MONROE, La. — Behind strong pitching and timely hitting, the Monticello Bosox — a close replica of the Monticello High School baseball team — pushed their summer season record to 14-0 Friday and Saturday by winning three straight in the OCS/Sterlington Invitation Tournament at Ouachita Christian High School.
Friday in the first contest against Mangum (La.), Monticello was behind 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning when Beau Rush clobbered a homerun over the right field fence.
“Beau Rush really hit that ball,” said interim head coach Lesley Nelms. “It went about 325 feet.”
Because of the two-week dead period mandated by the Arkansas Activities Association, Nelms replaced normal Bosox and Monticello Billie head coach Jimmy Beasley during the tournament.
Monticello scored another run in the fifth inning. The rally started when Jordan Hashem, with two outs, singled to right-center field. Troy Brunson was hit by a pitch, pushing Hashem to second. He scored when Rush singled for his second run-batted-in during the game.
In the bottom of the seventh, with the score tied 3-3, Brunson reached base on a fielder’s choice, followed by a walks by Rush and Nathan Pesaresi. Blake Shirey then hit a walk-off single to score Brunson and give Monticello a 4-3 win.
“That was pretty much was our toughest competition,” said Nelms. “We played a very good defensive game.”
Nelms also had praise for Will Naron, who pitched the first four innings, giving up three earned runs, and Pesaresi, who pitched the final two innings, allowing just one base runner, who was hit by a pitch.
“Will did extremely well,” said Nelms. “He probably pitched one of the best games of the summer. And Nathan came in and did a good job closing out the game for us.”
On Saturday, the games weren’t close. The Bosox whipped Ouachita 13-3 and Rayville 11-1, again behind good pitching and solid hitting.
In the game against Ouachita, Monticello scored one run in the first inning, three in the second and third, and six in the fourth. Blake Shirey and Pesaresi led the Bosox in hitting, with two each.
Hashem pitched, and gave up three earned runs on just two hits in four innings of work. Andrew Robinson pitched the final inning.
“Jordan Hasham did an extremely good job pitching,” said Nelms.
Against Rayville, Monticello got another outstanding pitching performance from Cole Connelley, who pitched the entire game, giving up just one hit, two walks and one unearned run.
Even though Monticello only had four innings at bat, the Bosox recorded 10 hits, led by Hasham and Tucker Ward, who each had two hits. Pesaresi had one hit — as did five other Bosox players — but Pesaresi’s made an impression on Nelms.
“One thing that stood out was Nathan Pesaresi, who had one of the best hits I’ve seen this summer,” Nelms said. “He hit it about 325 feet to right center for a double.”
Overall, Nelms said she was impressed with the way Monticello played in the entire tournament.
“This was probably the best three games I’ve seen the boys play since we started out this summer,” Nelms said.