The hats, the bats, and even the gnats were out in full force Tuesday when the Lions took on the Spartans of East Nicolaus. The Lions would have one of their best offensive games of the year, yet they also performed some of their worst defense of the year as well. While the sun was nice and shining, the Lions were no match for the offensive East Nicolaus club. Ultimately, the Lions’ poor defense outweighed its offense, and they lost by a stunning score of 27-11 in five innings. The score alone is really mind-blowing. Twenty seven runs combined between two teams is unusual, let alone by one team. In addition, if the mercy rule was allowed to be in effect at any point in the game, the game would have been over at the end of the 2nd inning (the Spartans led 12-2). By high school baseball rules, a game must be played at least 5 innings, or four and a half innings if the home team is leading, regardless of the score. Only once five innings (or 4 ½ innings) are complete can the mercy rule go into effect. The mercy rule is when a team leads by 10 or more runs and, for the sake of mercy, the game is ruled over. However, once the team that’s losing goes down by 10 runs or more, they will have one last opportunity to pull to within 9 runs or closer. For a visiting team, that last opportunity would be the top of the next inning. For the home team, their last opportunity would be at the bottom of the current inning. The Spartans started out strong, using hits, walks, and stolen bases to take control early and spring out to a 3 run lead before the Lions even got a chance to bat. One of the biggest runs for the Spartans came in the 2nd inning, where it took the Lions 13 batters to get three outs. That’s going through the line up one full rotation and half of another one. Nine of the first eleven batters scored a run. Along with more hits and walks, the Spartans also had help from the Lions, who began racking up the errors on defense and allowing the Spartans to score. In fact, one of the Spartans, Scheiber, hit a triple to bring in a run for an RBI. However, in the process, the Lions committed an error and that allowed Scheiber to score for an error-assisted inside-the-park home run. In the third inning, the Spartans tacked on five more runs. Again, the Spartans continued to hit nearly everything thrown to them in the strike zone and anything that wasn’t seemed to always be a wild pitch, which allowed runners to advance and get into prime scoring positions. While there wasn’t much action in the 4th inning, the Spartans put the game away with another huge inning in the 5th inning. This time, the first batter, Goyet, got to base via a walk, which was followed by two straight strikeouts. The next person up, Wilson, took a walk that would ultimately lead to a massive ten run, two out rally. The inning was so long that the Spartans nearly went through their entire lineup twice. Once more, the Spartans used mistakes on the Lions defense and their active bats to their advantage. ... For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of the April 26, 2013 issue of the Gridley Herald.