2020 LHP Joe Shapiro Commits to Western Michigan

Congrats on your new commitment! What is it about Western Michigan that excites you the most?

I am extremely excited to play at Western Michigan because I got a great feeling from the coaches and players when I visited. With some work, I believe I will have the chance to contribute right away and help win games. All around, I think Western Michigan is a perfect fit for me. 

You have been playing with Top Tier your entire high school career. Tell us about your experience and what it means to wear the TT’s.

Top Tier baseball means so much to me. When deciding where to play high school travel baseball I had to decide if playing college baseball was something I truly wanted to do. I decided Top Tier would be the best fit for me and help me accomplish my dream. I am proud to wear the TT because I felt I was a part of a family that was dedicated to success. 

Share one of your favorite Top Tier memories.

My favorite memory was when we were playing in Atlanta in the WWBA at the end of the 15u season. We were having a great tournament when we lost the final game of pool play almost guaranteeing that we wouldn’t make bracket play. We needed that first place team to lose to the last place team and as we are following the game on Game Changer, while swimming in the pool, sure enough the last place team pulls out a walk-off victory. The bracket ended as a three way tie allowing us to advance. Our coach got an email saying we play our bracket game in an hour we all had to get out of the pool, fed, and back to Lake Point in time to get enough players to the field so we didn’t have to forfeit.  We were able to just get there in time and it all worked out nicely as we won the game and got to advance to the next round.  

Talk a little bit about the recruiting process and how everything went down.  

My recruiting process was slow and stressful at times, with some up days and down days. Western Michigan was one of the first schools to contact me, which meant a lot. I’m not the guy that lights up the radar, so getting coaches to watch was difficult. Every game I had to dominate with location and off-speed. Western followed me all summer and built a strong relationship with me. In the end they were my number one and helped make the decision easier. 

What were some of the priorities you looked at when deciding where you wanted to commit?

I wanted a school that fit a couple different criteria. I’m thankful to compete at the D1 level, but that wasn’t my main priority. I wanted a school that I could get a good degree and have a chance to play. I feel Western establishes a strong focus on academics and family. I got a strong feeling from the importance of team bonding and overall enjoyment of representing the Broncos. 

What challenges do you see ahead of you before you get to campus?

I need to continue to increase in velocity. I know how hard it is to even go up one or two miles per hour, but my goal is to just keep working. I believe one day I'll jump up a few mph’s and that could make all of the difference. I also want to continue to develop a change up that could become a swing and miss pitch. 

What are some of the goals you have set for yourself as a college baseball player?

I want to keep a strong focus on my academics and excel in the classroom. As a player I want to dominate my conference, not right away, but at one point in my career. I think I have the potential to be successful in the MAC and it would be great to win a MAC championship. 

If you could give one piece of advice to all of the younger players coming up, what would it be?

Worry about the things you can control. Recruiting is a long process and there are so many schools out there that could be a great fit for any player. The best chance you have is to continue to work on your skills and dedicate yourself to becoming better. I loved playing for Top Tier because I enjoyed playing with my teammates and friends for life. 

Is there anybody you would like to give a shout-out or thanks to?

I want to thank Coach Plante, Coach Griff, Jesse Forstell, Coach Gil, and everyone else at Top Tier. Also, Coach Stanicek, Coach Myers, and Coach Stanton from GBS. And of course I’d like to thank my parents for supporting me all of these years. 

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