Baseball: Ospreys pitcher’s season has been a work of art

Danny Pobereyko, a converted reliever, hasn't allowed an earned run in his first 20 innings with the North Fork Ospreys. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)
Danny Pobereyko, a converted reliever, hasn’t allowed an earned run in his first 20 innings with the North Fork Ospreys. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

It was a piece of work that an artist could admire, and for an artist who is also a baseball player, so much the better.

Heading into this week’s games, Danny Pobereyko’s earned run average stood at a glittering 0.00, as in no earned runs allowed over 20 innings. Zero. Zilch.

That’s tops in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League.

Pretty nice stuff for the tall North Fork Ospreys pitcher, who has been “stretching” his arm, as they say, in preparing for a role change from reliever to starting pitcher at Butler University.

The 6-foot-5, 205-pound Pobereyko isn’t a typical baseball player. After all, how many baseball players are also art majors?

At Butler, Pobereyko is the only one, he said. He is also majoring in English.

Other than his desire to pursue a career in professional baseball, Pobereyko said, “I’m still trying to determine what I’m going to do with my life.”

In the meantime, Pobereyko is experiencing life as a starting pitcher for the Ospreys this summer. This past spring, in his sophomore season at Butler, the Munster, Ind., native worked out of the bullpen. The right-hander went 2-2, with a 4.81 ERA and five saves.

With the Ospreys, Pobereyko and Daniel Jacobson both started the season in the bullpen, but have become regular starters. The two Dans have done well.

“They’re both good,” said Ospreys manager Bill Ianniciello.

Pobereyko, who was 1-0 entering the week, ranked third in the league in strikeouts with 25 (against four walks). He registered 10 strikeouts in a 7-0 win over the Riverhead Tomcats on June 10.

“This is obviously what I expect to do when I come out for summer ball,” he said. “I just expect to come out, throw a lot of strikes, get people out.”

Jacobson hasn’t done too bad, either. The right-hander from the University of Rhode Island was 2-2 with a 1.54 ERA and was fifth in the league with 22 strikeouts.

Pobereyko supplements his fastball with a slider and a changeup. His results so far have been encouraging.

“It’s good to see that I can still start games and get people out,” he said. “It’s good to see that you can get back into that routine, that role and do well.”

Moving from reliever to starter is an adjustment. Starting requires a different mind-set than coming out of the back end of the bullpen.

As a reliever, “you’re going in there for one or two innings and just giving it all you got, but as a starter you kind of have to think about lasting six or seven innings or more than that even,” Pobereyko said. “I like to think that I’m pretty aggressive, regardless of the role that I’m given as a pitcher. I mean, I’m just going to try to throw strikes and pound the zone.”

And what type of art does Pobereyko go for?

“A lot of Tutti stuff,” he said. “I like sculptures, but a lot of drawing and painting is kind of my thing.”

As is pitching. The former reliever picked up a save of a different sort on Friday. During batting practice, he shielded an unsuspecting reporter from a foul ball during an interview.

Pobereyko isn’t the only Butler player on the Ospreys’ roster. Tyler Houston, an outfielder, will be a sophomore for the Bulldogs next season.

Before then, Pobereyko hopes to have a masterpiece of a summer season, something worthy of applying his signature to. He said, “I just hope to finish the same way that I started.”

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