Harford high school grads Bill O'Patterson, Brett Seidel and Jeff Hawk were excited just to be chosen to play in Oriole Park at Camden Yards in last Sunday's Crown High School All-Star Game.
But the real excitement came when O'Patterson of North Harford High tripled to drive in Michael Martin of North Hagerstown with the tying run, and later scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly.
"I got a fastball on 3-and-1, and I just tried to nail it as hard as I could," said O'Patterson. "This experience was everything I thought it would be, and more."
Seidel of Fallston, Hawk of C. Milton Wright and O'Patterson were Harford County's representatives in the 11th annual North-South game.
Each played key roles in helping the North to the thrilling, come-from-behind, 7-6 win in front of several hundred spectators.
Seidel and Hawk each drew a pair of walks to complement O'Patterson's prowess at the plate.
Players of both all-star teams were introduced before more than 40,000 people prior to the start of the Orioles-Kansas City Royals game.
They were then whisked to the upper deck, where they spent nearly three hours fighting off the butterflies.
"They introduced us in front of all those people, and we got all psyched up to play," said Seidel. "Then we had to go in the seats and wait for three hours. I think we were all pretty nervous. Once we got out there, it took a while for the butterflies to go away."
Once the fielders took their positions and the nerves calmed, however, it was time to bear down and play baseball.
The game featured 30 of the top players in Maryland, each trying to make the play or slug the base hit that would make a memory.
All were eager to make a favorable impression in what would likely be their only chance to play in the new stadium. The game featured two long home runs, a diving catch in the outfield and hard-nosed play.
For many, the thrill of playing in the most talked-about park in baseball overshadowed the results on the field.
"It's a great sensation to actually come out here and play," said Hawk. 'It's like running on wind or something. It's almost indescribable."