Landis looking to climb ladder

The former Pitt pitcher is off
to a good start with the



NILES — For Kyle Landis, Niles seems like a nice town, but he hopes that he doesn’t spend a lot of time here.

Landis became a member of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers after he was drafted in the 18th round by the Cleveland Indians in last month’s annual baseball draft.

Landis, a 6-1, 185 pound right-handed pitcher out of the University of Pittsburgh and a native of Drums, Pa., is happy to be a Scrapper, but has higher aspirations.

“This is a great start and I’m happy to be here, but I’m hoping that I won’t be here for a very long time,” Landis said.

Entering Sunday night’s game, Landis had appeared in four games for the Scrappers, compiling a 1-0 record. He hadn’t given up an earned run in 6 2/3 innings, surrendering six hits while striking out five and walking five.

The 21-year-old finished up his sophomore season at Pitt with a 2.12 earned run average in 21 games and a 4-4 record in 51 innings of work.

He was the team’s top reliever this season and led the country during the first half of the season with an ERA of 0.33.

You have to deliver

“You have to perform at this level,” he said. “Everyone is good, so you have to be on your toes, but it’s still baseball.

“This is a great level to start out at ... but basically it’s still baseball and that’s not going to change,” he added.

He said his main goal is to keep the ball around the strike zone, no matter what level he’s playing at.

“That was my main asset in college,” he said.

Landis said that he really didn’t know anybody on the Scrappers roster when he joined the team last month.

“I knew Adam White since we attended some pro camps together and he played with West Virginia which is in our Big East League,” he said.

He also had never met his new manager, Tim Laker.

“I’m sure with his baseball experience that we are going to learn a lot under his guidance,” he said.

Landis was also impressed with the facilities at Eastwood Field.

“Niles seems like a real nice town and I’m sure that I’m going to enjoy playing here, but I’m still not looking for a long-term relationship here,” he said.

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