By: Matt Rothman
Former J.P. Taravella infielder Aris Rivera is officially set to continue his baseball career at Polk State College in Lakeland.
Rivera calls it a blessing to play college baseball after dealing with several injuries this past season.
“I didn’t get the exposure I wanted to, so I’m grateful that I got the opportunity to play at the college level at Polk and excited to get the spring started,” Rivera said.
Rivera started his high school career at Nova before transferring to Westminster Academy. Rivera ultimately landed at JPT and spent three years playing on varsity along with playing travel baseball for the X Team. He hit .349 with a home tune and 33 RBIs.
During his junior year, he was a Second Team All-American Catcher and a member of the 2A-15 All-District Team. This past season, he also helped JPT win the HSBN First Pitch Elite Tournament and reach the Regional Semifinals for the second straight season.
“Although a late sign, I expect Aris to compete for playing time this upcoming season,” said JPT Head Coach Joe Giummule. “Big physical bat that is very good defensively at first and can fill in behind the plate.”
Rivera decided to attend Polk State was an easy one for Rivera. He loved what they preached at Polk and felt like it was a great place to improve as a ball player and a person.
“I loved that every day you will come out and work hard, and our coach compared the team to a blue-collar program and that you will have to earn everything,” Rivera added.
Polk State is set to play 53 regular season games this year and will start their season on Jan. 27 in the Florida JUCO Early Bird Kickoff against Chipola College. Rivera is hoping to improve the mental part of his game, which he said consists of his approach, self-awareness, and gritty mentality to the game.
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- Matt Rothman is a 2018 graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University receiving his bachelor’s degree in journalism and then graduated from the University of Florida as a graduate student.
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