Hawk’s Nest – St Mary’s (MD) Seahawks Baseball
Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.14
Hawk’s Nest 19200 College Dr St. Marys City, MD 20686
Year Opened: 2001 Capacity: 250
When sports fans think of St. Mary’s College, they usually think of the school in Moraga, California that produces the occasional basketball upset of Gonzaga. However, there is another school of that name as well, St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Unlike other schools of that name, this St. Mary’s is a public university which gets its name not from a Catholic saint but from St. Mary’s City, Maryland, where it is located.
St. Mary’s City was the first colonial settlement in the State of Maryland, and the fourth-oldest permanent English settlement in what was then the Thirteen Colonies. Today, half of the city is a state-run historical preservation and reconstruction area similar to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia and Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts, also known as Historic St. Mary’s City, while the other half is occupied by the modern-day SMCM campus. Although the original St. Mary’s City was once a thriving port town, its population had dropped to just 100 by 1644. Today, almost 400 years later, the population is just 733, almost all of them associated with either the college or the historic site.
SMCM’s athletic teams are known as the Seahawks, and they compete at the NCAA’s Division III level in the United East Conference. Since 2001, the Seahawks’ baseball team has played on campus at the Hawk’s Nest. The stadium features the same kinds of grass and infield dirt that are used at Camden Yards in Baltimore.
Food & Beverage 0
There is no food or drink for sale at the Hawk’s Nest but fans are allowed to bring in their own. There are water fountains that trickle out water if you’re desperate.
The Hawk’s Nest sits in a rustic setting, surrounded by trees on three sides and the parking lot on the other side beyond the outfield fence. Even the dugouts are wooden and resemble log cabins that one might find in the woods. There is one set of bleachers on the first base side at field level and two on the third base side. Behind these two bleachers is a hill where fans can bring their own chairs and sit, and at the top of the hill is a fourth set of bleachers. More hill seating is available down the first baseline beyond the dugout. Admission is free and fans can sit anywhere they want, so it really comes down to personal preference.
There is a scoreboard in left-center field which shows a linescore and other basic information, but beyond that there isn’t much going on here. Fans will hear just about everything that is going on on the field, whether it’s the base coach calling out to his players, the umpire communicating substitutions to the scorekeeper, or just about anything else, you’ll hear it. However, that’s about all that you will see or hear beyond the game itself. Baseball purists will love this, but those looking for more of an experience will be disappointed. Considering this is Division III baseball, this isn’t unexpected.
St. Mary’s City contains precisely two things – the St. Mary’s College campus and Historic St. Mary’s City, which is a historical reconstruction park similar to Colonial Williamsburg and Plymouth Plantation. It is a popular field trip site for Maryland schoolchildren, and tens of thousands of others visit the site every year as well. It is well worth a visit for the colonial history buff, but for just about anything else, you’re going to have to go into a neighboring town like Lexington Park.
There are some places to eat up and down Three Notch Road (Route 235) and Point Lookout Road (Route 5), and some hotels which are mainly used by people visiting the historic site, but you’re going to have to drive at least 10-15 minutes to get there.
The Seahawks typically draw only a few dozen fans a game – on a good day they might get 50 or 75. Most of them are friends or family of the players, but you do get the occasional local, or perhaps some tourists who got bored of the historical site and want to do something else for a day. They do tend to be knowledgeable about the Seahawks players and cheer on their team throughout the game. While the attendance will pale in comparison to the vast majority of Division I schools, this is a pretty standard crowd for Division III.
Unless you’re already in town to visit the historical site, getting to the St. Mary’s campus will take some driving. Maryland Route 5 and Maryland Route 235 both serve the area, but it’s a long drive from any major city along mostly local roads. It is two hours from Baltimore and an hour and 45 minutes from Washington, DC. If you’re already in Southern Maryland to check out a Blue Crabs game, it’s about an hour drive to St. Mary’s from Waldorf.
Keep in mind that if you are planning to travel here from areas across the Potomac River or Chesapeake Bay, particularly the Northern Neck of Virginia or Maryland’s Eastern Shore, places that look close on a map may actually be a long drive away as there are no bridges across either body of water at this location. A map may show that the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore is only about 40 miles away as the crow flies, but it would be difficult if not impossible to see both the Hawks and the Seahawks in the same day as getting from St. Mary’s to Princess Anne requires a three and a half hour drive all the way up to Annapolis, across the Bay Bridge, and back down. Likewise, parts of Virginia’s Northern Neck are only about ten miles away as the crow flies, but require almost a two hour drive as the nearest bridge is many miles away.
Once you make it onto the campus, free parking is available in Lot R next to the stadium, although you may have trouble finding a spot as it also serves the nearby residence halls. Although the signs say parking is for residents only, you should not be ticketed if you park there the day of the game. If you can’t find a spot, there are other lots on campus for visitors although you may have to walk a bit. Just be sure to obey all signage.
There are no restrooms at the stadium itself, but there are two single-person bathrooms across the parking lot near Waring Commons. Normally there should be no wait for these unless there is something else going on on campus that day, as the crowd is quite small. There can be some lines between games of a doubleheader as everyone (players included) tries to use them, and while you should be able to make it back in time for the second game to start, if the situation is urgent you should probably try to go sooner rather than wait until the game ends.
Return on Investment 4
Admission is free, parking is free, and you won’t pay anything for concessions because there aren’t any. However, it is hard to justify an experience as basic as this earning the top score.
‘The fact that there are so many vantage points to watch the game is worthy of a star. Beyond that, there are no real extras here.
College baseball in the northeast and Mid-Atlantic simply isn’t a big deal, and this is especially so at the Division III level. If you’re in town anyway to visit the historic site nearby, you might as well check out a Seahawks game while you’re here, or you can time things to see a Seahawks game in the afternoon and a Blue Crabs game at night, but only the most ardent of baseball fans would find it worth it to travel here just for a St. Mary’s game.