Butte baseball player Jeffery “Monk” Bugni will get a chance to showcase his talent on a big stage late next month.
Bugni, 13, was selected to play on a team made up of Montana players to compete in the 14U National Team Championships-West June 28 to July 3 in Peoria, Arizona. The team will play at least four games at the spring training facility shared by the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres.
Bugni, a seventh grader at East Middle School, is the son of Dennis and Mary Bugni of Butte.
This is the first year Montana is sending a team to the event, which is relatively new and includes alumni like Bryce Harper and Mike Trout.
“I think it’s a great thing for Montana kids,” said Dennis Bugni, the founder and coach of the Butte Rats travel team program. “It’s a great opportunity.”
Bugni’s older brother, Bucky, played in this tournament several years ago, but he played with players from Washington and Oregon.
The tournament also doubles as a tryout for the USA 14U National Team, and the games will be played in front of college and professional scouts.
Monk Bugni is one of two 13-year-old players on the Montana team. He also will play about 40 games this season with the 14U Butte Rats team. In the fall he will play for the Big Sky Baseball program.
Other members of the team are Brock Field of St. Regis; Carson Rostad of Hamilton; Carter Purdy, Cole Crosby, Colin Bowden, Randy Stultz and Read Guckenberg of Kalispell;Colby Kolman from Florence; Easton Page, Finn Snyder, Hunter Fliehman, Kehler Murfitt and Mike Freund of Bozeman; and Sam Bucy, Tradd Richardson and Zack Tyree of Missoula.
The team was selected after tryouts last weekend in Missoula and Bozeman. Bugni tried out in Bozeman.
“He was pretty nervous at the tryout,” Dennis Bugni said. “He was nervous until he got out there.”
Monk Bugni will likely pitch and play in the outfield in Arizona, his father said. He pitches, plays shortstop and catcher for the Butte Rats.