Despite what you might think, there is such a thing as too many runs in a baseball game.
SportingNews.com's Bill Bender reports on a high school baseball game that got out of hand rather quickly, as one team scored 65 runs in just three innings.
Licking Heights High School's (Pataskala, Ohio) coach Jeff Boyer was astonished and just a little bit ashamed of what his team produced April 5 against Harvest Prep. In a game that took over three hours, Licking Heights scored "16 runs in the first, 18 in the second and 31 in the third."
Fortunately, the setting sun had the good sense to put an end to the madness. The game was eventually called due to lack of sunlight, not because of any mercy ruling. In the end, Harvest Prep suffered a 65-0 loss.
There is indeed a "mercy rule," but it mandates a game be called if a team is up by 10 runs after the fifth inning.
Boyer sounded like a coach who never really wanted to humble the opposition in this manner:
It's the most awkward I've ever felt in 34 years of coaching. I didn't know what to feel. I wasn't happy. I felt bad for their kids and didn't know what to tell our kids.
We didn't run on passed balls; we didn't take extra bases or any of those kinds of things. I even asked the umpire, 'What do you want us to do?'
I asked if he wanted us to bunt and step on the plate, and he said he didn't want it to be a travesty of a game. And I'm thinking, 'We're already there.'
The report states that Harvest Prep is comprised mostly of freshmen and sophomore players, lending credence to one commenter on the Sporting News site who suggests Licking Heights might think of playing only freshman against this particular opponent.
Baseball, more than any other sport, lives by its own unwritten rules. Among those is the rule to never run up the score on an opponent—stealing bases, taking home on a passed ball and bunting to secure a hit are just a few things you don't do when you have a big lead.
Still, what do you do when fate will not allow a gentlemanly show of sportsmanship? From what it sounds like, walks and hit batters were among the most egregious errors from the trounced team.
Playing ball on both sides of baseball blowouts, I can tell you most umpires widen the strike zone and try to put some advantages into the game.
At some point, you just work station to station and hope the opposition can get an out. As the report states, "Licking Heights had 48 hits, but the team also drew 13 walks and had 11 hit batters..."
You never want to see something this outrageous in a prep game. Let's just hope it is a far more competitive contest when the clubs meet again on April 22.
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