By Robert Wilson
Northwest Rankin High alumnus Nick Monistere, Jackson Academy alumnus Dakota Jordan and Jackson Prep rising junior Konnor Griffin were recognized as high school baseball All-Americans by MaxPreps.
Monistere – a pitcher/outfielder, the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Player of the Year and Southern Miss signee – was named one of three utility players and one of 27 players on the first-team All-American team.
Jordan – an outfielder, Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year, Metro Jackson first teamer and Mississippi State signee – was named one of six outfielders and 30 players on the second-team All-American team.
Griffin – a pitcher/shortstop, Metro Jackson first teamer and rated No. 1 in the country last year in his class – was named to the Underclassmen All-American team. Griffin, who now is classified as a rising junior, was one of six outfielders and 30 players on the sophomore underclassmen All-American team.
Monistere, a right-handed pitcher and hitter, had an 11-1 record, a 1.53 earned run average with 115 strikeouts and only 22 walks in 73 innings and led Northwest Rankin to a 34-3 record and the MHSAA Class 6A state championship this season, the Cougars’ first since 2005, and as high as a No. 5 final national ranking by Baseball America. He hit a team-high .425 with 12 doubles, 3 triples, 8 home runs, 33 runs and 36 RBIs. Monistere had a .540 on base percentage and a .820 slugging percentage. He stole 18 bases in 19 attempts.
“Nick had a phenomenal year,” Northwest Rankin coach KK Aldridge said. “He competed at the highest level against the best competition in one of if not the best state of baseball. The success he had on the mound and as a hitter was truly remarkable. He will go down as one of the best that has come through Northwest Rankin. It’s good to see him getting the attention on a national level.”
Jordan, a right-hander hitter, set school records with 16 home runs (fifth highest in the nation, two behind the leader, according to MaxPreps), a .524 batting average, a .635 on-base percentage, a 1.180 slugging percentage, 57 runs batted in and tied the school record with 55 runs. Jordan was four short of tying the MAIS home run record, set by Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Hunter Renfroe of Copiah Academy in 2010.
Jordan led JA to a 21-14 record and a MAIS Class 6A semifinal finish. The Raiders were the only team to defeat 6A state champion Prep and 6A state runner-up Madison-Ridgeland Academy in the regular season.
He is rated as the No. 177 overall prospect – No. 75 among high school players – on the latest MLB draft projections by MLB.com. The No. 177 pick would be early in the sixth round.
“We are very proud of Dakota for being named to the MaxPreps All-American team,” JA coach Parker Harris said. “Dakota has worked hard and made many sacrifices to get to where he is as a baseball player.”
Griffin, a right-handed hitter and pitcher, had a .472 batting average, 45 runs, 32 RBIs, 10 doubles, 4 triples, 6 home runs, 13 stolen bases, a .608 on-base percentage and a .876 slugging percentage and helped Prep to a 31-7 record and a fifth consecutive MAIS state championship and a No. 21 final national ranking by Perfect Game. He had a 6-2 record, 1.64 ERA with 59 strikeouts and only 15 walks in 42 2/3 innings. Griffin played as a freshman this past season and has reclassified as a rising junior for next season. He is rated as the No. 2 player in the country in the Class of 2024 by Perfect Game.
“This is another great achievement for Konnor’s young career,” Prep coach Brent Heavener said. “He has gotten a lot of attention over the last few years, but he has put in lots of hard work and earns everything that he has gotten so far. We are excited to watch him and see how far he can grow the next couple of years. Konnor could one of the best players to come out of Prep and that says a lot when you think about some of the greats to come through here. This recognition is another example that he is one of the best players in the country. Konnor is an outstanding young man and teammate.”