The legacy of Montana Fouts


Natalie Teat

Alabama softball pitcher Montana Fouts (#14) pitching against Auburn on April 23 at Rhoads Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Dean Harrell, Contributing Writer

The Alabama softball diamond has produced many big names that will live on in history for many years to come. As the University of Alabama slogan says, this University is the place “Where Legends are Made,” which certainly remains true in the case of ace pitcher Montana Fouts. 

Being an embodiment of true sportsmanship and class throughout her career, Fouts has become one of the most renowned athletes to ever play college softball. Her character and her drive have inspired many young softball players across the country to one day be like Montana Fouts. 

Fouts has always cherished the sport of softball, making playing for the University a lifelong dream come true. 

“I didn’t start playing softball just to win a national championship. I started playing because I love it. I love the game,” Fouts said. “I love the memories. I love my teammates. I love that it has brought me a family.” 

The Kentucky native joined the Crimson Tide softball team in her freshman year of 2019, and it certainly did not take long to see that she was going to be something special. When Fouts boasted a 1.39 ERA and tallied 21 wins at the end of her season, it was evident that head coach Patrick Murphy had found himself a new ace in the circle. 

With accolades such as the SEC Freshman of the Year award, an NFCA All-American Second Team nomination and a Women’s College World Series All-Tournament team nomination all in year one, Fouts gained nationwide attention very quickly.  

After only pitching eight games in the shortened 2020 season due to the pandemic, the All-American returned to the circle in her junior year with huge aspirations. Already established as the ace pitcher, Fouts had bigger plans in mind as she was able to complete the best season of her career in 2021. 

Coming off of a much longer off-season, it never seemed to faze Fouts as she achieved career-highs with 27 wins and 349 strikeouts en route to another Women’s College World Series appearance. 

Adding on to her already growing accolade list, she was named the NFCA pitcher of the year, SEC Co-Pitcher of the year and SEC Tournament MVP, along with another Women’s College World Series All-Tournament team nomination during her junior season. Fouts also managed to record her first perfect game against UCLA during the 2021 Women’s College World Series, a feat that had not been accomplished since 2000. 

Despite concluding the best season of her career, Fouts’ senior year was nothing short of phenomenal. Appearing in 39 games, the second most in her career, Fouts continued to dominate as usual, tallying 24 wins and 275 strikeouts. 

After an unexpected early exit in the Tuscaloosa Regional in 2022, questions arose about Fouts not using her extra year of eligibility to return for a final season. However, in true Montana Fouts fashion, she decided to stay in Tuscaloosa for the 2023 season. 

“I will continue to thank the Lord for any door that closes, because he knows how to open them too. That’s why I will stay HOME, and keep bleeding crimson,” Fouts said in an Instagram post announcing her fifth season. “This is a Home and a culture that will pump through my veins until the good Lord calls me. You’ll see me proudly wearing the A next year. I don’t have to think twice about that.” 

With a name of great popularity in the softball world, fans across the country were highly anticipating seeing the ace pitcher one last time. 

In her final collegiate season, Fouts put together an excellent regular season with a 1.49 ERA, the second lowest of her career, meanwhile leading Division One pitchers in strikeouts with 323. However, during the postseason, the veteran pitcher faced her biggest obstacle yet with a knee injury in the second round of the SEC tournament. 

Missing the rest of the conference tournament and the entire regional tournament, Fouts was able to return to the circle during super regionals as she helped lead Alabama to its fourteenth Women’s College World Series appearance. 

After a loss to Tennessee in game one, the Crimson Tide had to face Stanford in the elimination game of the world series. 

With the seventh inning approaching, it became evident that it would be the final time to witness the star pitcher in an Alabama uniform. As she recorded the third out and began to walk back to the dugout, a massive ovation of 13,000 fans erupted for the superstar. 

Being second all-time in strikeouts with 1,181 and third all-time in wins with 100, Fouts has cemented her legacy in the Alabama record books. 

“I couldn’t have asked for a better place to spend my dream. This has always been my dream,” Fouts said. “I don’t know if I will ever have the words for what this place, Murph, the coaches, and these teammates mean to me. I have a home.” 

While her career has come to an end at the University of Alabama, softball fans across the country will forever remember the name Montana Fouts. Being a role model to the youth and numerous athletes everywhere, she has put together a legacy like no other.