By Robert Wilson
Photos by Jared Thomas
Southern Miss baseball coach Scott Berry would like to use Northwest Rankin’s Nick Monistere as a two-way player when he gets to Hattiesburg next season.
What the senior right-handed pitcher-shortstop did Saturday against Rankin County rival Brandon solidified his opinion.
Monistere, a Southern Miss signee, threw a two-hitter, struck out nine and allowed one earned run in 5 2/3 innings and had two doubles and a triple, scored one run and had two runs batted in to lead Northwest Rankin to a 10-2 victory over Brandon in a MHSAA non-region, Class 6A game at Northwest Rankin in Flowood.
For his outstanding performance, Monistere has been named the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Baseball Player of the Week.
Monistere – a member of the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Preseason Elite 11 Team – has had a great senior season and has led Northwest Rankin to a 16-2 record. He has a 5-1 record, a 2.33 earned run average with 37 strikeouts and 11 walks in 27 innings and is hitting .360 with 4 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs, 15 runs scored and 11 runs batted in.
“Nick was dominant on the mound against Brandon,” Northwest Rankin coach KK Aldridge said. “he has worked very hard on developing his off-speed pitches during the offseason, which has made him an even more complete pitcher. Now, hitters don’t only have to worry about his velocity, but they also try not to get fooled with his off-speed pitches.
“Nick also led our team with three hits and his RBI triple allowed us to create some separation and were able to put the game away in the later innings. Nick is just really starting to heat up offensively. He sees very few pitches to hit, as teams are very careful with how they pitch to him. Sometimes that tends to make a hitter become impatient and try to do too much. Nick struggled with that early on this year, but now he is taking a great approach at the plate. If they pitch around him, he knows that’s just an opportunity for him to get on base and into scoring position for (senior catcher) Brady Thomas to come up and drive him in. Nick is about as unselfish as they come, which makes him such a great leader for our team. He is a great player with a very bright future. I’m sure thankful he’s on our side. Nick is the type of guy want to go to battle with.”
Monistere had an 11-1 record with a 1.88 ERA and had 97 strikeouts and 21 walks in 70 2/3 innings and helped Northwest Rankin to a 27-9 record and a MHSAA Class 6A runner-up finish last season as a junior. It was the first appearance in the state championship since 2005. He was a first-team selection on the Priority One Bank Metro Jackson Team. Monistere also hit .384 with 32 runs, 30 RBIs, 11 doubles, 1 triple, 5 home runs and a .666 slugging percentage.
Northwest Rankin’s next game is Thursday in a Class 6A, non-region game at Germantown. The Cougars play host to Rankin County rival Pearl Friday in a 6A, Region 6 game at Northwest Rankin.
Coaches can nominate their players for the weekly award by contacting Robert Wilson with text or call (601.506.2276) or email ([email protected]).