On March 8, Lake Highlands (Texas) High recorded the single biggest blowout in Texas high school baseball history, racking up what eventually was ruled a 53-0 win against Dallas (Texas) Samuell High. The game earned major headlines here on Prep Rally and elsewhere, for both its score and the questions of ethics that naturally arise when one team outscores another by 50 or more runs.
Yet, buried beneath the headlines and sheer shock of the final score were two interesting facts:
- None of the 17 members of Samuell's already limited varsity squad quit the team following the loss, and
- The teams were scheduled to play a rematch. That rematch will take place on Friday.
Exactly a month after that initial baseball beat down, Lake Highlands and Samuell face off again on Friday. This time, thanks in part to concern on the part of both schools -- not to mention other Texas teams and the UIL in general -- there will be no repeat of the blowout that evolved in March.
All of that comes thanks to a new awareness of a little-used provision from the National Federation of Baseball Rule Book. According to the Associated Press, Rule 4, Section 2, Article 4 of that rules treatise claims that any game can be ended before its requisite seven innings if both coaches and an umpire consent to call it off.
While the UIL doesn't know of any circumstances in which that provision has actually been used, it's possible it could be brought into effect if the early innings of Friday's Lake Highlands-Samuell matchup unfold as they did in the teams' first meeting.
"It's not ever been used to my knowledge," UIL interim athletic director Mark Cousins told the AP. "We don't necessarily publicize the rule, but it's been in there for a number of years."
Then again, it might not come to that. The Spartans have won another game since absorbing their 53-run drubbing, improving their overall standing to 2-9. And while Samuell has allowed at least 13 runs in each of its previous seven losses, there have been marginal signs of improvement.
If the rematch does turn into a second coming of a record blowout, another Dallas area coach said that no one would see any shame in Samuell employing the rarely utilized forfeit provision.
"It's something that we as coaches need to be aware of," said Brian Jones, head of the North Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association and the coach at Dallas Jesuit, another school in the district. "We don't want anything like that to ever happen again."