05/23/2022 7:37 AM -
Whiting, Ind. – May 23, 2022 – After unveiling the team’s 2022 group of position players on Sunday, the Northwest Indiana Oilmen revealed their pitching staff on Monday.
Seven pitchers who will throw for the Oilmen this summer have previous experience in the league: Mike Bernas (St. Leo / Orland Park, Ill.), Jake Ostrowski (Trinity Christian College / Lockport, Ill.), Jake Paymaster (Triton College / New Lenox, Ill.), Chris Seropian (Lakeland College / Chicago, Ill.), Luke Pappas (St. Leo / Chicago, Ill.), Nick Heiden (Aurora University / Minooka, Ill.) and Tyler Preissing (Aurora University / Mount Prospect, Ill.).
Four of those seven have pitched with the Oilmen previously. Bernas, Heiden and Preissing were all part of the team a year ago, while Pappas returns to the squad after a one-year hiatus during which he pitched for the Kalamazoo Growlers in 2020. Paymaster was a member of the Southland Vikings last season, as was Seropian. Ostrowski returns to the league after pitching for the 2019 Joliet Generals.
Paymaster was a member of the All-MCL Team a year ago, finishing with a 4-1 record and 2.81 ERA over 10 games (eight starts) spanning 48 innings.
“I wanted to come back to the league because I’m at a junior college and will be transferring out after this year,” Paymaster said. “It’s a very competitive league, and I wanted to stay close to home to be with friends and family. I’ve heard good things about Coach Enright and the Oilmen.”
Pappas, whose father Erik played in the big leagues with the Chicago Cubs in 1991 and the St. Louis Cardinals in 1993 and 1994, graduated from Mount Carmel in 2019 before attending Western Michigan and eventually transferring to Saint Leo. He isn’t the only son of an ex-big leaguer on the Oilmen roster, as CJ Byrdak (Iowa Central CC / Homer Glen, Ill.) is the son of Tim Byrdak, who pitched in the big leagues with the Kansas City Royals (1998-2000), Baltimore Orioles (2005-2006), Detroit Tigers (2007), Houston Astros (2008-2010) and New York Mets (2011-2013).
“He’s been teaching me how to pitch ever since I was little,” CJ Byrdak said. “He tries not to be too hard on me. He always does expect the best out of me. He’s taught me everything I know about the game.”
Other members of the Oilmen pitching staff include Jack Neikrasz (Illinois Tech / Riverside, Ill.), Caleb Deel (Lake Erie / Gary, Ind.), Justin Egan (Black Hawk / Orland Park, Ill.), Frank Quinn (St. Ambrose / Chicago, Ill.), Cameron Nohos (Loras College / Hobart, Ind.), Silas Noe (Waubonsee / Wilmette, Ill.), Logan Strutz (Triton / Lockport, Ill.) and Mike Freitas (Olivet Nazarene / Bourbonnais, Ill.).
“Coach Enright contacted me and said he had talked to our coach at ONU at a convention in Chicago,” Freitas said. “He told me about the organization. At Olivet, we ended up playing against Calumet College of St. Joseph at Oil City Stadium, and I liked the atmosphere. I can imagine it will be even better playing there during the summer under the lights.”
Mike Schalasky (University of Indianapolis / Palos Heights, Ill.), Adam Herron (Trinity Christian College / Joliet, Ill.), Matt Ostrowski (Trinity Christian College / Palos Heights, Ill.) and Justin Johnson will all be available to the team early in the season on temporary contracts.
The Oilmen will open the season on Monday night at 7 p.m. at Lee Pfund Stadium in Carol Stream, Ill. against the Joliet Generals in a rematch of the 2021 League Championship Series. The game will air on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network, available through the Region Sports Network, the Northwest Indiana Oilmen Facebook Page and YouTube, with Leo Staudacher and Adam Oppenheim on the call.