Montana Fouts and Skylar Wallace had a heck of freshman experience at Alabama.
Both were named to the SEC All-Freshman team with Fouts earning SEC Freshman of the Year honors.
The duo was part of an historic Crimson Tide softball season that saw a school-best 31-0 start, an SEC championship, a school-record tying mark for wins (60) and a semifinal finish in the Women’s College World Series.
The thrill ride has continued through the summer with both playing for the United States Under-19 national team.
Wallace, who plays second base, and Fouts traveled to Paris to play Japan and France in the Achille Challenge on June 21-23.
“Going to Paris was amazing,” Wallace said. “Who doesn’t want to see the Eiffel Tower in person? Seeing the different cultures when we played the French and the Japanese team was really cool. We actually became friends with some of the Japan girls and I still keep in touch with them now. But they were really sweet.”
The next day the team hopped over to Dublin, Ireland, for the Atlantic Challenge Cup to face the Irish national team.
“I loved Ireland,” Wallace said. “I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland. Even though we didn’t stay long I can always say I’ve been there. We actually played on a rugby field and they set up temporary fences and plastic benches for us. A lot of people came out for support and they threw a little party for us and had a dinner. It was really cool to have people come and celebrate the U.S. coming to play their team and being there for a sport that’s not really big in Ireland. That’s something I’ll never forget.”
Fouts and Wallace will face more international competition at the USA Softball International Cup in Columbus, Georgia, starting July 1 with Peru, The Philippines, China, Mexico and USA National team, and in the WBSC U-19 Women’s Softball World Cup in Irvine California, on Aug. 11 against Mexico, Botswana and Czech Republic.
“It has been a great experience meeting all these different people from different colleges,” Fouts said. “Getting to play against Japan and the French team was amazing.”
The food was pretty good, too.
“Nothing is going to beat home-cooked food but it was good,” Fouts said. “There is lots of bread and lots of pasta.”
Fouts pitched in two games overseas for the US team, totaling six innings, eight strikeouts with just three hits and no runs allowed.
“The best part for me has been engaging with the girls from camp,” Fouts said. “It’s fun learning how they see everything and learning from them. Every day you are learning something new. There are small changes you can make and different ways of going about things, like ways to go at a batter. With the Japanese players, I learned how they go about things and how they throw their pitches.
“We are all different but at the same time we are trying to get the same job done.”
Wallace had five total hits in France and Ireland, with five runs scored, seven RBIs, a triple and a grand slam.
“It’s been a great experience so far,” Wallace said. “The girls are all awesome. They all love to compete and it’s really cool to play with different people from different colleges and getting to know them and their personalities. By far my favorite thing was seeing all the different cultures that you don’t typically see in America or experience much in America.”
Fouts and Wallace haven’t just been spending the summer learning and working on getting better. They’ve also been teachers. Particularly to Lexi Kilfoyl (pitcher) a Crimson Tide signee, and Bailey Dowling (infield), a UA commitment. Both are members of the U-19 team.
“Getting to know Lexi and Bailey before they come to the college world has been great,” Wallace said. “I’m taking them under my wing and saying things like ‘you might want to do this instead of this.’ Just kind of help them out for when they get to Alabama.
The Team USA experience will end soon and Fouts and Wallace will have to jump right in preparing for the Crimson Tide’s fall season. Then the 2020 season starts in February. It’s been a whirlwind year for the rising sophomores and they have played a heck of a lot of softball.
They are ready for more.
“(Team USA) has been great but I’m ready to get back to Alabama and get to work on Team 24,” Fouts said.