Skip to main content

Northwest Rankin clicking on all cylinders headed into final week of 2022 regular season

The No. 1 Cougars beat Kosciusko 5-0 on senior night Friday behind Nick Monistere, who

FLOWOOD — In 2022, it's all about finishing for top-ranked Northwest Rankin.

After finishing runner-up last season to rival Madison Central in the 6A state title series, the Cougars don’t need bulletin board material for this year.

“These guys play with a lot more confidence because of what we did last year is really going to pay off for us this year,” said Northwest Rankin coach K.K. Aldridge. “This group we have here is one of those things where we play really well whenever we’re playing good competition and I’m looking forward to the playoffs because I know what I’m going to get out of my guys. They’re going to compete and hopefully have the same experience like last year and that’s get to Trustmark.”

After beating Kosciusko 5-0 on senior night on Friday night, the Cougars extended their winning streak to 14 games. They finish up Region 6-6A play on Monday against Warren Central and Tuesday against Terry.

On senior night, Southern Miss signee Nick Monistere tossed a complete game one-hitter with 12 strikeouts and also went 3-for-4 at the plate with three doubles and two RBI’s.

On the year pitching Monistere (7-1) has allowed just 10 earned runs and has 63 strikeouts.

“Everything was working tonight and it was just one of those nights,” Monistere said. “I think the experience we have from last year to this year is key for us. We could play anyone in the country and we got confidence we’d win every game. The team chemistry we got is unreal.”

Pitching has been the biggest key for the top-ranked Cougars with Monistere along with Jones College signee Connor Brooks (5-1), whose allowed just nine runs and has 67 strikeouts and Evan Rogers (3-0).

“We’ve been driven all year and we’ve taken every right step we can possibly take and everyone on the team wants it. We have more leadership with 12 seniors on the team and a lot of them are on the field at the same time," Brooks said. “As a pitching staff we go out and compete the best we can and sometimes it is not great, but the next time out we respond. We just need to keep winning ball games.”

Northwest Rankin has already clinched the region title and will receive a First Round bye in the MHSAA Class 6A Baseball Playoffs that begin next Friday night. The Cougars will face the winner of the Oak Grove-St. Martin series in the Second Round beginning on May 6.

Meridian CC signee Brady Thomas heads into the postseason leading the Cougar offense in homeruns (7) and RBI’s (26).

“When we come out ready to play everybody is in the game and hitting well when we need too,” said catcher Brady Thomas. “I feel like we’re playing our best baseball heading into the playoffs