With excellent off-speed pitches, Champion City Kings right-hander Luke Mamer has done well nibbling at the plate in Prospect League.
As it turns out, his mother Cara isn’t too bad around a plate, either.
If Mamer wasn’t one the most popular player on the Kings before, he might be now. The Kenton Ridge High School graduate and Wright State University senior-to-be recently had his Kings teammates over for a home-cooked meal.
“She cooked taco meat and chicken, like a taco bar, and desserts. It was good. They’re not getting those home cooked meals very much,” Mamer said, adding tongue-in-cheek, “The people that weren’t talking to me before are talking to me for food now.”
Filled up on his mom’s cooking, Mamer is hungry for a few wins now. He started the season 3-0 but has lost two of his last three starts, including a tough 5-2 loss to Lorain County where he scattered six hits and allowed two earned runs in six innings.
Entering Thursday, Mamer was 3-2 with a 3.41 earned-run average. He had struck out 12 and walked just one in 31.2 innings pitched.
“His most effective pitch is his change-up, being able to locate that at any time has really helped him out,” said Kings hitting coach Jon Anderson. “Hitters are struggling a little bit to adjusting to the speed differentials he brings and his movement from all his pitches. His change-up is one of the best pitches I’ve seen out of anybody.”
That’s one reason – along with being a local draw – the Kings went after Mamer. He said general manager Rick White, also a Kenton Ridge grad, contacted him last fall. Mamer jumped at the chance to play for White, a former major league pitcher, and in front of his hometown fans at Wittenberg’s Carleton Davidson Stadium.
“They contacted me pretty early on and I thought it was a good idea. I didn’t really look anywhere else at all,” Mamer said. “I definitely do feel comfortable. It’s nice being in Springfield in front of the home fans.”
The Kings finished the first half of the season 12-15 in the East Division, seven games behind the Chillicothe Paints. With the second half just starting, the rest of the players on the first-year team are looking to feel more at home in Springfield, too.
“So far it’s been a really good turnout,” Mamer said of the local support. “I think Springfield is a good baseball community and this will be something close to home and cheap. People are really starting to come out, especially on the weekends. I think it’ll stick around for awhile.”
Mamer hopes to do the same in baseball. He has one more season at Wright State, then his baseball future is uncertain.
“Obviously baseball is my ultimate dream,” said Mamer, an accounding and finance major at WSU. “If nothing happens with baseball, I’m hoping to get a job.”
Until then, he’s living at home while the other players live in Wittenberg University’s dorms. And with good reason.
“I said I needed my mom’s cooking,” Mamer said.