The pleasure taken from a job well done can be a subtle experience.
Montana Fouts, one of the most imposing pitchers in the 2018 class and already committed to SEC power Alabama, gave her Beverly Bandits 16u team a golden path to the finish line Thursday in the title game of the 16u TC/USA Nationals, allowing one hit in a 5-0 victory over Texas Glory-Adkins at Concordia University in Austin. That hit came with one out in the seventh and was the only ball to leave the infield – Fouts’ dominance included eight strikeouts and plenty of reason to celebrate.
However, she was quick to appreciate the contributions of her team, which did flex some muscle in posting shutouts in both the semifinals and finals Thursday.
“Everyone is working hard, and I couldn’t do it without my teammates and their offense. Hopefully, we just keep getting better and don’t feel satisfied,” said Montana, who had a perfect game going before Ronni Ramos’ clean single in the seventh. “That’s great and all (nearing a no-hitter), but winning the game was way more important than anything else. That may have been going through other people’s minds, but you have to leave that alone.”
“She’s special, and she’s selfless. She’s one of the top junior pitchers in the country. But you’d never know it, because she’s not that (braggart-type) of kid,” said Bandits coach Eddy Ketelhut. ”She’s all team, she’s always working, and she’d do anything for anybody.”
In terms of offense, the Bandits took control in the final thanks to some ringing, fence-rattling extra-base hits. Joley Mitchell (headed to Missouri) tripled in Eden Mayo (Louisville) for the game’s first run in the second inning, while a double from Avrey Steiner (Illinois) led to run No. 2.
“It’s gone pretty well; I’m pretty comfortable because I know if I get on I can count on my team behind me to move me around,” said leadoff hitter Macy Ratliff, who reached base three times and scored twice. “I feel like I have a lot of tools to offer. We were ready for this, and we worked hard for it.”
While the team is still relatively new to each other, the Bandits are of the opinion they’ve figured out how things should look going forward.
“This whole week has been about finding an identity. Going into Colorado (Sparkler/Fireworks) we didn’t even know what that was,” Ketelhut said. “This week we learned how to pull as a team together. They have accepted roles; not to say they won’t ever move into another position, but understanding what the team needs.”
Mayo reached base three times, and Faith Hensley (Ball State) doubled and scored in the seventh.
Tags: Triple Crown Fastpitch, Triple Crown Sports