Adam Piotrowicz enters his fourth year on the Western Michigan baseball staff in 2017, after arriving in June of 2013. Piotrowicz is involved with all facets of the program at WMU and works closely with the catchers and hitters along with being the recruiting coordinator.
The 2016 version of WMU baseball made history under Piotrowicz, winning the school's first ever MAC Tournament Championship going 4-1 with wins over No. 2 Ball State, No. 3 Miami, No. 6 Central Michigan and No. 1 Kent State in the MAC Tournament Championship game. WMU fielded .978 in 2016, the highest ever in the school’s history. The team broke a 44-year record previously held by the 1972 squad and was at No. 1 in the nation for three straight weeks. Junior LHP Keegan Akin had a monster year under the guidance of Gernon, breaking the single season strikeout record with 133, surpassing Pat Misch’s 2001 record of 99. Akin also finished second for most innings pitched in a season (109.0), second in career strikeouts (270) and fourth in career innings pitched (278.1). Among his many postseason awards, Akin was selected in the second round of the 2016 MLB Draft to the Baltimore Orioles, making him the highest draft pick in WMU history since 1970. Along with Akin's All-American honors, Piotrowicz coached a freshman in Connor Smith be named an All-American as well.
The 2015 edition of the Broncos reached the MAC Tournament as the seventh-seed and proceeded to stun the MAC East champion Kent State Golden Flashes, with Derek Schneider hurling a complete game shutout in the first round game to knock the Flashes out of the winners’ bracket. WMU just narrowly fell to eventual champion Ohio in the semifinal round, dropping an extra innings decision to the Bobcats.
Two Broncos were able to continue their baseball careers at the end of the season, with Brett Sunde being selected by the Oakland A’s in the 18th round of the 2015 MLB Draft and teammate Kurt Hoekstra going in the 21st round to the Atlanta Braves. Sunde hit .273 as a junior, notching one home run, 18 doubles, and 32 RBIs while playing the catcher position and batting primarily in the clean-up spot. Hoekstra played both middle infield position for the Broncos and was voted the team’s Most Valuable Player at the year-end banquet, leading the team in betting average (.322), runs (39), hits (69), triples (3), total bases (105), slugging percentage (.491) and multi-hit games (23). He ranked second on the squad in doubles (15), RBIs (34), home runs (3), on-base percentage (.401) and stolen bases (6-for-7) and had the third most walks (22).
WMU's last two recruiting classes have been some of the best in the program's history, with both ranking in the top-70 nationally out of 290 Division I teams. Those classes yielded Hoekstra and Sunde, with the pair being developed by the Broncos and eventually drafted by MLB teams.
In the 2014 Mid-American Conference Tournament, WMU eliminated the previous season's tournament champion Bowling Green (W, 7-4) and the 2014 regular season champion and No. 1 seed Ball State (W, 4-1). In the 26 years of the conference tournament format, it was just the second time ever and first since 1998 Western Michigan posted two wins in the MAC postseason.
In his first season at WMU, Bronco hitters took big strides both individually and collectively as a group offensively. The hitters saw an increase in their offensive productivity in 13 different categories from the previous season. Most notably were the almost 30% increases in on-base percentage and slugging percentage from the prior season. Bronco hitters also raised their batting average, home runs, doubles, and triples totals among other categories.
Under Piotrowicz’s tutelage, multiple Broncos came away with awards at the end of the season. Junior and 2014 Major League 6th round draft pick, Andrew Sohn was named Second Team All-MAC and senior Theo Piccirilli was named to the MAC Tournament team, WMU's first all-tournament selection since 1998. Sophomores Kurt Hoekstra and Brandon Cable earned MAC Player of the Week honors along with junior Jared Kujawa and sophomore Brett Sunde earning College Sports Madness MAC Players of the Week as well. Senior Vinnie Booker set the school record for the career hit-by-pitch record during the 2014 campaign while Kujawa and Sohn both finished in the top 10 in the nation in triples. As a team, Western Michigan hit 19 triples, most for the program since totaling 26 in 1989.
Prior to arriving at WMU, Piotrowicz worked for three years at Valparaiso University. Valparaiso advanced to the Horizon League Championship game each season Piotrowicz was on staff, winning tournament titles in 2012 and 2013. The Crusaders also went on to upset Florida in the 2013 NCAA Regionals, for the school’s first regional win since 1966, and nearly upset No. 13 ranked Indiana in a tight 5-4 loss.
Valpo won both the Horizon League regular season and tournament titles in 2012 to make its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1968. The program matched its single-season win mark as well with 35 victories that season.
While at Valpo, Piotrowicz worked mainly with the hitters, catchers and outfielders. In 2012, the team ranked 35th in the country in hits with 618, was third in the nation with 86 sacrifice bunts, and 42nd nationally with 29 sacrifice flies.
In three years with the Crusaders, 14 hitters earned All-Horizon League honors, including five First Team selections and nine Second Team honors. In addition, six more position players were been named to the league’s All-Newcomer Team along with 11 offensive representatives on the All-Tournament Team, including 2012 Most Valuable Player Mark Johnson.
Prior to Valparaiso, Piotrowicz was at Heidelberg University, where he helped lead the Student Princes to the 2010 NCAA DIII World Series and back-to-back Ohio Athletic Conference regular season and conference tournament titles.
At Heidelberg, Piotrowicz’s primary responsibilities included working with hitters and catchers, recruiting and implementing a strength and agility program. The ‘Berg finished fourth at the 2010 NCAA DIII World Series after advancing to the Mideast Regional in 2009 and won OAC regular season and conference tournament titles each of those two seasons. The program set nine school records and produced five All-Americans while Piotrowicz was on staff.
In his six years of coaching at the collegiate level, Piotrowicz has helped five players go onto play at the professional level.
2014: Andrew Sohn - 6th round (St. Louis Cardinals)
2014: Karch Kowalczyk - 38th round (LA Dodgers)
2013: Tanner Vavra - 30th round (Minnesota Twins)
2012: Ricardo Lizcano - Undrafted Free Agent (St. Louis Cardinals)
2011: Kyle Gaedele - 6th round (San Diego Padres)
Piotrowicz has been around a lot of success at the collegiate level. In 10 total years as both a player and coach, he has been a part of 10 Conference Regular Season/Conference Tournament Championships, six NCAA Regionals & two World Series Appearances.
During the summer of 2010, Piotrowicz was the head coach for the Ty Cobb Reds in the Great South Summer Collegiate League, guiding the team to a third place finish.
As a player, Piotrowicz was a standout at Manchester College from 2005-08. As a senior in 2008, he was elected team captain and helped lead Manchester to a NCAA DIII Mideast Regional and Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship.
Piotrowicz holds a bachelor of science degree in business from Manchester and earned a masters degree in education from Heidelberg. He and his wife Heather currently reside in Kalamazoo.