Baseball has been a part of freshman Joshua Rivera’s life for as long as he can remember.
“I started playing in diapers,” Rivera said.
The shortstop started playing baseball when he was three years old. He attended the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy for two years in Puerto Rico before moving to the United States.
The hard work paid off for Rivera. He was ultimately drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 21st round of the Major League Baseball draft in 2017 but he opted to move to Miami instead and concentrate on his academics.
Rivera ended up at Miami Dade College thanks to a connection that Sharks head baseball coach Danny Price had with one of his former players. Rivera’s uncle, Luis Rivera, played for Price at FIU.
“Through the summer league and his uncle playing for me, it kind of all came [together] in that way,” Price said. “It was meant to be.”
Rivera has not disappointed. He has a .337 batting average with 35 hits,14 doubles and 20 RBI, contributing to the Sharks 30-9 record, which includes winning 11 of their last 12 games.
“He will eventually get a chance to play professional baseball, whether it’s this year or next year,” Price said. “[He is a] very skilled player in the middle of the infield.”
Although he has only been part of the MDC baseball team for one season, Rivera is very fond of his teammates and feels fortunate to be part of the squad. There is a genuine camaraderie on the team that is obvious on-and-off the field.
“It’s a team but it’s more like a family,” Rivera said.
That family atmosphere helped Rivera adapt to the different style of baseball that is played in the U.S.
“I think it’s a little more of an upbeat style of baseball here,” Price said.
Rivera added: “[In this country] there’s more willingness to work and to learn things that one doesn’t already know here because we learn different things everyday.”
His current academic goals are centered on learning how to speak English. He wants to be able to express himself with ease and learn how to write with proper grammar.
“My goal is to play professionally and to finish with my academics,” Rivera said.
The Sharks next game is versus Indian River State College at the Kendall Campus baseball field, 11011 S.W. 104th St., on April 18 at 3 p.m.