Whiting, Ind. – May 27, 2020 – It’ll be Matt Pobereyko time again at Oil City Stadium this summer.
The former Northwest Indiana Oilmen closer will return for a second stint as Oilmen pitching coach, a position he previously occupied in 2015 before leaving to resume his playing career. Still an active professional player, Pobereyko has elected to return to the Oilmen coaching ranks because 2020 independent and minor league seasons are in jeopardy due to COVID-19.
Pobereyko spent two summers closing out games for the Oilmen in 2013 and 2014. He holds the Midwest Collegiate League all-time career saves record with 18 and single-season record with 13. The Oilmen legend posted a 2.57 ERA in 14 innings with 17 strikeouts in 2013. A year later, he put together one of the most dominant seasons in team history, allowing two runs in 23 innings for a sparkling ERA of 0.78, a team record until it was shattered by Hunter Clark (0.75) in 2016.
“I loved playing with the Oilmen,” Pobereyko said. “I have great memories from those summers with the guys I met and the friendships I built. Oil City Stadium is a great place to play with a lot of energy and it’s a good feeling playing for the team.”
Pobereyko brings significant professional experience with him in his return to the Oilmen, having pitched professionally in each of the last four seasons and reached as high as Triple-A with the Las Vegas 51s of the New York Mets organization in 2018. In addition to time in the Mets and Arizona Diamondbacks organizations, Pobereyko has pitched with Florence of the Independent Frontier League and most recently spent the 2019 season with Sioux City of the American Association. He has also played in the Arizona Fall League and the Dominican Winter League.
“I think the college summer season is the best preparation for professional baseball,” Pobereyko said. “You’re playing every day so you have the ability to create a routine and be ready day in and day out. Being around professional baseball for the last four or five years, I’ve been able to find what works for me and ride it out. Hopefully I’ll be able to help some of our Oilmen players find what works for them this summer.”
Pobereyko, a Munster native and 2010 Bishop Noll High School graduate, played two collegiate seasons at South Suburban College and three at Kentucky Wesleyan. He’ll reunite with Oilmen manager Chris Cunningham, who was an assistant at South Sub during Pobereyko’s playing days. Pobereyko joined the South Sub staff himself this spring, serving as a pitching coach under longtime head coach Steve Ruzich. Pobereyko is also currently giving lessons and working out of Thrive Sport & Fitness Solutions. He can be reached on Facebook for times and additional information.
“For now and especially in summer baseball, I don’t look at myself as a strict coach,” Pobereyko said. “I’m still playing, so it’s nice to provide a player’s perspective instead of being someone who has been just coaching for the last 10 or 20 years. I provide a happy medium where we’re going to have some fun but we’re also going to get our work in.”
The three-time Midwest Collegiate League champion Oilmen are slated to begin their ninth season on July 1.