College World Series 2012: Kent State Has Everything Needed to Be Surprise Champ

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IJune 20, 2012

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The Kent State Golden Flashes are a perfect Cinderella team that has all the ingredients needed to keep its carriage from turning into a pumpkin. 

Just a couple of weeks ago, Kent State wasn't on anyone's radar to win the 2012 College World Series, yet here they are, fresh off of eliminating tournament favorite Florida and ready to make a push to take the whole thing. 

Their tournament run got off to a rough start, with an 8-1 loss to Arkansas sending them quickly to the loser's bracket, but isn't the loser's bracket the perfect way for a Cinderella to progress through the tournament? 

At the time of the loss, it seemed to spell doom for the Golden Flashes as powerhouse Florida awaited, but this is where Kent State showed the world they had the magic to contend. 

They beat Florida 5-4. Four of their runs were unearned, and the fifth came on a wild pitch. They then allowed Florida to load the bases with just one out, and the batter at the plate had a 3-0 count.

It seemed inevitable that the experienced Gators would pull out a dramatic win, but it was not meant to be. Josh Pierce battled back to get the strikeout, and the next batter flew out to end the game.

This is the exact kind of special ending to give this magical team momentum to make a deep run, but it isn't all about magic and needing help. This is a talented team.  

Stud right-hander David Starn can matchup with any pitcher. They also have great leadership and talent where they need it most. Catcher David Lyon is a fabulous backstop, and he teams with shortstop Jimmy Rider to give this team nice defense up the middle. 

So while few people expected Kent State to make it to this point, it is quickly becoming clear why they have. They are a well-rounded and tough-minded team that plays together. 

If they do fall short, it will undoubtedly be due to some shaky relief pitching, but as they proved against Florida, this pen has the guts to pull out of even the most dire of situations.