Recruiting Thursday: FR's Fulton to play softball at Southern Florida

The Panthers power hitter belted eight homers and drove in 32 runs last season

Thu Oct 26, 2023 - 5:48PM

Jack Ridenour Jack Ridenour

Last Updated: Thu Oct 26, 2023 - 6:06PM

There was a constant flood of emails and phone calls coming from college coaches, trying to convince Franklin Regional junior Toryn Fulton to commit to their school.

Eventually, she narrowed it down to four: The University of Virginia, James Madison University, Penn State University, and University of South Florida. In the end, it was USF that emerged as the future landing spot of the current Panther.

“It’s definitely a lot of weight lifted off my shoulder,” she said of her recent commitment. “It feels nice because I can just play without stress now, and I’m overall happy with my decision.”

When it came to her recruiting process, she didn’t have a specific “dream school” that she wanted to attend. However, when she went on a visit to the Florida school, she felt an immediate connection from the past.

“I grew up going to Tampa a lot as a kid, so I knew a lot about it,” she noted. “I felt like it was another home to me and I felt that’s where I wanted to be.”

With coaches consistently reaching out to Fulton, she found herself having to manage her time and organizing when she had phone calls. She kept information from each call so that she could have a better understanding of what each program had to offer.

Not only were her organizational skills helpful during her recruitment, but so was social media. Fulton utilized X (formerly Twitter) to post her highlights and practice clips in order to get her name out even more.

“My coach (Jim Armstrong) would always tell us we had to stay consistent with posting our schedule and our highlights,” Fulton added. “After reaching out to coaches and letting them know I’m interested, I definitely did see more people coming to me on Twitter (X), liking posts, following me; It definitely impacted me a lot.

Now that she has that decision made, she can redirect her attention to the upcoming season. Last spring, Fulton helped the Panthers to a 12-7 overall record, but they ultimately fell to Shaler Area 7-0 in the WPIAL Class 5A quarterfinals.

The Panthers strength came from their power hitting, with Fulton setting the standard. Her approach to hitting differs from her teammates, but she knows it works for her.

“Some – pregame – hit a lot off the tee. But for me, if I hit a lot off the tee, I get in my head,” she added. “During warmups, I only hit five balls total. It keeps me from critiquing every single thing from my swing.”

Fulton is looking to bring both her power hitting ability and leadership to the table this season. She’s focused on making sure everyone is in the right mindset, balancing having fun while also being competitive.

Finding that balance will be important in the Panthers capturing a WPIAL title. However, Fulton is aware that it will take much more to achieve that, and one of those aspects will be a familiar trait for Franklin Regional.

“Hitting is definitely going to need to come into play,” she remarked. “Pitching will also. Without hitting, you can’t get runs, and without pitching, the defense can’t do much for you. We have to make sure no one gets down and ruins the game for the entire team.”