The short answer: One team is very good, one team is not so good, and Ohio's high school mercy rule doesn't account for games getting this ugly, this early.
Two weeks ago, Licking Heights beat Harvest Prep 65-0. A blowout should perhaps have been expected. The Harvest Prep Warriors, mostly underclassmen, have lost every game this season by double digits. The Licking Heights Hornets are so overpowered, they're being moved to a higher division after this year. But 65-0?
The Sporting News, which had the first detailed rundown of the game, says the Hornets had 48 hits, drew 13 walks and had 11 hit batsmen in just three innings of play. The scored 16 in the first, 18 in the second, and 31 in the third. Their coach, Jeff Boyer, claims he tried to stop the carnage:
"We didn't run on passed balls; we didn't take extra bases or any of those kinds of things," Boyer said. "I even asked the umpire, 'What do you want us to do?'
"I asked if he wanted us to bunt and step on the plate, and he said he didn't want it to be a travesty of a game. And I'm thinking, 'We're already there.' "
It could have been so, so much worse. Ohio does have a mercy rule that kicks in with a 10-run lead—but it only comes into play after five innings. Thankfully, Harvest Prep was spared by that most merciful rule of all: the passage of time. After three innings, the game was called on account of darkness.
Even the local newspaper was ashamed. Here is the entirety of their game recap:
Jacob Brandwein had a three-run home run to lead the Hornets (3-1, 1-0) to a MSL-Cardinal Division win.