Steve Johnson pitched 2 1/3 innings of relief in the Orioles' come-from-behind 9-6 victory over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night at Camden Yards, eight years after he stepped onto the field at Oriole Park for the first time as a participant in the Brooks Robinson High School All-Star Game.
Participants in this year's game, which will be played at Camden Yards on Sunday following the Orioles' game against the Detroit Tigers, were introduced Thursday to the legendary Robinson in a banquet room on the sixth floor of the B&O Warehouse.
WBAL's Keith Mills, the event's emcee, shared a story with the players and their family members from Johnson's major league debut last season. Sitting in the dugout prior to that game, nerves weren't on Johnson's mind. Instead, Johnson was reminiscing about the first time he played in the stadium.
It's something that 30 of the state's top high school baseball players will get to experience Sunday. For Ron Farley, Robert Jones and Alex Murphy — the three Calvert Hall players selected to play — the game will be their last together.
The three have been teammates for the Cardinals in the past four seasons as their high school careers culminated with back-to-back Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championships.
Murphy, the 2013 Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year, had 22 home runs and 143 RBIs in his career.He is committed to play in college at Wake Forest.
Farley, a Delaware State commit, hit .390 as a senior and was a preseason Under Armour All-American and preseason All-State selection with the Maryland State Association of Baseball Coaches. Jones, a two-time All-MIAA selection, hit .374 and had 22 RBIs as a senior and will play collegiately at Flagler College in Florida.
Taking the field together for the final time will be bittersweet for the accomplished trio.
"It's going to be different without seeing everybody," Murphy said. "This is who you've been growing up with the past four years, but [Sunday] is definitely going to be a good time for all of us, and we're all going to enjoy it."
Murphy has played at Camden Yards before, during tryouts last fall for a club team. Sunday will be a first for Farley and Jones.
"It's definitely going to be sweet to be playing on the same field that all the guys you watch every night are playing on," Farley said.
The three each said following Thursday's banquet that they've had dreams lately about Sunday and their chance to shine on the Orioles' home field. They're nervous, yes, but said excitement is the dominant emotion.
Meeting the legendary Robinson on Thursday morning was a thrill for the three Calvert Hall players. Robinson has missed the banquet in recent years due to health problems, but he was in attendance Thursday and said his health is great.
Robinson won't be at the game Sunday, but he is excited for the 30 kids who will be living a dream for a day.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for the kids here. They're the best of the best," Robinson said. "They'll have college coaches and scouts out here. It can mean a lot to them. These kids love to play baseball, and when that happens, I'm 100 percent for it."
Brooks Robinson All-Star Game
Time: Following Orioles-Tigers game