When he graduated from Massapequa High School in 2006, Matt Prokopowicz could certainly look back on an impressive list of baseball accomplishments.
In his senior year Prokopowicz – or "Proko" as he was better known to his teammates – led the Chiefs to the Nassau County, Long Island, and state championships. He was also a two-time All-New York State and All-Nassau County selection and had a .500 career batting average, 18 home runs, and 102 RBIs.
Of all the accomplishments in his young career, Prokopowicz said there is one that stands out.
"Winning that state championship, definitely, because the guys on the team are the guys who I have the strongest relationship with right now," he said. "I've kept in touch with them. I think we were the first boys' team in Massapequa history to win a state championship – it's pretty impressive, pretty special. That's definitely the best moment of my career."
Prokopowicz's career with the Hofstra Pride was no different from his time with the Chiefs. In four years with the Pride, Prokopowicz amassed 271 hits, a school record. His career batting average with Hofstra was .376 and he is also second on Hofstra's all-time RBI list with 162.
Attending Hofstra kept Prokopowicz close to home and allowed his family to see a number of his games.
"It's always exciting to see a young person thrive at doing something and taking such pride in what he does, to work as hard as he has over the years and to be successful," said Prokopowicz's mother Jane. "He's a college graduate now and he broke all of Hofstra's records, so it's very humbling to see him work so hard and get to be as good as he is."
In his freshman year, the former Chief was the Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Year. He batted .416 – good for 10th in the nation – and hit safely in 48 of 54 games.
Prokopowicz saved the best for last. In his senior year he batted .431 – good for 18th in the nation – and had a career-best 18-game hitting streak.
While Prokopowicz is certainly proud of his career at Hofstra, his family is equally important to him.
"My mom and my brother have been a huge influence in my life," he said. "Going to Hofstra and getting to play right away, being a four-year starter, and them getting to see every game is pretty special. My grandma and my aunts live very close to Hofstra so they got to see me play. The exposure I got playing in the CAA was tremendous and I'm very happy and thankful I got that opportunity."
Prokopowicz's playing days at Hofstra may be over, but many feel that he may have a shot to play professional baseball in the future.
"He can swing," said Hofstra baseball coach Patrick Anderson. "His bat is well above any of his tools. … I think he should get the opportunity to play professional baseball. I'm hoping that someone gives him a chance somewhere soon."
Prokopowicz has been coaching a summer league team and recently received an offer to coach at Holy Trinity High School next year.
"He has the talent to play pro ball," said Jane Prokopowicz. "He's coaching now and he seems to really love working with the younger players and helping them get better at what they love to do. … He likes what he's doing now. He's the type of person who takes whatever is given to him and makes it work for him."
Regardless of what happens in Prokopowicz's future, one thing is certain, his career with baseball is just beginning.
"I don't want to hang up my cleats yet," said Matt Prokopowicz. "I got an opportunity to coach for a local summer team on Long Island. I was just offered a job for Holy Trinity, to coach there. A lot of opportunities are presenting themselves. But I definitely do want to pursue some type of Independent League, whether it be the Long Island Ducks or elsewhere because like I said, I'm not ready to hang them up yet."