Oregon Native Reflects on League Title, Camaraderie in Hall-of-Fame Career
Brandon Pietrzyk finished among offensive elite in storied three-year Beaver baseball career
When Brandon Pietrzyk learned he had earned a place in the Buena Vista University Athletics Hall of Fame, he immediately reflected on those who helped him achieve the honor.
“I’m humbled and honored to be a part of this group,” says Pietrzyk, a 2011 graduate who came from Portland, Ore. “BVU played a huge role in my life and Coach (Steve) Eddie helped me get to where I could go.”
Pietrzyk’s play on the diamond spoke volumes for his team, this program, and his eventual place in the Hall of Fame. The 2010 Iowa Conference Player of the Year was a three-time First Team All-IIAC performer, a key cog for the 2010 team which earned league titles in the regular season and the conference tournament, going 23-4 in loop games that season.
Pietrzyk was a two-time All-West Region player and a Second Team All-American. He remains tops among all Beavers in runs scored during a season (62); and ranks second in career stolen bases (64), total bases during a season (117), hits in a season (71), and homers in a season (12).
“I love Coaches Eddie, (Ryan) Dupic, and (Steve) Sonka, as well as the guys on our teams. The teammates who surrounded me and kept me grounded made the whole experience that much more enjoyable.”
Brandon Pietrzyk, BVU Hall-of-Famer
And while the numbers may fill a stat sheet and take a few minutes to recite during a Hall of Fame intro, it’s the friendships that have the most meaning.
“The camaraderie with the team is what I remember most,” says Pietrzyk, who serves as Associate Director of Sports Performance for the football program at Boise State University. “I love Coaches Eddie, (Ryan) Dupic, and (Steve) Sonka, as well as the guys on our teams. The teammates who surrounded me and kept me grounded made the whole experience that much more enjoyable.”
If there would be one moment on the field frozen in time for Pietryzk, it would be the championship celebration in the middle of the diamond his senior year, the culmination of months of work, and the first conference tournament title ever for BVU’s baseball team.
“We’d gotten off to a hot start in my junior year (2009), but we maybe didn’t have the maturity quite yet to sustain it,” he recalls. “In my last year, we had the confidence entering every series. We won the conference and then took care of business in the conference tournament to back up the regular-season title. When we won the conference tournament, it was one of the cooler moments I’ll ever remember.”
How Pietrzyk arrived on the shores of Storm Lake is a seeing-eye base hit of another kind. He had attended a junior college in Texas for a year and then was back home working in Portland.
“One of my buddies was going to BVU to play football,” he says. “I had attended a junior college in the middle of nowhere. And then I learned about my buddy’s school being on a lake in a small city in Iowa. I liked that aspect. So, I called Coach Eddie and he invited me out.”
Pietrzyk arrived on campus for the first time as classes began in the Fall of 2008. By that spring, he was set in Eddie’s lineup as a starting outfielder, a West Coast personality who delivered by spraying the ball all over the field, ending his three-year BVU career among the top 10 in about every offensive category.
“Our coaches embraced who I was and allowed me to be myself,” he says. “I showed up and did the work. And they allowed me to feel comfortable and flourish. I’ve always been grateful for their approach.”
After earning his degree in exercise science/human performance, Pietryzk moved home to Portland for a year. When his future wife, former BVU student Hattie (Hartzell) Pietryzk transferred to the University of Sioux Falls, Pietryzk relocated to Sioux Falls, S.D., and worked as a personal trainer.
Stops in Phoenix, Ariz., and Eugene, Ore., would follow as he advanced from being a science and PE teacher to an assistant principal to a staff member with the strength and conditioning program serving the Oregon Ducks football team. Now a member of Boise State’s football operations, he and Hattie are the parents of daughters Paisley, 5, and Ada, 3, and a six-month-old son, Brooks.
“Things are great in my career and with our family,” he says. “This is just what I wanted to do.”
Pietrzyk also gives back to his alma mater. Last year at Boise State, he supervised BVU intern Reed Fitzke ’22, a Beaver outfielder and kinesiology and exercise science major. He has also provided quick-hitting motivational talks to the Beavers during Spring Break trips in Arizona and prior to games back in Iowa.
“I keep up on the program through communications with Coach Eddie,” he says. “When I can, I try to help the program. If I can share anything about success on the field and building connections off the field, I’ll do it.”
Job commitments will prevent Pietrzyk from joining the BVU Athletics Hall of Fame induction in person on Sept. 30 as Boise State has a football game the following day. Pietrzyk will share a video acceptance talk along with his pledge to return to campus this spring for another in-person session with the defending American Rivers Conference champions.
“I’m humbled and honored to be a part of the Hall of Fame, and to be a part of BVU, and BVU baseball,” he says. “The people I got to know at BVU helped me grow and get to where I am in life. I cannot thank them enough.”