Softball freshmen invited to Junior Women’s National Training Team


James Benedetto, Sports Writer

Alabama softball players Skylar Wallace and Montana Fouts started the 2019 season off with some great news. The two freshmen were invited to play with the 2019 Junior Women’s National Training Team for USA Softball.

“It was exciting,” Wallace said. “It was something I’ve always dreamed of going to do. I actually went to the open tryouts two years before this and got told to come down, and I did not make the invite tryout, but actually being invited this time was a really big deal, and I am excited for it.”

The roster was trimmed down from 42 players to 20 players during the tryouts in December. Despite the tough competition and the pressure of performing in a tryout, Wallace felt at home and was not rattled by the gravity of the moment.

“It was a little more calming and a lot less nerve-wracking having teammates that I have played with side by side, having [Montana Fouts] to work here with and get used to things with, so that was exciting,” Wallace said. “It was a big deal for us. I went out there with the mindset of, ‘Play how I play and whatever happens, happens.’ I’m still going to play for Alabama. I’m still going to give it all I got.”

With Fouts and Wallace both receiving invitations to represent their country, Alabama continues to maintain a reputation as a hotbed for softball talent across the country. Alabama and UCLA were the only two schools to have multiple freshmen on the 2019 roster. Alabama is also the only SEC team to have a current freshman on the roster.

The selection adds to a long list of accomplishments for Wallace, the Woodstock, Georgia native. She was previously named the 2017 Cherokee Tribune Softball Player of the Year. Dealing with the recognition has been something she has dealt with her whole career. In eighth grade, college coaches were already recruiting the infielder to other schools.

“My travel ball coach was keeping informed on the coaches coming to watch our games, and I would get emails from him about that, and then I knew there are a lot of schools interested in me,” Wallace said. “I had to have something good about me, and so I knew I was going to play at a collegiate level.”

Coach Patrick Murphy took notice of Wallace’s talent, describing her as something the Alabama team needed in order to be successful.

“To me, she’s the best athlete in the state of Georgia,” Murphy said. “Her intangible is her competitiveness, which I absolutely love. She’s a ‘refuse-to-lose’ kind of kid, and we needed a little shot in the arm of that, and I think she brings that. Her intangibles are off the charts.”

During the winter break, Wallace and roommate Fouts trained in Tuscaloosa before being invited to the first tryout together. After Fouts found out that they were going together, Fouts was ecstatic.

“I texted her saying ‘Oh my God!’” Fouts said. “Before we were invited, we were here together so we were helping each other train, and we were just talking about how awesome it would be to go.”

Although this a great start to the year, Wallace wants to strive for more, and the recognition motivates her to keep working.

“It makes me want to work harder,” Wallace said. “It is really cool to hear that, but it makes me want to work harder to be the best that I can be for my team, for my coaches and for everything they do for us.”