HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Former Wallace State pitcher Blake Rivera has enjoyed a memorable June thus far.
Rivera was named a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I 2nd-team All-American on Monday, less than a week after being drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft.
Rivera went 10-0 with a 1.75 ERA in 67 innings this past season for Wallace State. He struck out 98 batters, averaging an impressive 13.2 strikeouts per nine innings, and was named the 2018 Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) Pitcher of the Year.
The Smiths Station product helped lead Wallace State to a 48-10 record and the ACCC North Division championship.
“Blake was very instrumental in our success over the past two years. We knew we had a good chance to win every game when he took the mound. Blake had a confident presence on the mound and believed no one could hit him. They didn’t a lot of times,” said Wallace State coach Randy Putman, who has had six former Lions advance to the major leagues.
As a freshman, the 6-foot-4 Rivera went 7-1 with a 1.94 ERA for the Lions, striking out 72 batters in 55 2/3 innings. He was an All-ACCC North Division first-team selection.
San Francisco made Rivera the second-highest draft pick in Wallace State baseball history on June 5, selecting him with the 106th pick overall. He was the first junior college pitcher selected in the draft and the second JUCO player drafted overall. Rivera has since signed his professional contract with the Giants.
Rivera and the recent Wallace State sophomore class won 94 games in two seasons.
“Wallace State helped me grow up in all aspects of my life. It was good to get away from home and work hard on my own. I learned how to work to achieve team and personal goals, and I enjoyed every second of it. Coach Putman, coach (Ben) Hawkins and coach (Chad) Shannon helped me become a better pitcher, and I had the best teammates you could ask for,” Rivera said.
For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit www.athletics.wallacestate.edu.
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