By KEVIN ROBERTS
The San Rafael Pacifics wrapped up their second straight Pacific Association of Professional Baseball championship, and a Southington native was a part of it.
Joe Rivera was acquired from the Tucson Saguaros of the Pecos League of Professional Baseball Clubs in a trade on Aug. 1. Rivera pitched in five games in the regular season and didn’t allow a run.
San Rafael advanced to the best-of-three championship series, where it took on the Sonoma Stompers. Rivera came on in relief in Game 1 and wound up being the winning pitcher. He took the mound with two outs in the sixth inning and picked up the third out on a strikeout. In the top of the seventh inning, the Pacifics struck for three runs to claim an 8-5 lead. Rivera gave up two runs in the bottom of the seventh, but teammate Edward Perez bailed him out by getting a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded for the final out.
Rivera finished the game with this line: 1.2 innings pitched, 2 hits, 2 runs, 2 earned runs, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts.
Rivera only pitched in the first game of the series, which went the limit. The Stompers won the second game, 5-4, but the Pacifics came back for a 5-3 victory and the championship in the third game.
During the regular season, Rivera pitched in five games. In six innings, he didn’t allow a run while yielding just four hits. Rivera struck out 13 and walked two.
Before Aug. 1, Rivera was employed the Tucson Saguaros. He pitched in 23 games and logged 25.1 innings. Rivera gave up nine runs (six earned) on six hits, struck out 43 and walked 25. He finished with an 0-1 record and a 2.13 ERA.
Rivera graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2018. In four seasons with the Huskies, he had a 2-0 record and a 2.78 ERA. Rivera pitched 22.2 innings over 20 games and gave up nine runs (seven earned) on 14 hits. He struck out 17, walked 22 and hit four batters. Opposing batters hit .182 against him.
Rivera graduated from Southington High School in 2014. He was an All-CCC West selection in 2013 and 2014.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com