For an athlete, the bus ride home always seems longer after a loss.
For Jeff Hawk, the bus ride home from the Sun Belt Classic baseball tournament would have seemed endless even if his Team Maryland had won its final game.
Team Maryland lost to Team Florida, 5-2, in the championship game Sunday. Hawk and his teammates boarded the bus Monday morning for a two-day, 25-hour trip home from Stillwater, Okla.
"It took forever," said the C. Milton Wright graduate, the only Harford County player on the team comprised of top high school players in the state.
Hawk arrived home late Tuesday night.
Except for the bus ride, Hawk said he enjoyed everything about his trip to the Sun Belt Classic. The loss in the championship game didn't really put a damper on the trip, he said.
In six games at the classic, team Maryland finished with a 3-3 record and also played four scrimmages.
A power-hitting outfielder, Hawk played in every game and started six.
"Just making it to the championship game was great," said Hawk. "We were winning the whole game. We actually outhit them. We had five hits and they had four."
Maryland led 2-0 through five innings on the one-hit pitching of Brunswick's Scott Frye, the hurler who beat Joppatowne in the Class 1A state championship last month.
Florida rallied for five runs in the bottom of the sixth.
"We walked a couple, and then they got a hit and scored two. Then we had a passed ball.
"When one thing happened, everything started to happen," said Hawk.
Hawk said his best game came in an 8-4 losing effort against California.
He was 1-1 and was hit by two pitches.
"I played pretty well the whole time," said Hawk. "I was happy with it."
Most of the teams Maryland played against had practiced together before heading to Oklahoma, but the Maryland team didn't practice at all before leaving.
Players were selected at an invitational tryout in Salisbury last month.
Many didn't see each other again until they got on the bus to
To get the team in shape for the classic, scrimmages were scheduled at stopovers in Springfield, Ohio, and Springfield, Ill.
"Those two games on the way out really helped us," said Hawk. "The other teams had played together for at least a couple weeks before they got out there. But we really played well."
Hawk, who plans to attend Elon College in North Carolina this fall, will now rejoin his Bedouins team in the Baltimore Metro Baseball League.
He has one more all-star game left, however.
This afternoon, Hawk will play in the Crown All-Star Baseball Game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.