In any amateur sport, when one team scores 82 points and the other scores zero, it’s a cause for curiosity. In football, it’s concerning. In basketball, it’s perplexing. But in baseball, it passes through the looking glass of ridiculousness to become both sad and hilarious at the same time.
One team crossed home plate EIGHTY-TWO times and the other crossed it none.
In this case, Old Rochester Regional High School in Mattapoisett, Mass., was the team who quite literally could not stop scoring and Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School in Lawrence, Mass., was the team who could not stop them.
As Old Rochester head coach Steve Carvalho explained to South Coast Today, there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for all of this. Carvalho scheduled an 18-game regular season for his Bulldogs, but was looking for a home-and-home series to round his slate out to an even 20. He consulted the state’s scheduling website and found that Notre Dame Cristo Rey in the Boston suburb of Dorchester was also in search of two games. Cristo Rey had half the enrollment of Old Rochester, but Carvalho saw that Cristo Rey went 11-8 and made the playoffs last season, so he scheduled the series.
Then he found out the Cristo Rey High School he actually scheduled was not the one he thought he scheduled. This Cristo Rey hailed from Lawrence, Mass., a city near the New Hampshire border. But he thought the 88-mile drive to Lawrence would be a good bonding experience for his team. And then he got off the bus and saw his opponent, a school with 103 boys and little athletic tradition.
Old Rochester poured in 12 runs in the first, 20 more in the second, and Carvalho stopped counting after that.
Actually, that’s not at all. He started actively scheming ways to end the game and, once informed the game had to go five innings, started instructing the other team on ways to get his own team out.
“By that time we weren’t sprinting down the line after hitting routine ground balls and when we were hitting balls 300 feet, we weren’t taking the extra base,” he told South Coast Today. “I don’t know how many times we had the bases loaded when all they had to do was make a force out at any base, but they couldn’t make the plays.”
After the umpires agreed to greatly expand the strike zone, Carvalho told his players to swing at anything that wasn’t over their head. He re-positioned the opposing third baseman into a better spot to get his own players out.
Still, Carvalho’s attempted sabotage could not overcome the massive talent discrepancy. Don King was the MVP for the Bulldogs, tossing a 16-strikeout no-hitter while going 15-of-17 at the plate. John Gustim battled through all eight innings for Cristo Rey — the game was put out of its misery after eight… though the fact it went beyond five was curious — surrendering 92 hits and suffering 22 errors from his defense. The 82-0 score is the largest known high school baseball blowout since a 109-0 laugher in Iowa way back in 1928.
For the record, Cristo Rey harbors no hard feelings over their lopsided loss.
“I don’t have a problem with Old Rochester at all, they are a program we’re trying to be like,” Cristo Rey AD Georgie Rosario told the Boston Herald. “We’re a very young team that graduated seven seniors year from last year. We have no seniors, two juniors and the rest of the team is freshmen and sophomores.”
Still, Carvalho regrets not stopping his own team’s avalanche, saying they should have bunted more and taken more third strikes. If the third game does get played, Carvalho says, he’s taking his JV, not his varsity.
All in all, Carvalho’s testimony seems like a problem every coach would love to have is indeed a problem.
“I was sick to my stomach then and I’m still sick about it,” he said. “The game never should have been played and, believe me, we exhausted every option within our power to keep what happened from happening. They are a very young team and seemed very content with just being out there and playing baseball but that was an experience I never want to experience again.”