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Former MCCC Pitcher Heath Fillmyer Makes Major League Debut


Heath Fillmyer

Heath Fillmyer, who made his Major League Baseball debut with the Kansas City Royals June 24, earned national Pitcher of the Year Honors and was named a First-Team All-American during his baseball career at Mercer County Community College.

HOUSTON – Former Mercer County Community College (MCCC) baseball pitcher Heath Fillmyer made his Major League Baseball (MLB) debut on Sunday, June 24, for the Kansas City Royals, allowing only two runs on three hits in a four-inning relief appearance.

“Our coaching staff is very excited to watch Heath compete at the highest level,” said MCCC Head Coach Kevin Kerins. “Not many coaches get a chance to watch their players perform on that stage. It’s a very unique experience.”

Fillmyer was called to the mound against the first-place Houston Astros on June 24 in the fifth inning to relieve starter Jason Hammel, who gave up six hits, five walks, and nine runs, seven earned, in the first four frames.

“Once I stepped on the mound, I tried to lock it in as best as I could,” Fillmyer told “Just about after the first pitch, I thought, 'All right, I can do this.' It felt good."

In his first frame, Fillmyer induced a pop out, walked a batter, and then got a double play. He recorded a strikeout in his first outing, and walked only two.

Royals Manager Ned Yost told that he credited Fillmyer with a solid performance, and was grateful the former Viking could finish the game and reduce the need to go deeper into the bullpen.

"I thought he pitched great,” Yost said. “And he gave us four innings, so I didn't have to use anyone else."

Although drafted as a pitcher by the Colorado Rockies following his freshman year at MCCC, Fillmyer, a graduate of Florence High School, primarily served as a middle infielder at Mercer, pitching fewer than 10 innings in 2013. He declined the MLB offer and returned to MCCC in 2014, shifting his focus exclusively to pitching. He logged 66 innings and racked up 94 strikeouts with a fastball that touched the mid-90s.

In 2014 Fillmyer posted a 9-0 record and a 0.68 ERA, leading the Vikings to a berth the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) World Series. He was named Region 19 Player of the Year, NJCAA Pitcher of the Year, First-Team All-American, and was selected in the fifth round by the Oakland Athletics in the 2014 MLB Draft.

Last year, Fillmyer posted a 3.49 ERA and a 11-5 record for the Midland RockHounds, Oakland’s Double-A affiliate. In the offseason, he was traded to Kansas City.

“Heath’s accomplishments and making it in the major leagues is very positive, for not only our program and college, but for the NJCAA and northeast baseball,” Kerins said. “We are extremely proud of Heath and all his accomplishments and hard work.”

Numerous MCCC baseball players have been selected and are currently playing professional baseball in various minor league systems, with at least one Viking or former Viking having been selected each year over the past six years. Fillmyer is the first former Viking to play for a MLB team since Dave Gallagher, who was drafted by the Cleveland Indians and played as an outfielder for various teams over a nine-year career that concluded with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1995.

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