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Among the "year in review" pieces out there recapping the events of 2012, Matt Vautour had this one about UMass pitcher Joe Popielarczyk's stellar 2012 season with the Minutemen baseball team:

For most freshman, not making it through walk-on tryouts is the end of their college careers.

They gave it a shot at being a college athlete. After being deemed not quite good enough, they hang 'em up, content to move on. Some will try to join a club team. Some will play intramurals. Most will just become regular college students, going to class during the week, parties on weekends, gaining weight and knowledge, while moving toward a degree and a job, and further away from their athletic careers.

It would have been hard to blame Joe Popielarczyk for following that route. The former Northampton High School baseball star was carrying a challenging major (civil engineering), while commuting to the University of Massachusetts every day from his home in Florence. Most people would have been tempted to just throw themselves into their studies and forget baseball.

But Popielarczyk wasn't ready to do that, and just making the baseball team as a sophomore after his second shot at walk-on tryouts made Popielarczyk a good story.

Read more of Joe Popielarczyk was as good as anyone in 2012

Popielarczyk Starts NEIBA All-Star Game

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Recent graduate Joe Popielarczyk represented the UMass baseball program in the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) All-Star game on Monday night in Brockton, Mass., starting on the mound for the University Division Squad and helping the team to a 5-3 victory.
  

The right-hander tossed three innings and let up just one unearned run on three hits and stuck out three without walking a batter.

In today's Springfield Republican Dick Baker has a nice piece on UMass starting pitchers Dennis Torres and Joe Popielarczyk.

"Joe Popielarczyk, a Northampton native whose 3-2 victory Sunday at Saint Joseph's lifted the Minutemen's Atlantic 10 record to a much-better-than-expected 6-3. The win snapped the Hawks' seven-game winning streak."

Read the more of Walk-ons throwing strikes for greatly improved UMass baseball.

Happy Birthday Aaron Zaleznik and Joe Popielarczyk

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Happy birthday to UMass Baseball's Aaron Zaleznik and Joe Popielarczyk!

Aaron ZaleznikJoe Popielarczyk

Popielarczyk Picks Up Win In First Outing With Holyoke

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After just recently joining the Holyoke Blue Sox roster, local product Joe Popielarczyk picked up the victory for Holyoke yesterday in a 13-4 win over the Lowell All-Americans, squaring off against fellow Minutemen Matt Gedman and Leif Sorenson. Popielarczyk pitched 5.2 innings of relief and gave up just one run. 

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