(Hastings) -- Each weekday from now until August 26th, KMA Sports will be announcing the inaugural KMA Sports Hall of Fame class. Throughout the 2016-17 sports year, these 20 inductees will have special induction ceremonies, but August is designed for the announcements.
Today's inductee is one of the most dominant strikeout pitchers KMAland has ever seen. Nishna Valley's Mike Mercer had 586 strikeouts during his illustrious high school career, topping out with 184 during his senior season in 1984.
"It's quite an honor," Mercer said this morning during the live 7:50 KMA Sportscast. "Considering all the great players that have been around the area over the years, it's really humbling."
That 1984 season ended up in Marshalltown at the four-team state tournament, which we highlighted two years ago with the linked Where Are They Now feature (Part 1, Part 2). And it also remains the highlight of Mercer's high school career.
"There are other games that stick out," he said, "but that is something that will always be there. You can always talk about that state tournament trip."
During the run to the state tournament, Mercer struck out 19 batters and helped retire the other two hitters in a win over Treynor. It's a story that is still told throughout the Nishna Valley communities.
"I was on," Mercer said simply. "I was pitching well and throwing the ball hard and where I wanted to. It was just one of those nights where you feel like you're in control, and they're going to have a hard time doing much with you. It was one of those nights where everything worked."
Mercer's career strikeout total ranked within the top 10 when his career ended and is now 16th on the all-time state list. His pitching exploits, which took him to the University of Nebraska-Omaha, didn't come without work.
"I worked at it," Mercer said. "It wasn't something where I picked up a ball at the beginning of May. I worked hard at it, gave everything I had. I was blessed with some talent, but I got the most out of my talent because I put in the time."
Mercer credits his father for instilling that hard working mentality in him at a young age. "We were in the back yard every day," he said. "He said that to those much has been given, much is expected. I took that to heart to work extremely hard and do as much as I could to hone the talent that God had given me."
Mercer will be inducted into the inaugural class of the KMA Sports Hall of Fame at a future date to be announced.
KMA Sports will announce a new inductee each August weekday morning during the 7:50 AM sportscast. Track the Hall of Fame announcements/inductees below:
Football: Announced August 26th at 7:50 AM
Girls Basketball: Announced August 18th at 7:50 AM
Wrestling: Announced August 12th at 7:50 AM
Team: Announced August 11th at 7:50 AM
Girls Track: Announced August 10th at 7:50 AM
Boys Track: Announced August 23rd at 7:50 AM
Girls Golf: Announced August 16th at 7:50 AM
Boys Golf: Announced August 19th at 7:50 AM
Girls Tennis: Announced August 17th at 7:50 AM
Boys Tennis: Announced August 9th at 7:50 AM
Soccer: Announced August 15th at 7:50 AM
Team: Announced August 25th at 7:50 AM
Baseball: Mike Mercer (Induction: TBA)
Softball: Announced August 24th at 7:50 AM
Team: Announced August 22nd at 7:50 AM