met her 10 years ago. It was noticeable, he said.
"You could see the potential early," said Calhoun. "Her father, Tim, started her young doing mechanics and drills. She had a lot of stuff down in fifth grade that you are trying to teach older middle-school pitchers."
Fouts, who was born in West Virginia, but moved to Kentucky when she was 10, played in her first travel ball tournament at 7. It's a memory Tim Fouts fondly recalls.
"She was pitching well and the other team got the tying run on third so their parents started to get on her, but she didn't let it bother her and we won the game," said Tim Fouts, her only pitching coach. "They thought they were going to rattle a 7-year old, but she's always been that way. You can't tell whether she is winning or losing."
Alabama coach Patrick Murphy was the lucky college coach to land Fouts and he did so when she was an eighth-grader. Fouts said her college decision was easy.
"It sounds cliche, but as soon as we left Alabama during a visit, I knew it was the school for me," she said. "The coaches are great, volunteers are awesome. It's all about family and helping you grow as a person and a player. I want to be a college coach and I can't think of a better place to be."
The feeling is mutual for Murphy.
"The kids want to play behind her," he said. "She is a great teammate, nice kid to be around and the sky is the limit with her potential. I've watched her pitch three years in a row at the state tournament and East Carter is the smallest team in the division … literally the movie 'Hoosiers' where the small school prevails."
East Carter, with an enrollment of 400, often played — and defeated — schools with enrollments upwards of 3,000 students.
"She has good demeanor and competes on every pitch," added the Crimson Tide coach. "Pitching is a difficult position to recruit as you never know how it will translate from high school and summer ball to college. But we sure like her as a pitcher and a hitter."
The Beverly Bandits won the 2018 Premiere Girls Fastpitch Nationals against the best teams in the country with Fouts pitching. After dropping their initial game of the PGF finale, the Bandits roared their way into the championship game by virtue of a 10-game winning streak.
"She's the best in the country in 2018," Beverly Bandit coach Eddy Ketelhut said. "I don't care what anyone says. The kid's gritty, she's selfless and she works harder than anyone. She put us on her back."
Known for her tremendous pitching speed, Murphy says there is more to come.
"She has great form and we think she can add more speed and movement with our strength and conditioning programs," said Murphy. "She has a terrific curve."
Calhoun says her best pitch is the rise ball. Fouts says it's the peel drop.
Fouts is likely the hardest throwing prep pitcher in the country as she has been clocked on numerous occasions at 72 mph.
Curve, peel, rise, 72 mph … look out SEC, here comes Montana Fouts.
When asked her greatest accomplishment thus far, she says "getting a chance to play softball in the SEC."
Fouts said a key to her success is more drill work than actual pitching. While most pitchers practice their long toss from second to home, she is doing long toss from foul pole to foul pole.
"She works harder than anyone I know," said Calhoun.
Her best softball memory?
"There are two — winning the PGF Nationals last summer and winning our high school district tournament in 2016," said the 18-year-old Fouts, who also carries a 3.8 grade point average.
Her "most forgettable" memory?
"When I was 12 and had a growth spurt. I grew six inches and couldn't pitch and run," said Fouts. "I kept falling down."
Fouts doesn't fall too often these days and has a lot of giant steps ahead of her. Among her goals are to be a member of the 2020 U.S. Olympic team when softball returns to the Olympics in Tokyo.
"I plan on trying out in 2020," she said. "There are a lot of great pitchers who will be trying out, but it will be at least a good experience for 2024 if I don't make it."
Fouts will get international experience in Tokyo next month when Alabama travels to play two games against New Zealand and two against Great Britain as those teams prepare for the World Championship, which will bring 16 national teams to Japan. Alabama departs July 25 and return Aug. 4.
Fouts, daughter of Tim Fouts and Stephanie Williams, said she loves all things about softball and one day hopes to be a coach.
"I love it all — the travel, the competition and it's a team sport," she said. "I've been fortunate to play with the best teammates. … I love playing with them."
She said inspiring young girls and playing for others is what motivates her to be successful.
"Softball has taught me never to give up," said Fouts. "Hard work pays off."