05/10/2014 6:52 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – May 10, 2014 – The sample size was small, but one appearance in the Midwest Collegiate League last summer was all Heartland Community College pitcher Keith Mahler needed to determine that he wanted to return to the league this year.
Mahler joined the Lexington Snipes to pitch a late-season game against Rockford on July 28. He went four strong innings of one-run ball, helping Lexington to a 6-3 triumph. This year, he will trade his purple Snipes uniform for Oilmen black and gold.
Mahler, a Highland High School graduate, has been added to the Oilmen roster for this season.
“When I played with the Snipes for a game, the competition in the league seemed good,” Mahler said. “Hopefully the talent will be there and we’ll have some good competition over the summer. The Oilmen are always good, from what I’ve heard.”
According to Heartland coach Nate Metzger, Mahler’s size, frame and ability have led to interest from major league scouts.
Mahler throws a changeup, slider and fastball, topping out at 92 miles per hour. He battled through shoulder issues during the winter, but has now reached full health.
“I believe now that he is healthy, he should continue to help us out of the bullpen in a setup role this year and then could possibly become a rotation guy next year,” Metzger said. “He loves to work out and never shies away from the weight room.”
Mahler joins an Oilmen pitching staff that is loaded with local talent. Eight of the 11 pitchers that the Oilmen have signed for this summer attended high school in Northwest Indiana.
Mahler will become the third Highland graduate to play for the Oilmen, joining Nik Mason (2012-2013) and John Livingston (2012). He will also become the second Heartland player to spend a summer with the team after Kenny Mahala, who has since transferred to the University of Indianapolis, did so in 2013.
While playing at Highland, Mahler posted a perfect 10-0 record and a sparkling 1.79 earned run average as a senior in 2011.
“(High school) was a lot of fun,” Mahler said. “The more that I think about it, I’m kind of sad that I let it go by the way I did. I wish I would have worked a little harder, but I definitely miss my high school days.”
This summer will serve as a chance to rekindle some of those high school memories as he joins forces with many athletes that he has competed with and against in years past. Mahler is especially looking forward to reuniting with Anthony Gomez and Scott Jerge, both Munster graduates.
“I’m excited about it because it is close to home and I’ll get to spend time with my family and friends,” Mahler said. “I’m looking forward to getting some wins and having a good time this summer.”