Words like “travesty” don’t usually apply to a high school baseball game. They do when the final score of that game is 65-0.
As first noted by the Newark Advocate, a newspaper in Ohio, and followed upon by Sporting News columnist Bill Bender, the Licking County (Oh.) Licking Heights High baseball team routed Columbus (Oh.) Harvest Prep High by a final score of 65-0. The game was halted after three innings, by which point Licking Heights already had accumulated 48 hits, 13 walks and a troubling 11 hit batsmen.
The Hornets scored 16 runs in the first inning, 18 runs in the second and 31 in the third. Harvest Prep scored no runs at all.
"It's the most awkward I've ever felt in 34 years of coaching," Licking Heights coach Jeff Boyer told the Sporting News. "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."
Before anyone blame the state of Ohio for not having a mercy rule to halt such a game, it’s worth noting that it does. However, that rule calls for games to end abruptly if one team holds a 10-run lead after five innings and does not have provisions for games that get far out of hand earlier. In the case of Licking Heights and Harvest Prep, the game was called after three innings because of encroaching darkness, not the astounding 65-0 score.
While there is no defending a 65-0 final score, it appears that Boyer tried – or offered to try -- just about every alternative at his disposal to minimize the damage. At one point Boyer claims he went to the game’s home plate umpire and offered to have his players bunt and then step on the plate to guarantee an out.
The umpire’s response to that possibility? Boyer made that clear, and hinted at its irony.
“… he said he didn't want it to be a travesty of a game. And I'm thinking, 'We're already there.' "
While the two teams will meet again on April 22, Boyer has made it clear that Licking Heights is committed to avoiding the kind of embarrassment that resulted from the teams’ first encounter. That’s all for the best for both teams, regardless of how responsible Licking Heights could possibly be for the eye-popping lopsided final score.