One day, Kyle Gehrs will likely walk through the lobby outside of the gymnasium at Truman High School and find his Hall of Fame plaque on the wall of his alma mater.
But he’s not thinking about the future. The left-handed University of Central Missouri ace is having too much fun in the present.
In his first season as a starter since he graduated from Truman in 2010, Gehrs is thriving. The senior is tied for the team lead with six wins (6-3) and is third on the 32-13 Mules with a 3.93 ERA in nine starts. He has struck out a team-high 57 while while walking 22.
“I’m having so much fun,” said Gehrs, who won a national championship at Iowa Western Community College in 2012 while coming out of the bullpen.
He then signed to play at Oklahoma State University, but appeared in just 14 innings for the Cowboys last year.
“OSU basically told me they didn’t want me, and I really didn’t want to come back, so I talked to (Truman) coach (John) Eglich and asked him about UCM. He talked to coach (Tom) Myers, and I wound up here in Warrensburg.
“It’s kind of funny – I won a national championship at Iowa Western and now, I think we have a great chance at going to the (NCAA Division II) College World Series and winning another championship. I love this team, the coaches and my teammates.
“We’re all on the same page. At UCM, you play for the name on the front of your jersey. That’s how it was at Truman and Iowa Western. I never thought I’d go to a school where I’d have as much as I did in JUCO, but I’m having a blast.”
Gehrs won his first start as a Mule, going 7 1/3 innings in an 8-4 victory over Southwest Baptist.
“It’s great to be in a pitching groove, where I know when I’m going to get the ball,” he said. “That way, I can be ready mentally and physically. I liked relieving, but I really like being a starting pitcher again.”
Gehrs kicked off his college career with an Iowa Western team that finished third in the nation his freshman year.
“I didn't know if it could get much better than that,” Gehrs said, “Then, my sophomore year we won the national championship. I think about that game every day.”
And for good reason – he threw three innings of relief in a dramatic 6-5 win over San Jacinto (Texas) College.
“I came in in the seventh inning and gave up a couple of runs, and we came back and won it 6-5,” Gehrs said. “My brother (Brandon, another former Truman baseball standout) was there, and after the game he said, ‘Do you realize you were the winning pitcher?’ I hadn’t even thought about it. I was just so happy we won.
“I wish I could tell you what it’s like to win a national championship, but I can’t even put it in words. But I do have my (national championship) ring with me at UCM. I’ll always have my ring and some of the best memories of my life.”