Metro players’ success at USM an inspiration for high school players

Nick Monistere and Justin Storm had clutch performances in the Auburn Regional, and are inspiring the next generation of baseball players in the Magnolia State
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 10:23 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Southern Miss baseball team is full of players from Mississippi. Two players from the Jackson Metro area, freshman second baseman Nick Monistere, and junior pitcher Justin Storm, have played a big role for the Golden Eagles this season.

In Auburn last weekend, both delivered clutch performances to help USM climb through the elimination bracket and win the Regional. Monistere, a Northwest Rankin graduate, hit .400 in the five games in Auburn and drove in six runs, with several key hits late in games.

“There’s nothing that surprises me about what Nick’s been able to accomplish,” said Northwest Rankin head coach KK Aldridge. “He’s just that type of player that goes out works extremely hard and then whenever his number is called is ready to perform.”

In game four of the weekend, the first against Penn, Storm, who played high school ball at Madison Central, came in in relief, and delivered a massive performance, pitching 5.2 innings, allowing just one hit, while striking out ten batters, in the 11-2 win.

“I’m not surprised by Justin’s success,” said Madison Central baseball coach Patrick Robey. “He’s done everything right, from the classroom, to his work ethic, his life off the field, everything he does shows what a leader is supposed to be like. I’m really proud that he’s part of the program at Southern Miss, and I’m not surprised at all about the success that he’s had.”

Robey said when the lights shine brightest, that’s when Storm is at his best.

“Justin, he has big league makeup, I think he’ll have big league stuff at some point, but what’s so rewarding to see is that he’s had his best outings in those biggest moments,” Robey said. “Not everybody can do that, some guys are able to succeed when there’s not a whole lot of pressure on them, but he’s a young man that has always risen to the occasion.”

Despite being a freshman, Monistere has played in 42 games this season, starting 34 of those games. Aldridge knew he would be ready if called upon his first year with the team.

“Nick does a great job of preparing himself, having his mind mentally ready, and then his physical tools are just phenomenal, he said. “I know if he was given the chance, that he would make the most of it. He is an extremely hard worker, he gets out does the things that he needs to to put himself in the right positions.”

With Monistere, Storm, and the other Mississippi-born players having so much success this year and in recent years, it serves as motivation for the next generation of baseball players in the Magnolia State.

“We had camp here this week and probably had about 100 kids here, all of them wanted to be Nick Monistere,” Aldridge said. “You see that, that’s great, that creates excitement around our program, and it just fuels that fire in those kids to come out here and be out be the next star at some of our local high schools.”

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