The highest scoring baseball game in high school history was played April 25, 1928 when Atlantic (Iowa)
defeated nearby Griswold (Iowa)
, 109-0, but that's only part of the story. The rest of the story involves a girl, money and bad blood that produced an avalanche of national records and possibly the most lopsided score in all of sports history.
The story begins on March 29, 1928, in Griswold, a small town in eastern Iowa, when baseball coach Phil Morrison decided to go with Alice Buckman as his starting right fielder. The selection of Buckman, "a 15-year old red-headed girl," over nine other boys caused quite a stir across the entire country as the Associated Press carried the story and it appeared in newspapers from the Los Angeles Times to the New York Daily News and all points in between.
Griswold games then became a madhouse with fans coming from far and wide to watch Buckman play. She didn't disappoint, either, getting several hits and fielding her position flawlessly aside from one dropped, wind-blown popup.
Griswold games became a main attraction. Movie crews filmed Buckman's every move. Newspaper articles on Griswold games focused only on Buckman's exploits. Opinion columns across the country praised Buckman's accomplishment. The gate at the first Griswold baseball home game was $75 — that's nearly $1,200 in earnings today. She was asked to throw out the first pitch at a minor league ballgame and she was given a trophy for her "Triumph" at the Elliott Track Relays. She was even given a full-page feature in the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
At Atlantic, coach P.G. Russell sought to get a game with Griswold on his home field. In an agreement with Morrison, the two teams would play in Atlantic on April 25 and split the gate 50-50 (one report says the agreement was made the previous fall). Russell anticipated a big crowd and even set up an extra train to run from Griswold to Atlantic to handle the overflow crowd.
Atlantic, it should be noted, was an outstanding team. Undefeated to start the season, Atlantic featured a pitcher, Don King, who had earned all-state honors in the winter while leading Atlantic to a third-place finish in the state basketball tournament. King would play heavily in the matchup against Griswold.
During the week prior to the game, Russell accused Morrison of reneging on their contract, suggesting that Morrison wanted a 60-40 split for Griswold instead of the agreed upon 50-50 cut. Morrison denied the switch, and that's when things began to go downhill. Cries of "commercialization" appeared in newspapers from as far as New Jersey with Morrison denying he was trying to make money off his now nationally famous right fielder.
Morrison then announced the day before the game that Buckman would be unable to play due to an injured finger sustained against Cumberland the game before. Suggesting that he wanted his team to focus on a game the following day against Adair, Morrison pulled his starters, including Buckman, and sent his freshman squad to take on Atlantic.
The results were not pretty. While Atlantic scored only four runs in the first inning, it put 30 across in the second. It scored 12 runs in the third, six runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, 27 in the seventh and 18 in the eighth.
According to Steve Baier, a Cass County Supervisor who has done research on the game, the game was played at Sunnyside Park, which did not have a fence. A rope was utilized to hold back the fans, who formed the outer boundary of the field.
"Griswold's usual left fielder, Johnny Gustin, threw every pitch," said Baier in an e-mail to MaxPreps. "By the eighth inning, Griswold had only seven players on the field. The (nine-inning) game ended in the eighth due to darkness."
The game was an offensive bonanza for Atlantic. Besides bashing out 92 base hits, Atlantic had 16 home runs, five by Ronald Rapp, 26 doubles and seven triples. Atlantic also blazed on the base paths, swiping 113 bases. Griswold, meanwhile, committed 22 errors.
King was the feature player of the game, however. Besides throwing a no-hitter and striking out 16 (other reports say 13), he also led the Atlantic offensive with 15 hits, two home runs, two doubles and 19 stolen bases.
Obviously the game provided a plethora of national records, but only a handful of them are recognized by the National Federation of High Schools Record Book and the Iowa High Schools Athletic Association record book produced by Bud Legg. While most of the team records are listed, none of the individual marks have found their way into the record books.
Chris Boone of the National Federation reported in an e-mail to MaxPreps that the absence of individual records is likely due to the absence of any boxscores to prove the record-breaking marks.
MaxPreps has included two box scores for the game with this story (pictured below). One is from April 27 in the Des Moines Register and includes all of the stolen base and extra base hit totals, but does not including run totals. An accompanying box score from the April 26 Atlantic News Telegraph shows the run totals, but does not include extra base hits.
Some of the statistics were never reported. Game reports do not list any of the players, other than King, who hit doubles. RBI totals are also not available along with any reports of players who might have scored multiple runs or had multiple hits in an inning.
The two teams met later in the season and the score proved to be much closer. With Griswold's starters, including Buckman, on the field, Atlantic posted a 2-1 win.
Here are the records for the game that are included in the National Federation of High Schools Record Book:Most Runs in a Game:
Atlantic, 109Most Runs in a Game, Both Teams:
109 (Atlantic 109, Griswold 0)Most Doubles in a Game One Team:
Atlantic, 26Most Hits in a Game, Both Teams:
92 (Atlantic 92, Griswold 0)Most Home Runs in a Game, Both Teams:
16 (Atlantic 16, Griswold 0)Most Home Runs in a Game:
Atlantic, 16Most Triples in a Game:
Atlantic, 7 (ranks No. 2)
However that list doesn't not include at least two other team marks:Most Stolen Bases in a Game:
Atlantic, 113 (current record is 45 by Salome, Ariz.).Most Runs in an Inning:
Atlantic 30 (ranks 9th best all-time according to NFHS)
There are multiple individual records and listmakers from Atlantic that should be included in the record book. Here are the individual record holders according to the NFHS record book and the totals of the players from Atlantic:Most Individual Hits in a Game: NFHS Record
— 10 by L. Townsend, Hanson (Buxton, Maine), 1931. Atlantic stats:
Don King, 15 hits; Laine Rose, 11 hits; Leon Pine, 11 hits; Wynn Rentz, 11 hits; Dale Heath, 11 hits; Ronald Rapp, 10 hits.Most Individual Home Runs in a Game: NFHS Record
— 5, done by 8 players, last by John Biggs, Arlington Heights (Fort Worth, Texas), 2009. Atlantic stats:
Ronald Rapp, 5 home runs.Most Individual Runs Scored in a Game: NFHS Record
— 10 by Jim Bushkuhl, Dufur (Ore.), 1977. Atlantic stats:
Russell Hoffman, 15 runs; Don King, 14 runs; Laine Rose, 14 runs; Leon Pine, 14 runs; Wynn Rentz, 14 runs; Dale Heath, 13 runs; Ronald Rapp, 10 runs; Clyde Hill, 10 runs.Most Individual Stolen Bases Game:
NFHS Record — 12 by Silento Sayles, Port Gibson, Miss., 2013. Atlantic stats:
Don King, 19 stolen bases; Dale Heath, 16 stolen bases; Laine Rose, 15 stolen bases; Leon Pine, 14 stolen bases; Clyde Hill, 13 stolen bases; Wynn Rentz, 13 stolen bases.Most Triples in a Game: NFHS Record
— 4 by six players, last by Gehrig Chambless of Legacy Charter (Fla.) in 2016. Atlantic stats:
Wynn Rentz, 4 triples.
And finally, a look at the top 10 highest scoring high school baseball games.10 highest scoring high school baseball games
1. 109 — Atlantic (Iowa) vs. Griswold (Iowa), April 25, 1928
2. 67 — Athens (Ga.) vs. Royston (Ga.), April 23, 1948
Nate Williams hit for the cycle twice, including two singles, two doubles, two triples and three home runs. He also drove in 17 runs against the boyhood home of Ty Cobb. Athens is now Clarke Central (Athens, Ga.)3. 65
— Licking Heights (Pataskala, Ohio) vs. Harvest Prep (Canal Winchester, Ohio), April 15, 2013
This game lasted only three innings before it was called due to darkness.3. 65
— Grant Union (John Day, Ore.) vs. Prairie City (Ore.), May 23, 2014
In a playoff game, Grant Union scored 20 runs and had 20 hits in one inning in the 65-0 win.5. 63
— Dufur (Ore.) vs. Cascade Locks (Ore.), May 17, 1977
Dufur had a state record 38 hits in the game with Scott Kramer knocking in a state record 12 runs and Jim Buskuhl scoring a state record 10 runs.5. 63 — Hanson (Buxton, Maine) vs. Old Orchard Beach (Maine), April 25, 1931
L. Townsend had 10 base hits, recognized as the national record by the NFHS record book. Hanson closed in 2011.7. 60
— Evans (Ga.) vs. Laney (Augusta, Ga.), April 14, 1999
Evans had 42 hits in the game and led 25-0 after the first and 45-0 after the second inning.8. 58
— Anderson County (Lawrenceburg, Ky.) vs. Eminence (Ky.), April 7, 2008
Anderson County scored 32 runs in the first inning and finished the game with 44 hits.
9. 5710. 56
— Myrtle (Miss.) vs. Blue Mountain (Miss.), March 26, 2004
Myrtle had 37 hits in the game and scored 28 runs in the third inning.
— Faith Baptist (Canoga Park, Calif.) vs. Pilgrim (Los Angeles), May 11, 1999
Chrisitan Hariot, a freshman, had nine hits, including four home runs and 12 RBI. Julio Bautista had 13 RBI, four doubles and two home runs. Faith Baptist had 50 hits and scored 28 runs in one inning.
Sources for the story include the NFHS record book, various Iowa newspapers, including the Atlantic News Telegraph
and the Des Moines Register