In wind gusts that reached 60 miles per hour, the Page (Ariz.) High baseball team set a state record with 12 home runs — including nine inside-the-park jobs and a handful of other trips around the bases on errors — on rival Many Farms High's grassless field last week, according to the Arizona Daily Sun.
The winds kicked up dirt and sand in a dust storm also referred to as a haboob, forcing Page's aptly named Sand Devils (better than the Haboobs, right?) to don dust masks and wrap t-shirts around their faces in "a ninja-like look," according to the game story. Page coach Alex Randel told the paper he suggested moving the game to nearby Chinle in anticipation of the storm, but Many Farms turned down the offer.
Instead, Page defeated Many Farms in four innings, 30-1, despite multiple game delays. Senior shortstop Tyler Janes tied a state record with four home runs in addition to rounding the bases on a double that resulted in an outfielder's two-base error. Steven Christie added three homers and Waylon Black belted a pair while Carson Wright, Collin Knight and Dillon Nockideneh each added one apiece.
"We'd play two minutes, and the umpires would stop the game for three minutes to get the dust to stop," Randel told the Daily Sun. "We couldn't see the center fielder or left fielder from the dugout. They were covered in dust." Randel's team had been criticized for stealing a division record 18 stolen bases in a 20-0 win over Chinle earlier this season, "but you can't tell my guys not to hit," he added.
Randel admitted that Arizona's single-game home run record probably would not have fallen without the storm, and his team's two total home runs in 15 previous games certainly support that claim.
Haboobs have hit the Phoenix area several times in the past few years. A week before the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, one such storm covered Arizona's Chase Field, but that occurred during a Diamondbacks road trip, so we were never treated to Jason Kubel in a ninja-like t-shirt wrap.