COLUMBIA – Jared Wood couldn't watch anymore.
Midway through the fifth inning while his Battle baseball team was in the field, the coach pulled nearly every position player off the field that started the game and replaced them with bench players.
When the players returned to the dugout, Wood didn't even want them there.
"Don't sit in the dugout," Wood yelled at his starters. "If you want to sulk, go do that in the bullpen."
The players went out to the bullpen. Some stood on concrete blocks and slouched on the fence while they watched their team lose 16-1 to Helias in five innings.
In that fifth inning, Helias sent 17 players to the plate and scored 11 runs. After the mid-inning substitution, the Crusaders decided to stop piling on the runs.
When there was an error or pass ball, the Helias third base coach held his runners at third.
"They were good sports," Battle junior Marshall Willingham said. "It could've easily been 30-1."
Willingham was the only Spartan to cross the plate. After he stole second base in the third inning and reached third base on a throwing error, fellow junior Kaelen Dowling drove him home on a single up the middle. Sophomore Jack McNellis was the only other Spartan to get a hit.
Tuesday's loss came a day after a 17-4 loss to Rock Bridge at home.
One of the reserves Wood hoped his starters watched after they were yanked was junior Dalton Roberts. The third basemen is the center on the football team and he used his wide frame to block a couple bouncing ground balls.
"He sacrificed his body," Wood said. "I hope the other players saw how he did that and the effort he gave."
But once the game ended, Wood sent his players by the outfield fence next to the bullpen. He kept some players longer than others and didn't stop talking to the last of them until nearly 45 minutes after the game.
Wood emphasized to his players the definition of insanity: "doing something over and over again and expecting a different result."
Several players didn't have much to say to the media after the team meeting.
And only time will tell if the Spartans are insane under Wood's definition.
But as the coach said, "The sun will rise tomorrow."
And once school ends on Wednesday, Battle will take the practice field to prepare for Centralia on Thursday.
Supervising editor is Erik Hall.