Mehlville Senior High baseball team sets its sights on conference title


With just two weeks of regular-season play remaining, the Mehlville Senior High School baseball team is positioning itself for a Suburban West Conference Championship.

The Panthers (12-2, 2-0 Suburban West) are slated to finish out their final seven of eight games against conference opponents with games against Oakville on Tuesday and Lindbergh on Wednesday — after the Call went to press.

Mehlville head coach Jim Kern believes that his team’s defensive play is what gives the Panthers the opportunity to win nearly every game.

“We’ve been playing well enough to win the games that we’re playing right now,” Kern told the Call. “When we play well defensively, we put ourselves in a position to win each game.”

The Panthers stretched out a 1-0 win at St. Louis University High School on April 13 in a game that lasted just 90 minutes.

“It was a very good and close game,” Kern said. “It was an all-around great day for Mike Zeller.”

Zeller, Mehlville’s starting pitcher, threw a complete game of seven innings, giving up just one hit. He walked one batter and struck out 10 for his sixth win of the season. The senior hurler also drove in the game-winning run in the second inning as he grounded out to second base, which drove in left fielder Kevin Mahler.

“Mike spotted his fastball very well and had timely off-speed pitches,” Kern said. “That really kept them (SLUH) off-balance.”

Mahler was one-for-three at the plate with one run scored and one stolen base. The junior outfielder is batting .371 with a team-leading 18 runs batted in and one home run. Mahler also leads the team in stolen bases with six swipes this season.

“Kevin is starting to see the ball again up at the plate,” Kern said. “We’re going to end up needing him back in the middle of the lineup. I think that he’s coming around hitting wise right when we need him to.”

The Panthers are back in action Friday when they play host to Kirkwood in a conference match that is a must-win scenario if Mehlville wants to win the Suburban West championship.

“They (Kirkwood) are able to compete and keep their games close enough to give themselves a chance to win,” Kern said. “This is a game that we can’t take lightly.”

Mehlville’s home game with Kirkwood is scheduled for a 4:15 p.m. start.