Just when you thought all the far-flung high school baseball records were safe for another season, Iowa gets its traditional summer season started and the state's second-ranked team knocks a one-inning record out of the park.
According to the Mason City Globe-Gazette and other sources, Mason City (Iowa) High rolled to a 40-0 victory against Des Moines (Iowa) North High in the Mohawks' home opener on Tuesday. While a 40-0 spanking is notorious enough, an astounding 31 of those runs were scored in a single inning -- the second -- when Mason City used the largest scoring inning in Iowa history to turn a 5-0 lead into a record blowout.
Perhaps equally incredibly, 31 runs in an inning is not a national record. Instead, the mark places Mason City at sixth on the all-time list, six runs behind the national record of 37 runs in a single frame.
While the blowout, which came in four innings, may be striking enough, the manner in which Mason City scored its 31 runs is equally notable. According to Mason City coach Troy Rood, the presumptive state title contenders stopped taking multiple bases on hits as soon as their lead hit double-digits. Additionally, the Mohawks subbed in every batter in their starting lineup in the second inning. In fact, they subbed out two spots in the order twice.
"You want to respect the game," Rood told the Globe-Gazette. "You want to play with class. We called off the dogs when it got to nine or 10 runs. We started playing station to station and we were pinch hitting for our pinch hitters."
Only one Mohawk player hit a home run in the 31-run outbreak, and -- according to Iowa-based friend of the blog Austin Draude -- the umpire even called a balk against a Des Moines North pitcher in the second inning.
That was all part of 17 hits, 10 walks and four errors in the frame. In total, 34 batters came to the plate in the single half an inning, and 17 in a row reached base at one point. By the time the dust settled on the four-inning rout, 10 different Mason City players had knocked in multiple RBIs in the game.
Perhaps most disturbingly for both teams, the pair had to square off in the second game of a doubleheader shortly thereafter. Thankfully, the second game ended with a 12-2 score after five innings, a far cry from the home-opening blowout offered earlier Tuesday. Given the fact that Des Moines North field just 10 players on its roster, one can only imagine what it felt after a very long day at the ballpark.
Predictably, a debate has broken out overnight questioning the ethics of both teams in the contest. Globe-Gazette columnist Jared Patterson laid out all the strategic details of the rout in this piece, in which he seemed to find more fault with Des Moines North fielding an independent varsity team, rather than combine with another city high school (as it does with its wrestling program) to increase roster numbers.
He could be right, but it's also possible that Mason City could have done more to limit the damage. It's impossible to know for sure without being at the game in question. Yet no matter the cause, there's little doubt that both teams will remember the doubleheader for some time a while to come.