How J.R. Tollett has been Ruston baseball's go-to dual-threat leader

Emely Hernandez
Monroe News-Star

After his first few outings last season, Ruston baseball coach Zack Smith knew the Bearcats had found a leader and ace in J.R. Tollett.

The junior has been dominating the mound and batter's box and sustained it, displaying a quality Smith said is needed in pitchers in order to complete at this level.

"He's a very big part of what we're doing here," Smith said. 

Smith said, win or lose, Tollett will always be a leader for Ruston baseball. 

Tollett (4-1) has appeared in every game this season. He has played various positions in the infield, along with appearances on the mound and as a designated hitter. The versatility he brings to multiple positions led to him being named to the LBCA and LSWA All-State teams last season as a utility player. 

Tollett has yet to commit to a collegiate program. 

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On the mound this season, the right-handed pitcher has 45 strikeouts in 38 innings. He has allowed 28 hits and walked five batters. 

"There's nobody else we wanted on the mound," Smith said. "He's our guy."

The Bearcats (11-8) faced West Monroe (13-3) on Thursday and fell 6-5Tollett pitched for the Bearcats and stuck out eight, but he also allowed the six runs on seven hits over six innings. 

Despite the rough outing, Tollett credits his ability to be successful on the mound to his teammates.

"It all starts with defense and we've been swinging the bats well," Tollett said.

At the plate, Tollett has 31 hits, 12 RBIs and scored 16 runs. He has struck out eight times in 73 at-bats.

"There's some stuff I've got to clean up but we're competing," Tollett said. 

Emely Hernandez covers University of Louisiana-Monroe athletics and high school sports. Email her at ehernandez@thenewsstar.com and follow her on Twitter @emhernandeznews.