Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

May 25, 2014

THE WEEKLY CYCLE: Fouts, final outs aren't meshing

ASHLAND — East Carter eighth-grader Montana Fouts has become the Dave Stieb of 16th Region softball.

The right-hander has racked up a handful of near no-hitters, and just as the former Toronto Blue Jay, she’s been excruciatingly close to completing the accomplishment.

Stieb lost no-hitters with two outs in the ninth inning in back-to-back games in 1988.

A single out separated Fouts from a no-hitter in two consecutive contests against Rowan County and Raceland. She saw them both disappear in the seventh.

We at The Independent initially reported that Fouts fell victim in the exact situation in the 62nd District championship game against West Carter. She actually gave up a hit earlier in the game, though, when a Lady Comet knocked a ball off the fence but was tagged out at second base.

Either way, Fouts’s season is nothing short of remarkable. She’ll likely get the ball against five-time 16th Region champion Ashland in the opening round of the region tournament tonight at 8 at Russell.

While the no-hitter may continue to elude her, she’ll get hers eventually. Stieb did on Sept. 2, 1990.

Before getting to tournament predictions, here are a few items of note as we head into one of the most entertaining weeks of the year:

-East Carter’s baseball team is out of the region tournament field for the first time since 1995. Raiders coach Jeremiah Shearer took the pitching loss in the first round of the district tournament that season.

-Maybe there’s a host hex. Upon suffering one of the most shocking losses of the season to Morgan County, East Carter joined Lewis County and Bath County as teams to miss the region tournament despite hosting it since the event moved away from Morehead State in 2011. Of the four hosts, Ashland (2013) was the only one to avoid the curse.

-Half of the eight remaining 16th Region softball teams have losing records.

-Bath County baseball is the first team since 2010 to own fewer than 10 wins and still make the tournament.

-If the next few days are as gorgeous as this weekend has been, we’re in for a treat. The forecast for today looks clear. According to weather.com, the high is 87 degrees and the low is 64. There is a 30 percent chance of rain this evening.

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