Team Maryland was to arrive in Eldersburg today after a two-day bus ride from Stillwater, Okla., following another successful performance in the Sun Belt Classic at Oklahoma State University.
The squad of 20 of the state's top high school baseball players, finished second with a 3-3 record in the round-robin tournament that also featured all-star teams from Florida, California, Ohio and Georgia.
"We have been the smallest state involved in the Sun Belt Classic against teams from hotbeds like Florida and California," said coach Roger Wrenn. "We are very pleased with what we were able to accomplish in the past week."
Besides playing competitively, Wrenn said Team Maryland attained another goal of being the classiest team involved in the tournament.
Although winning the tournament was not a primary objective, Maryland came within an inning of taking the title. It led 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth before Florida rallied to win, 5-2, for its third straight championship.
Despite losing, Wrenn was pleased with the championship game performance. Florida had routed his team, 12-2, in the opening round and had outscored its opponents 47-11 in the first five games.
"That was a team with at least 15 to 17 players that were drafted by major-league clubs," said Wrenn.
Maryland registered one of the classic's biggest highlights last Thursday, coming back from a 9-1 deficit in the fourth inning to defeat Ohio, 13-9.
Maryland's top performers included John Bowles, Ronnie Shankle, Kevin Gibbs, Scott Frye, J.C. Watts, Bobby St. Pierre, Mike Leatherman and Kenny Sturek.
Garry Burrows (Patterson) was second on the team with three RBIs. Brian Van Deusen (Atholton), Jeff Hawk (C. Milton Wright), and Ron Hartman (Archbishop Curley) finished tied for third with two runs scored.
Leatherman, Gibbs and Bowles were named to the all-tournament team. Jason Bell of Florida was the tournament's outstanding performer for his no-hitter against Oklahoma and save in Sunday's championship game.
Off the field, Maryland's players stayed with families of the Frontier Rotary Club of Stillwater.
"It's always a great baseball atmosphere out there," said Wrenn, longtime coach at Patterson. "We were treated like we were the Orioles. We were able to show that Maryland plays a good brand of baseball and, most importantly, we had a lot of fun."