Benedictine alum Al Pesto lll perseveres, signs pro contract with the Toronto Blue Jays

Published: Jun. 4, 2023 at 7:48 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Benedictine alum Al Pesto lll has paved a unique path towards achieving his dream of playing Major League Baseball. Pesto lll recently signed a contract with the Toronto Blue Jays at a unique age of 26-years-old.

Pesto lll helped Benedictine win the 2014 Class AA Baseball State Championship and then went on to play collegiately at Duke. Two of his four years with the Blue Devils were plagued by a back injury.

Pesto then pursued his MBA and continued pitching at Southeastern University in Florida. During that time, while debating hanging up the cleats, he found a boost of motivation and decided to keep the pro baseball dream alive.

“I didn’t even know if I would try to continue to play. I was actually giving lessons at the Savannah Baseball Performance Academy and I got back into demoing drills for the kids. They helped convince me to go play pro ball,” Pesto said.

He began training intensively and landed with the Billings Mustangs of the Pioneer League. His velocity increased and he threw well, but did not receive a pro offer after the season.

Then came another source of motivation. While visiting friends in Florida, Pesto lll attended a Minor League Baseball game.

“I walked over to the stadium’s ‘Fun Zone’ and paid three bucks to see how hard I could throw. I was just letting it rip as hard as I could and it was reading 65, 66 miles per hour. I am like, this is terrible. I walked out of the stadium, drove and setup a radar gun at my old apartment complex.”

While throwing that night, Pesto lll recorded 100 miles per hour on his radar gun.

In the following days Pesto lll returned to Savannah and proved that the gun that night was not a fluke. He continued reaching new heights with his velocity. He attended a pro day in Charlotte this past January, but it took until May to receive a call.

“Right when I was debating what to do, my agent called me told me that the Blue Jays were really, really interested. I then got a phone call from the assistant general manager and they gave me the offer. I was pretty surprised and pretty exciting and definitely the fulfillment of a lifelong dream,” said Pesto lll.