The postgame press conference Monday night was a difficult exercise for the Indiana baseball team.
Moments after dropping a 5-4 heartbreaker to Stanford on a two-run walk off home run in the bottom of the ninth by Tommy Edman, Kyle Schwarber, Sam Travis and Dustin DeMuth were forced to face the bright lights in the media room.
It was uncomfortable for both players and media alike. DeMuth had clearly been crying and both Schwarber and Travis had to choose their words carefully because they were visibly upset.
"I'll speak for all of us,'' Schwarber said when the first question to the players was how do you put that ending into words. "It's tough. I mean, this group of guys, these guys up here, everyone in the locker room, they are like they are all brothers to us. I'm not going to lie; this is my favorite team to be on, out of all my years here, even last year.
"These guys battled their butts off all year. We had high expectations for the year. We stumbled in the beginning of the year; we picked ourselves up; we got to this point, and we ran into a good team and one swing of the bat beat us. That's all you can really say. This group of players is awesome, they are talented, and there should be no doubt that this was one of the better Indiana Hoosiers teams to play here.''
Travis was asked what he would remember about this year.
"Definitely the group of guys,'' Travis said. "You know, like Kyle was saying, we're all brothers. Worst part about your season being over is having fun obviously you love to go out and win the College World Series, win the National Championship, but it's going to be tough not being around these guys every day. Yeah, it's a lot of fun being around them every day.''
DeMuth was the last player to reflect. He pretty much echoed the feelings of his teammates.
"You know, like they were saying, the group of guys you play for, you love them,'' DeMuth said. " We had a good season, a great season. Didn't turn out the way we wanted, but sooner or later, we'll have to hold our heads high and realize what we accomplished.''
IU coach Tracy Smith said the most disappointing thing is knowing he won't coach this group of IU players again.
"Well, you know, for me, it's tough for me to be somber,'' Smith said. "The only piece that I'm somber about is that our season is not extended and that we lost.
"I sit here tonight, it's hard for me to be disappointed when I've had the opportunity to work with the group of guys and the team that we had, and again, the toughest piece is not going to be seeing some of those faces in the locker room. So for me, it not going to be defined by the loss at the end of the season. I kind of refuse to go there because there were too many good things.
Smith was asked what went through his mind when the ball was in the air on the walk-off at the end.
"You know, been around here a long time,'' Smith said. "I mean sometimes last year we were on the other end of it. But just watching what happened the disappointing I'm going to say again. The loss is bad. It hurts. It's tough, because I think this is a good team and I think this team definitely has the ability to continue on.
"So the loss, it's bad, but really, as that ball landed it was just the reality of it set in, is that I'm not going to be around these guys, this same collective group of guys on a daily basis. That, for me, believe it or not, was probably well, not probably, what was going through my mind. And I'm not one to, you know, you win some, you lose some. This goes down as one of the toughest losses. But, I'm going to miss these guys more than I'm going to be hurting and stinging over that loss.''