It’s exciting when high school baseball teams get a chance to play in a professional facility, whether that’s a Major League (MLB) or Minor League (MiLB) park. Yet sometimes that relative honor comes with a hitch, as two Florida teams learned the hard way.
Jupiter (Fla.) Christian High School and Suncoast High School (Riviera Beach, Fla.) played their recent regular season game at Roger Dean Stadium, host of the Palm Beach Cardinals, the Florida Single A minor league affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. The idea was to play the high school game before the Cardinals faced off against the Port St. Lucie Mets, creating a unique doubleheader for fans of both the local high school and minor league teams.
All was going according to plan until the top of the seventh inning, when Suncoast scored a game-tying run. After setting down Jupiter Christian in the bottom of the seventh, the game should have headed to the eighth inning to start extra frames until one team ended on top. The problem was that by this time, the teams were coming up on the scheduled start of the Cardinals-Mets Single A game.
According to the Palm Beach Post, there was never any serious consideration about continuing into extra innings. Instead, the game was immediately declared a tie so the minor league teams could get ready for their game.
Ties in high school baseball aren’t quite unheard of the way they are in the professional ranks, though they usually come because of adverse weather, not logistical challenges brought on by minor league scheduling.
Yet despite the unorthodox finish, and the fact that it will necessitate a third column in both teams’ won-loss records, both coaches said the experience of playing at Roger Dean was well worth the hassle.
“The reality of getting to the major leagues, or even the minor leagues, is a long shot at best, so for them to get a chance to get a hit on this field or make a great catch, they’ll remember it forever,” Jupiter Christian coach Mike Lord told the Post.
“Once the dust settles and the heartache of the tie goes away, they’ll be able to think up some fond memories on that field.”