[This is my column in the April 22 issue of The Commercial Review.]
32-3. 22-0. 25-0. 21-0. 26-4.
When I saw the first, I was appalled. But I shook it off as an anomaly.
It won’t happen again, I thought to myself.
But then it kept occurring; a few times by local teams.
Winning by more than 15 or more is suitable for football; it equates to a couple touchdowns and then some.
Such a margin of victory is acceptable in basketball.
But those scores listed at the beginning of this column are not from football games. They’re not from basketball.
Those are final scores of baseball and softball games played this season.
And all they do is prove one thing: the blatant disrespect for the sport, and most importantly, disrespect for the opponent.
On April 3, the Shawnee Indians baseball team from Lima, Ohio, beat Lima Senior 12-0 in the first game of a doubleheader.
No big deal. Lima Senior could have been slightly overmatched, struggled offensively and perhaps made a couple errors. It happens. After all, it’s prep sports we’re talking about. These teenagers aren’t perfect.
But what happened next exemplified the disrespect. Shawnee scored 16 runs in the first inning of the second game. It added eight more in the second, then a half dozen in the third.
Do the math.
But Shawnee continued to pile on, scoring twice more in the fourth inning to win 32-3.
Yes. 32-3. In baseball.
When I saw the score reported on Twitter, I commented with a phrase I used earlier: “The blatant disrespect …”
Because it was.
There’s no reason a team should win a baseball or softball game by 28 runs. According to the GameChanger program, a popular stat-keeping app for baseball, softball and basketball games, Lima Senior committed eight errors.
What should Shawnee have done on those errors? For one, not taken extra bases, especially after the game was clearly in hand. Just because the opponent commits an error, doesn’t mean a “free” base should be taken.
Stats also show Shawnee recorded 25 hits. Why is a team still swinging away when leading 16-0 after the first inning?
I’ll probably never get an explanation.
My comment got a couple replies, however. A Shawnee senior replied with an arrogant, “lol.”
Another person said, “As a former Shawnee baseball player this is embarrassing. And then the … kid thinks it’s funny. Disgusting.”
Leading by 16 after one inning, there are plenty of things to do. Start bunting. If teams want to make deep tournament runs, there will likely be situations in which it will need to bunt in a pressure situation.
So why not work on that now, early in the season so when the situation later on calls for a bunt you’ll have experience executing the play?
What does teeing off on an inferior opponent and beating them by 28 accomplish? Besides padding stats, nothing.
On the softball diamond, it’s slightly easier to prevent such lopsided scores. For example, a baserunner could leave a base early (doing so is illegal and the runner who left early is automatically out).
Again, decline to advance bases on errors, passed balls or wild pitches.
A couple teams locally have been on the winning end of those ugly scores this season.
Fort Recovery’s softball team beat Delphos Jefferson by a combined score of 35-6 during a March 27 doubleheader. On April 6, the Indians scored 12 runs in one inning on their way to a 22-0 win over Fairlawn.
Just last week, April 13, Jay County’s softball team smacked a school-record eight home runs in a 21-0 thrashing of Eastbrook. The same day, Norwell softball trounced Concordia 20-3, with one Knight player recording 10 RBIs.
The South Adams baseball team recently embarrassed Randolph Southern (25-0) and Canterbury (26-4).
Then there’s the Eastern Hancock softball team. According to MaxPreps, the Royals’ 153 total runs leads the state. EHHS is 10-1 and has won 10 straight games after losing its season opener to New Palestine 4-3 on March 22.
The Royals have won games of 20-0, 17-0 and 18-0 twice. In each of those four victories, it took them just four innings to score those runs.
They’ve also won each of their last two games by 15-1 margins, and are averaging 2.3 runs per inning (153 runs in 66 innings played). Only three games have gone a full seven innings.
The IHSAA prides itself on its #FaceOfSportsmanship campaign.
Is winning by 15 runs on the diamond exemplifying the IHSAA’s sportsmanship model?
No. It’s far from it.
And it’s disgraceful.