As a freshman, Montana Fouts set the college softball world on fire.

What else does she have in store?

The next three years’ worth of opponents now know what the 16th Region (and the state) grew so accustomed to over the last few seasons. It’s scary for them to think about how hittable she’ll be as a sophomore, junior and senior for Alabama. A safe answer: Not very.

Fouts was sensational, enduring a physically demanding duel with Arizona late Saturday night and then hurling an eight-inning shutout against Oklahoma on Sunday.

The Tide came just short of becoming one of the last two teams standing in the College World Series. UCLA and Oklahoma began their best-of-three series on Monday.

In all, Fouts went 21-6 in 33 appearances. She assembled 19 complete games and pitched 180-plus innings while compiling a sub-1.50 earned run average.

She also was captured on a viral video tossing fastballs to each side of a stack of cinder blocks in working on painting the corners.

Fouts, the pride of East Carter, surely established the foundation of a fine career in Tuscaloosa.

Repping Russell

Former Russell tennis standout Maci Ferguson grabbed the racket and made some noise as a freshman for Georgetown College this spring.

Ferguson achieved the following accolades as Georgetown’s women went 16-6: Mid South Conference Player of the Week, NAIA National Player of the Week, MSC Freshman of the Year and MSC first-team All-Conference. The Georgetown athletics department named Ferguson the Female Freshman Athlete of the Year — an award that encompasses all of the school’s athletic programs.

Ferguson was the first Georgetown tennis player to claim Mid South Freshman of the Year honors.

Ferguson also landed on the Dean’s List with a 4.0 grade-point average.

Blanton big for Herd

Johnson Central alumnus Geordon Blanton started every game and was first on the team in doubles for Marshall baseball this season.

Blanton helped the Thundering Herd accomplish a winning year (29-28).

The sophomore hit .286 with 17 two-baggers, four home runs, four triples and 26 RBIs. He scored 45 runs and swiped 18 bases.

In Marshall’s last win of the season — a 6-4 victory over Louisiana Tech in the Conference USA Tournament — Blanton was 2 for 6 with two runs, including one in the top of the 12th. The Herd won in 12 frames.

Curley collects

Young Harris college freshman Morgan Curley put together an outstanding freshman softball season.

The Raceland graduate helped the Georgia school achieve a 44-20 season. She started every game for the Mountain Lions.

Curley had the third-best batting average (.337) on the team. She drilled 19 doubles, had three triples and ripped two home runs. She collected 101 total bases and 37 RBIs, second to only junior Jill Torres in each category.

Gilliam garners honor

Former Ashland Tomcat Shawn Gilliam closed out his career at Georgetown in fine fashion.

A 6-foot-2, 230-pound tight end for the Tigers, Gilliam was selected to the Kentucky Collegiate All-Commonwealth team.

The Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame extended its congratulations to Gilliam on Twitter on Monday.

Gilliam gathered 13 catches for 229 yards and four touchdowns this past fall.

Salow’s ERA stays low

Ashland alumnus Logan Salow continues to pitch well for the Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in the Dodgers organization.

The 24-year-old lefty, who was drafted in the sixth round out of Kentucky in 2017, is 2-0 with a 1.97 earned run average this spring. He has racked up 53 strikeouts in 32 innings and is 3 for 3 in save opportunities. He’s allowed just two home runs. Opposing hitters are batting .130 against the southpaw. Through Sunday, Salow had dealt 8 2-3 consecutive scoreless innings.

Shepherd rolls with Tides

Lawrence County product Chandler Shepherd is no longer pitching in the Boston Red Sox organization.

The former University of Kentucky right-hander navigated his way to Triple-A Pawtucket last season as a full-time starter. However, Boston designated Shepherd for assignment on May 17. The Chicago Cubs initially picked up Shepherd before he landed in Norfolk, where he’s on the Baltimore Triple-A affiliate’s roster.

The 26-year-old was 0-5 with a 10.01 ERA in Pawtucket this season. He struck out 30 batters in 29 2-3 innings, but he gave up 11 home runs.

Shepherd gave up three runs in two-thirds of an inning for the Norfolk Tides against Louisville on Friday.

Brown and out

Brian Brown has retired as a teacher, coach and athletic director at West Carter High School.

Brown taught at the high school for 27 years. He helped coach various sports for the Comets.

Brown served as the school’s athletic director for the past 15 years.

Rogers is back

After one year away from the program, Melanie Rogers is back at the helm for the Fleming County Lady Panthers’ basketball team.

Rogers initially took the reins from Kristy Orem, currently Pikeville’s coach, in 2016. In two seasons under Rogers’ direction, Fleming County went 23-38. The Lady Panthers were 20-13 with a 61st District title and 16th Region Tournament semifinal showing in 2016-17.

Jay Emmons served as the head coach last season.

The Ledger Independent (Maysville) first reported Rogers’ return. Joining her on staff are Jimmy McKinney (assistant varsity coach), Randy Taylor (JV head coach) and Tanna Seuferer (freshman coach).

Reach AARON SNYDER at or (606) 326-2664. Follow @DIndependentQB on Twitter.