Whiting, Ind. – When Bishop Noll graduates Matt and Danny Pobereyko pitched for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen in 2013, they became the first brothers to play together with the team. The duo will be back in 2014 as the team has announced that both will once again call Oil City Stadium home starting in late May.
Matt and Danny were both Midwest Collegiate League All-Stars in their first year with Northwest Indiana.
Butler freshman Danny Pobereyko made four starts and seven relief appearances in his first summer with the Oilmen. He recorded a 5.02 earned run average and struck out 14 while getting his first test of college competition after graduating from Bishop Noll in 2013.
"It benefited my mental game more than my physical game," Danny said. "I feel like it prepared me a lot more than just playing for a club team would have. I feel like I have already been in college, baseball-wise."
Butler coach Steve Farley said Danny's height and athleticism played a big part in why he recruited him to play for the Bulldogs.
"Danny's big and tall and he's got a body that is going to get faster, so that was one of the attractions," Farley said. "He has a good fastball and I have always been impressed by his changeup. When you're a college or pro pitcher, if you've got a good changeup, you're definitely ahead of the game."
Farley said that Danny's chance to face college hitters immediately following his senior year of high school played a big role in his development.
"Not many guys get that chance," he said. "Most kids would be playing legion ball or playing with some kind of travel team. For Danny to play with and against other Division-I guys, it was great."
Matt, a junior at Kentucky Wesleyan University, settled into a late-inning role as the Oilmen closer in 2013. He posted a 2.25 earned run average while establishing a new Midwest Collegiate League record with five saves.
"I don't know what I'm going to do yet during the spring, whether it is starting or closing, but ideally I'd like to close," Matt said. "The summer kind of changed my role from starting into closing and I got comfortable with that."
One of the attractions that led to Matt's decision to return to the Oilmen is the chance to spend another summer playing for manager Justin Huisman, who was a closer during his professional career.
"When I had a couple of rough outings, he told me that you just keep your head up," Matt said. "One bad outing doesn't mean you're not going to go out there the next day. You have to have a short memory. He's definitely a good guy to learn from."
During the 2013 summer season, Matt had the chance to pitch at full strength for the first time since undergoing ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, also known as Tommy John surgery.
"This was the first time I've been healthy on a consistent basis and throwing to my potential," he said. "It was good to just refine the release on my pitches and build confidence before I came back to school."
According to Kentucky Wesleyan coach Todd Lillpop, Matt returned with more confidence on the mound after his summer success with NWI. Lillpop knew the MCL would provide his pitcher with a chance to log innings against quality competition.
"It's basically an all-star team put together from teams all over the country," he said. "It keeps them playing all year. It helps them be prepared when they get back here in the fall."
The Oilmen reached the Midwest Collegiate League championship series in 2013 after capturing the league crown in 2012.