03/06/2015 9:20 AM -
Whiting, Ind. – March 6, 2015 – The Northwest Indiana Oilmen have announced the return of right-handed pitcher Keith Mahler for the 2015 season.
Mahler appeared in the Midwest Collegiate League All-Star Game during his first season in Northwest Indiana, working a scoreless inning in the game on July 9. Mahler is currently a red-shirt sophomore at Heartland Community College (JUCO) and has committed to continue his career at perennial NAIA power Cumberland University next season.
When Mahler heads to Lebanon, Tennessee to play for the Bulldogs next year, he’ll be seven hours away from his home in Highland. That makes the chance to spend this summer at Oil City Stadium – just 25 minutes from home – all the more valuable.
“It will be great to be back this summer,” Mahler said. “This will probably be the last time my parents, friends and family can see me pitch on a regular basis, so it’ll be pretty exciting.”
The Highland High School graduate throws a changeup, slider and fastball. During his senior season with the Trojans, he went 10-0 with a 1.79 earned run average.
A year ago, Mahler made nine starts for the Oilmen, striking out 43 while issuing seven bases on balls. He compiled a 2.06 earned run average and 5-4 record.
“It was my first summer playing collegiate baseball, so it was nice to get that experience under my belt and get my feet wet,” he said. “This summer should be a lot more fun, because I know what to except and that makes it that much better.”
Mahler joins Anthony Gomez, Kevin Jones and Zack Jones as members of the 2014 Oilmen that will return this season. He finished with five wins, and could have surpassed that total with more run support. The Oilmen scored 1.5 runs per game in his four defeats.
The hard-throwing right-hander is projected to be a part of the Heartland starting rotation, but is also willing to fill a relief role if needed. He’s unsure what to expect when he heads to a four-year school next season, but is comfortable with focusing on the present knowing his future plans are in place.
“You can’t go wrong when you go to Cumberland,” Mahler said. “With their winning tradition and coach Woody Hunt there; he’s such a legend in the coaching world. They win all the time. It’s a good atmosphere down there and they have great facilities.”