By John Bohnenkamp
Owen Oreskovich said putting together the Burlington Bees’ roster was a lot like putting together a college baseball team, something he has done as an assistant coach.
Now that the Bees’ manager got his players, though, he wants them to approach this summer as if they were on a professional team, something he learned last year as an assistant coach with the team in the Prospect League.
“(Former Bees manager) Gary (McClure) ran it like a pro team,” Oreskovich said. “And I really liked that from a summer aspect. I’m not your school’s coach — I’m not going to have a stretching program, that kind of stuff. You do what you’ve got to do — whatever you do at school, you go do it, however much time you need. You want me to go throw (batting practice), I’ll go throw it. Come ask. I’m a personable guy.
“I’m going to run it like a pro team runs things. I just want these kids to have fun. That’s what baseball is about, in a good league. Treat them like pro baseball players.”
The Bees open the season on Wednesday night against the Quincy Gems at Community Field.
Oreskovich said finding players was similar to his job as an assistant at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids.
“It’s just the same old thing I do every day,” he said. “It’s just recruiting.”
Still, Oreskovich had to scramble in the days before the team reported to Community Field this weekend to find the final pieces to the 30-man roster.
“It’s tougher to find arms nowadays,” Oreskovich said. “But I found some guys and I really think we have a good team here.”
Eight players are back from last season’s team, which was in its first year in the Prospect League.
Finding the rest of the roster required some work.
“It’s all about asking coaches, people you know,” Oreskovich said. “Some of the kids, you see them on Twitter, you reach out to them. That’s how you do a lot of baseball recruiting these days. You go on (social media), you see video. And you reach out to them.”
A look at the Bees’ roster:
Steven Escarcega (RHP, Hawaii Pacific) — Has not pitched this season.
Weston Fulk (LHP, Iowa) — Redshirted this season for the Hawkeyes. A first-team all-state selection in Iowa last summer after going 6-3 with a 2.42 ERA at Ankeny High School, where he was teammates with Iowa pitcher Brody Brecht. Can play first base as well.
Devin Holmes (LHP, Highland CC) — 1-0 in eight appearances. Struck out 15 in 10 ⅔ innings.
Jaxon Ingram (RHP, Texas Wesleyan) — 1-0 in three appearances this season.
Ian Landreneau (RHP, Texas Wesleyan) — 3-5 with a 5.59 ERA in 14 appearances. He has 34 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings.
C.J. Lewis (RHP, Toledo) — 0-0 with a 2.70 ERA in three appearances this season.
Cauy Massner (RHP, Iowa Wesleyan) — Only local players on the team — graduated from Mediapolis High School.
Kyle Maurer (RHP, Fort Wayne) — 0-0 with a 10.03 ERA in 13 appearances. Maurer pitched in four games for the Bees last season.
Osvaldo Mendez (LHP, Alabama State) — 5-2 with a 4.83 ERA. Struck out 62 in 50 ⅓ innings. Pitching for the Puerto Rico U23 team, and will join the team in late June.
Garrett Moltzan (RHP, Texas Wesleyan) — 3-1 with a 3.71 ERA in 20 appearances, with 58 strikeouts in 51 innings. Went 1-3 with a 6.81 ERA for the Bees last season.
Adrian Nery (RHP, Morton College) — 2-2 with a 7.03 ERA. Struck out 20 in 24 ⅓ innings.
Owen Rice (LHP, McHenry County CC) — 3-2 with a 4.50 ERA, with 37 strikeouts in 30 innings.
Nick Tampa (RHP, Morton College) — 1-0 with 1 save in 5 appearances. Struck out 10 in 6 ⅓ innings.
Jared Townsend (LHP, Iowa Western CC) — Hasn’t played this season, but will be the Bees’ Opening Day starter.
Paolo Zavala (RHP, Morton College) — 5-1 with a 3.72 ERA, with 29 strikeouts in 38 ⅔ innings.
Chase Honeycutt (Jones College) — Hit .171 with 2 home runs and 15 runs batted in. Hit .261 with 14 RBIs for the Bees last season.
Brady Logan (Northwest Mississippi CC) — Hit .308 with 1 home run and 17 RBIs.
Ben Tallman (Iowa) — Hit .244 in 35 games with the Hawkeyes, with 1 home run and 11 RBIs.
Trey Adams (Northeastern JC) — Hit .353 with 4 home runs and 33 RBIs. Has 16 stolen bases.
Tucker Cole (Black Hawk College) — Hit .224 with 2 home runs and 18 RBIs.
Dawson Estep (Connors State College) — Hit .313 in 9 games.
Joey Fitzgerald (Harper College) — Hit .262 with 2 home runs and 20 RBIs. Hit .218 with the Bees last season.
Ryan Grace (Quinnipiac) — Redshirted this season.
Kevin Santiago (Texas Wesleyan) — Hit .352 with 10 home runs and 42 RBIs. Has a .697 slugging percentage and a .420 on-base percentage. Hit .271 with 7 home runs and 27 RBIs for the Bees last season.
Charlie Terrill (McHenry County CC) — Hit .214 with 1 home run and 7 RBIs.
Brandon Bickford (Mount Mercy) — Hit .233 with 1 home run and 8 RBIs.
A.J. Henkle (Illinois-Chicago) — Has played in one game this season. Hit .233 with 1 home run and 7 RBIs last season for the Bees.
Sam Monroe (Southeastern CC) — Hit .283 for the Blackhawks with 4 home runs and 32 RBIs. Hit .267 for the Bees last season.
Spencer Nivens (Missouri State) — Hitting .352 with 9 home runs and 48 RBIs in 57 games. Has a .972 OPS. Will join the team after playing in the NCAA tournament with the Bears.
Lincoln Riley (Eastern Illinois) — Hit .283 with 2 home runs and 21 RBIs. Hit .237 with 3 home runs and 26 RBIs for the Bees last season.
Photo: Burlington Bees outfielder Sam Monroe makes a catch in a game last season. Monroe is one of eight players returning from last season’s team. (Steve Cirinna/Burlington Bees)