When you think of the word surprising, the word Cinderella always wants to roll off your tongue simultaneously. A classic David vs. Goliath.
That being said, it would only be fitting that the 2012 College World Series has not one but two Cinderellas that have touched down in Omaha. How they got there remains a story in itself. Nevertheless, they have put themselves in prime position to claim what is rightfully theirs—a 2012 College World Series Championship.
Will we witness any March Madness hangover of sorts? Will they shake up the brackets?
The double-elimination format bodes well for teams to gather their belongings after fumbling early out of the gates. In fact, so well that the last 31 title winners all lost their first game in the opening rounds. To ensure a championship, history says the safer route is to lose the first game, which I am sure was the game plan for each representing team.
So who are the "they" I am referring to?
Let’s meet the Kent State Golden Flashes and the Stony Brook Seawolves.
Kent State Golden Flashes (46-18, 24-3)
Baseball always seems to ask the question, so what have you done for me lately? The answer is simple for a Kent State team who has reeled off 22 of their last 23 before running into a minor hiccup in Game 2 of the Super Regionals.
Kent State is the hottest thing trending on the market right now.
Yes, the MAC doesn’t produce comparable competition as displayed by the talent-rich Pac-12 or SEC conferences. But then again, just ask Oregon how come they didn’t make the trip.
Kent State is on another level right now. So much, that it caught the attention of Cleveland Browns specialist and alumnae, Joshua Cribbs. Cribbs and his entourage came out in full force Saturday afternoon to support his school’s first ever appearance on the big stage.
After losing their first-round matchup to Arkansas, the Golden Flashes seem to be taking the historical route toward the finals. They will face the No. 1 seed Florida Gators Monday night.
If they lose, their season is spoiled. If so, there will be nothing for them to hang their heads on because they are writing their own history right now.
Stony Brook Seawolves (52-13, 21-3)
Don’t tell me you don’t know about SBU. What if I told you they set a school record 52 wins this season. What if I told you they thumped baseball powerhouses Miami and LSU in the Regionals and Super Regionals, respectively.
Still not ringing a bell?
Like their mascot, you probably would have thought they were nothing more than a figment of your imagination until this season. I’ll spare you some time from Google. They are members of the America East conference and adopted “Wolfie,” as their mascot in 1994.
Oh yeah, one minor adjustment I need to insert. They also were representatives in the 2012 College World Series.
To say Stony Brook landed into the mix by flying under the radar would be putting it lightly. Frankly, nobody had them pinned on their radar, although they should have all along.
Of the eight teams in Omaha, SBU owns the rights to the highest winning percentage (.800) and are tops in team batting average (.335).
This team is living proof that they can contend with the best of them. Unfortunately, after staring down defeat for the umpteenth time, their underdog season came to a close Sunday afternoon in the first elimination game of the tournament.
Regardless, they already defied all expectations—if there were ever any to begin with.
They put themselves on the map and made a name for themselves for years to come. After sampling a taste of Omaha, come 2013, don’t act surprised when you hear SBU making yet another late run in the College World Series.