Nailing down who has held the national high school single-season stolen baseball mark over the years has proven to be as elusive as trying to throw out current record-holder Silento Sayles.
Sayles of Port Gibson (Miss.) holds the current mark of 103 stolen bases and is one of 40 players to ever steal 70 or more bases in a season. He tied then-record holder Vicente Rosario of Washington (New York) with 96 in the penultimate game of the 2013 season and swiped seven more in his final contest to break the century mark.
Sayles also holds the single-game record with 12, according to the National Federation of High Schools record book. However, it should be noted that Atlantic (Iowa) had six players steal more than 12 bases in a 109-0 win over Griswold in 1928, topped by Don King with 19 steals. The NFHS does not recognize any of Atlantic's stolen base totals.
The history of the all-time stolen base leaders is a curious one. The NFHS record book lists Mark Dingledine of Madisonville-North Hopkins (Ky.) with 92 stolen bases in 1970. However, a season-ending list of the stat leaders for the Maroons in the Madisonville Messenger had the team leader in stolen bases with just 34 (and it wasn't even Dingledine). So Dingledine's 92 steals could be a career record rather than single season.
Mike Lewis of Wahama (Mason, W.Va.) is thus the first to reach 80 stolen bases. A catcher, Lewis made all-state and his bio listed him with 80 steals out of 82 attempts.
For many years, the NFHS record book listed Jeff Walling of Asher (Okla.) as the national record holder with 86 stolen bases set in 1983. However Walling's total was actually a combination of Walling's totals in the fall and spring seasons combined, since Asher, a small Oklahoma school, played baseball during both seasons.
Thus in 1991, Natchez Trace Academy teammates Anthony Acy and Brad Sewall were under the impression that they needed 87 stolen bases to take over the national record. In the championship game of the Academy Class A championship against Deer Creek, Sewall entered the game with 86 stolen bases and Acy had 85. In the first inning, Acy tied the supposed record with a steal of second and broke the record with a steal of third. Sewall joined Acy at No. 87 with a steal in the fifth.
Natchez Trac Academy coach Tim McMillian told MaxPreps that Acy and Sewall were both competitive when it came to stealing bases.
"They were both very fast and were very good at stealing bases," said McMillian. "We played them in the outfield together. We had the left fielder play on the foul line and told him to not worry about any fly balls, Anthony and Brad would chase them down."
Natchez Price set a national team record for stolen bases in 1990 with 346 and topped it in 1991 with 360.
"We averaged about 10 a game, but we didn't steal after we got up by 10 runs," said McMillian, whose team went 35-3-1 in 1991, but closed down that summer due to a lack of funds.
So Acy and Sewall had actually set the national record several games before when they topped the state record of 81 by Barry Parker of Northwest Rankin (set in 1989). Acy and Sewall's national record never made the NFHS record, although the Clarion Ledger covered it extensively during the season.
"I was in the process of filling out the paperwork for the record book, but then the school closed and I moved out of the area and it never got turned in," said McMillian. "I always wondered if it ever made it into the books."
Three years later in South Carolina, Reggie Ford of North Myrtle Beach (S.C.) was having a record-breaking season. According to the Myrtle Beach Sun-News, Ford "broke" Walling's national record of 86 stolen bases and finished the season with a new record of 87. Actually, there was now a three-way tie for first between Ford, Acy and Sewall.
Vicente Rosario of George Washington (New York) shattered the record in 1996 with 96 stolen bases during his junior year. He put his name at second place in the record book with 89 as a senior. Sayles broke Rosario's record 17 years later.
Rosario, Acy and Sewall are among six players to nab 70 or more bases twice. Bobby Stahel of Needles (Calif.), Josh Hall of Homewood (Ala.) and Jack Ropp of Concord (Mich.) were the others. Acy and Hall accomplished the feat at two different schools. Acy played at University Christian Prep (Shreveport, La.) after Natchez Trace closed while Hall started at Randolph School and moved to Homewood when his father became the head coach there. Hall is listed in the NFHS record book as the national leader with 224 career steals.
Single-season stolen base leaders
103 — Silento Sayles, Port Gibson (Miss.)
96 — Vicente Rosario, Washington (New York, N.Y.)
93 — Chad Lane, Vian (Vian, Okla.)
93 — Bobby Stahel, Needles (Calif.)
89 — Vicente Rosario, Washington (New York), 1997
88 — Alex Sianez, Capitol Hill (Oklahoma City)
87 — Reggie Ford, North Myrtle Beach (Little River, S.C.)
87 — Anthony Acy, Natchez Trace Academy (Miss.), 1991
87 — Brad Sewall, Natchez Trace Academy (Miss.), 1991
85 — Bill Seabolt, Menifee County (Frenchburg, Ky.)
83 — Brad Sewall, Natchez Trace Academy (Miss.), 1990
82 — Josh Hall, Homewood (Ala.)
81 — Josh Hall, Randolph School (Huntsville, Ala.)
81 — Barry Parker, Northwest Rankin (Brandon, Miss.)
81 — Anthony Acy, University Christian Prep (Shreveport, La.)
80 — Bobby Stahel, Needles (Calif.), 2010
80 — Mike Lewis, Wahama (Mason, W. Va.)
79 — Floyd Webb, Kellyville (Okla.)
79 — Jack Ropp, Concord (Mich.)
78 — Eric Oliver, Chattanooga Central (Harrison, Tenn.)
76 — Matt Rositano, Admiral King (Lorain, Ohio), 2000
76 — Iggy Wagner, Pahrump Valley (Pahrump, Nev.)
75 — Kevin Harrison, Maplesville (Maplesville, Ala.)
75 — Joe Hoover, Perkins-Tryon (Perkins, Okla.)
75 — Austin Hilmer, North Linn (Troy Mills, Iowa)
73 — Jeff Burton, Odin (Ill.)
73 — Joe Perez, Lane Tech (Chicago)
73 — Scott Mitchell, Corinth (Miss.)
73 — Ryan Grube, Northridge (Johnstown, Ohio)
73 — Roby Wilson, Hominy (Okla.)
72 — Garrett Johns, Beacon of Hope Christian (St. Augustine, Fla.)
72 — Roger Carlton, Morristown (Ind.)
72 — Jeff Turner, Nouvel Catholic Central (Saginaw, Mich.)
71 — Chad Myron, Window Rock (Fort Defiance, Ariz.)
71 — Rob Blakeslee, Chesaning (Mich.)
71 — Rick Gaebe, Woodlawn (Chicago)
71 — Noah Welte, St. Patrick (Maysville, Ky.)
71 — Jake Brownlow, Mustang (Okla.)
70 — Jack Ropp, Concord (Mich.), 2011
70 — Kevin Brown, Los Angeles Lutheran (Sylmar, Calif.)