The final score 54-0 gives off the impression of an atrocious high school football rout. In Texas on Tuesday, it somehow became a bizarre baseball score.
As reported in the Dallas Morning News -- and by the victorious team itself on its own website -- the Lake Highlands (Texas) High baseball team cruised to one of history's most merciless mercy-rule games, topping Samuell (Texas) High by an official final score of 54-0.
We say "official final score" because the two different coaches had differing opines on precisely how many times Lake Highlands had scored, with Wildcats coach Jay Higgins claiming that his team scored 57 runs, and Samuell coach Mike Peña claiming the final score was 53-0.
One can almost understand how a scorekeeper could have become lost trying to keep up with Lake Highlands' offense. The Wildcats took only five innings to rack up their 54 runs, and in a feat of extraordinary consistence, they did so without hitting any home runs.
"We did everything possible," Higgins told the Morning News. "We told the kids no matter how far you hit the ball, you only go one base at a time. ... We didn't steal any bases. I emptied the bench.
"The National Federation, which is the rule book we go by, says you have to play five innings before the game is considered official. That's what I was worried about -- if you stop after three innings and somebody comes back and says, 'Well, you guys didn't play an official game.' You have to play five to be official. We fulfilled our requirement by federation rules."
The final stats from the game are positively dizzying. According to a game report in the Lake Highlands Advocate, the Wildcats scored 21 runs in the fifth inning alone. Lake Highlands had only one triple (hit by Hudson Taylor) and only five doubles. So, how did the Wildcats score so many runs? With lots and lots and lots of singles ... 38 of them to be exact.
In terms of individual batting lines, it would be hard to ever top the one put up by Lake Highlands' Michael Ketchmark: 8 for 9, one double and 11 RBIs. That's right, a single player drove in more than 10 runs.
And, as one might expect from the final score, Lake Highlands' pitching was equally dominant, pitching a no-hitter across the five-inning game. The Advocate reported that the team did record two errors.
While the game itself was rough on Samuell, the psychological trauma on the team may be even tougher. Peña claimed that he was most proud that all 17 of his team's players showed up for practice the day after the rout, a significant factor considering that there are no freshmen or junior varsity teams for the varsity squad to lean on to help it make up numbers.
"At least I can say we didn't give up," Peña told the Morning News. "I'm not going to say that next time we are going to win, but I hope that we can play them better next time.
"As long as I can get kids interested in baseball, I'm doing all right."
In fact, that last line might be the most frightening aspect of the entire game: The two teams do have to face off again, with Samuell scheduled to visit Lake Highlands on April 8.