Showing no mercy

The Spartans baseball team ran onto their field before their Tuesday game against bitter rival Francis Howell, aiming to knock off the No. 2 team in the large-schools rankings. Unfortunately for Central, Howell showed no mercy, but in the end MHSAA (Missouri High School Athletic Association) did. Howell beat Central by a score of 11-0 after only five innings, in which the mercy rule took effect and the game ended.

According to MHSAA Policy 5100, the mercy rule will apply for varsity baseball contests if a team has a 15 run lead after three innings and/or a 10 run lead after five innings.

Junior Troy Newell had a rough outing for Central, allowing seven runs in 2 1/3 innings, while also allowing five hits and three walks. The issue, however, is that only four of the seven runs were earned, as the Spartans struggled fielding the ball and committed five errors, which is their worst performance of the year.

When it came to batting, the Spartans garnered a mere two hits, one by junior Mitch Miller and another by junior Ryan Schindler, both singles.

Going into the second inning, neither team had scored a run, but that’s when Howell’s explosive offense lit up. With help from Howell senior first baseman Calvin Munson, who launched a two-run home run over the left field wall, the Vikings scored five runs in the second, two in the third, and four in the fourth, and collectively gained 12 hits.

The loss moved the Spartans under .500 at 5-6, and moved Howell up to 11-3. Central, however, got the chance for not just a rematch, but redemption.

Anticipating a rematch, the Spartans were supposed to face Howell on Wednesday, but due to the severe storms and tornadoes striking the metropolitan St. Louis area, the game was moved to Thursday at C&H Park at 4:15 p.m.

As they walked onto C&H field the next day, the Spartans looked to not only go back to the .500 mark, they also wanted to show their arch-rivals that the previous game was a fluke. Howell would have none of that, as they once again throttled Central 15-1. Central was also outhit 13-5 in the game, and also committed three errors.

For the second game in a row, the usage of the MHSAA mercy rule took place, as the game was called after five innings, with the Vikings up by 14. Senior Clayton Luley was the starting pitcher for the game, and he also earned the loss.

In the two games against Howell, Central was outscored by a margin of 26-1. Senior catcher Roger Robinson says that there is no excuse whatsoever.

“It’s unacceptable!” Robinson exclaimed. Robinson, who was in both disappointment and anger, said that it was the lack of making routine plays and stupid mistakes that ultimately cost them the game. “It’s embarrassing and extremely disappointing.”

The fact that now Central is done playing Howell for the rest of the regular season means their goal for redemption against their Highway 94 rival might not happen, unless they meet in the postseason. The loss moves the Spartans to 5-7 on the season, and the Vikings move up to 12-3.

The Spartans will look to move put these two horrible losses behind them, show everyone how talented they really are, and prove that they are much better than the past two games have shown.