OLEAN, NY --  Brian Pulli and Murphy O'Brien grew up in different parts of the country and followed different baseball teams.

But these pitchers on both the St. Bonaventure University baseball team and the Olean Oilers share an admiration for the same baseball idols: retired New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer.

“I enjoy watching Scherzer and his intensity and fire when he pitches. I love it,” said Pulli, who is from Clarence, N.Y., and a rising senior with two years left of eligibility in the NCAA as a redshirt. “I like Jeter as a leader and the way he carries himself as a ball player. I started following them just by watching baseball every day and being a Yankees fan.”

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O’Brien, a rising junior from Rocky River, Ohio, explained, “I like Jeter and Scherzer because of their competitive nature and their desire to win and compete every single day. I’ve followed Jeter since I was young, and I fell in love with the way he plays the game. When Scherzer started to make some noise around the league, he is someone you just can’t miss when he plays, and I love his fire.”

O’Brien added that during his first year at St. Bonaventure, he enjoyed watching a former Bonnies and Olean Oilers shortstop in action: Cole Peterson. A veteran of the 2015 and 2016 Oilers NYCBL championship teams, Peterson is playing in the minor leagues for the Detroit Tigers organization.

Although the Oilers experienced a tough season in summer 2017, both Pulli and O’Brien believe that the team will have a much better year and say they are looking to improve themselves as players as well as people.

“I expect we will be better. We had a rough go around last year, but we got better talent coming in, and I feel that I have improved, and the team has improved,” Pulli said. “For myself, I want to get better as a player and teammate and for the team to win the championship.”

O’Brien said, “The Oilers have had a lot of success in the past and I know they had a rough season last year but I’m excited to represent Olean and have a good year. The main goal for this season is to win as many games as possible, but it’s also an opportunity to get better and improve the aspects of my game that I want to improve. And I really look forward to it.”

Being Oilers means a lot to both Pulli and O’Brien, who are excited to represent the team in a positive way.

“Being an Oiler is a great honor, knowing the great players that have been here and the great tradition the team has,” Pulli said.

O’Brien said, “Being an Oiler is awesome because I’m going to be surrounded by guys from all over, and it gives me so many opportunities to get better, and I can’t wait to get after it,”

Both Pulli and O’Brien said they enjoy hanging out with friends and playing video games as well as watching action and thriller movies in their free time.

The Oilers will open their season Friday at 7 p.m. against the Hornell Dodgers at Maple City Park. On Saturday at 5 p.m., they will play the Wellsville Nitros at Wellsville Central School. The home opener will be on June 3 at 1 p.m. in Bradner Stadium against the Niagara Power.

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