Rivera, Crusaders stop Pine Bush winning streak

Nick Rivera delivered a two-run double in the first inning and pitched for the first time this season, closing out a 6-3 OCIAA Division I win over Pine Bush.

The victory ended Pine Bush’s 10-game winning streak and knotted the three-game series. The third and deciding game will be played Thursday at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill. Monroe-Woodbury rebounded from a 5-4 setback to Pine Bush Tuesday where it committed seven errors and made a few base-running mistakes.

“It felt pretty good,” Rivera said. “We didn’t play our best yesterday. We wanted to come out strong today. It felt awesome (to be back on the mound). I’ve been out for a couple of weeks but I was slowly progressing.”

Rivera, who is signed to pitch for Division I Fairleigh Dickinson, relieved starter Connor Olson with one out in the fifth inning and Monroe-Woodbury leading 3-0. He pitched out of trouble, allowing just Haakon Meland’s sacrifice fly. Monroe-Woodbury added three runs in bottom of the fifth inning on a wild pitch, Steve Campione’s RBI single and Olson’s RBI groundout.

“We have been working him (Rivera) in his bullpens the last couple of weeks to build his arm up,” Monroe-Woodbury coach Chris Vero said. “I was very pleased with the way Connor threw and the way he (Rivera) came in a tough situation against a really good hitting team and he was able to work out of that inning.”

Olson improved to 4-0, allowing one run on two hits in 4.1 innings. Logan DeVries had a two-run double off Rivera in the seventh inning to close the scoring.

“This (win) gives us a lot of confidence,” Monroe-Woodbury coach Chris Vero said. “Confidence that we need to show that we can play with anybody in Section 9 when we play our ‘A’ game. If we want to be able to compete against quality teams and programs like Pine Bush, we have to play our ‘A’ game and today, the boys stepped up. Our pitchers threw strikes and got ahead of hitters and we got the timely hits.”

Monroe-Woodbury (9-5, 5-3 OCIAA) is expected to start sophomore Dylan Beers in the series finale. Beers threw 6.2 no-hit innings in his last outing. Pine Bush (11-2, 6-2 OCIAA) could throw sophomore Matt DuBois.

“Monroe played a great game today,” Pine Bush coach Matt Boffalo said. “Defensively, we have to tighten up a little bit and make some plays. There were two double-play balls that we should have made today and we didn’t.”

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