It’s been one wild summer for Alabama softball players Skylar Wallace and Montana Fouts.
The incoming UA sophomores spent the past two months playing on the Under-19 USA Women’s National Team.
Since June’s training camp Wallace (second base) and Fouts (pitcher) have zigzagged across the country and even Europe to face the best national and international competition.
The two-month experience ended this past weekend with a walk-off win against Japan in the Women’s World Cup in Irvine, California, giving Team USA the gold medal.
After Japan took a 3-0 lead in the eighth inning, Fouts entered the circle and got Team USA out of further trouble. In the bottom of the inning, Frankie Hammoude hit a three-run homer to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth and then Jasmine Sievers hit a walk-off single for a 5-4 win.
Wallace and Fouts are back in Tuscaloosa now. The duo talked about some of the highlights from their unique experience.
Winning the World Cup
Wallace: We had a lot of adrenaline going into the game. We knew Japan was going to be a hard team to beat.
I knew we were going down with a fight and get the job done some way. What a way to win that one for sure.
Fouts: It was a lot of fun. It was crazy and surreal.
On Hammoude’s home run
Wallace: I didn’t even watch it off the bat. I just saw it go off the bat and I just started jumping and screaming. For her to come in as a pinch hitter at that point of the game was amazing. I was on deck and told her it’s you and the pitcher. Ignore everyone else, go out there and compete and just do what you do.
Fouts: I had a weird feeling like “She is going to do something here.” I thought we were at least going to tie it up in that inning because I knew we were not done yet. From playing with (the team) this summer I knew we did not want to go out like that.
Wallace: Obviously winning the gold medal was a heck of a memory. But I really think just playing with the girls I got to play with, that was my favorite part. Our motto was “Kick a– and take names,” and that’s what we did. We went out there and lit it up.
Fouts: The best moment by far was winning the gold medal.
Wallace: Playing in the World Cup and playing with these sisters that you created such a bond with in such a short amount of time was a lot of fun and a great experience. It was really cool to see how all that time we spent on the field when we were exhausted – some of us didn’t really want to practice, some of us didn’t want to get up and eat breakfast when they told us to – but seeing all the little things pay off was something I’ll never forget.
Fouts: We got to travel to France and to Ireland so I thought that was pretty cool. We got to train and play against them. We got to work with the Japan team a lot this summer in camps and playing against them so I thought that was pretty cool.
Best on-the-field moment
Wallace: I had been struggling at the plate from Atlanta (June 30, Exhibition Games). I got out of my zone, you could say. I was like it’s a new tournament (World Cup), nothing matters now, we are all here, just go out and do what you need to do to get on base as a leadoff. That mindset helped me. I say personally that’s the best I hit all summer.
Fouts: When we played in International Cup and I pitched against Puerto Rico and I thought that I was throwing pretty decent and I thought our defense really had my back in that game.
Playing with Team USA
Wallace: It was cool to get to know all of them. Being the oldest on the team kind of put me as a leader of the team and someone they looked up to with how we do things and hold people accountable and take responsibility for things. I got called mom of the team so everyone called me mom. But it’s something you will never forget, going out there for two-and-a-half months with these best friends.
Fouts: It was just a fun experience of playing with different members and adjusting to different things. We worked on a lot of things defensively and it’s really going to help me a lot. You hear about them and they are all so well known and getting to know them and play with them on the field was pretty cool.