Golden Flashes Return Home to Hero’s Welcome
KENT, Ohio — The Kent State University Golden Flashes baseball team returned home from Omaha around 9 p.m. Thursday night to a roaring crowd of about 100 fans.
The crowd, decked out in blue and gold, cheered wildly when the team arrived with a police escort at Dix Stadium.
“It’s a little overwhelming. I mean, we knew we’d have fans out here, but nothing like this,” said Coach Scott Stricklin.
Earlier Thursday afternoon, the team was knocked out of the College World Series in a 4-1 loss to South Carolina.
Although the team didn’t win the World Series, they accomplished a lot during the historic season.
This was the first Kent State team to advance to the World Series and the first Mid-American Conference team to get there in nearly three decades.
The team also won 21 straight games, and eliminated the number-one seeded Florida Gators.
The Cinderella story captured the hearts of many baseball fans.
Kristin Dowlind traveled with her family to the World Series and says everyone seemed to be rooting for the underdog team from northeast Ohio.
“Just to have gotten where they did is fantastic,” said Dowlind.
The team finished the dream season as one of the top 5 teams out of 297 Division 1 teams.
Left-handed pitcher David Starn said, “It’s an amazing experience. The fans are great, so it was awesome.”
Almost all of the players are from the Buckeye State. Twenty one guys are from Ohio, and six are from western Pennsylvania.
“That’s what I’m most proud of,” said Coach Stricklin.
A handful of players are graduating seniors, but the bulk of the team will be back next season.
Coach Stricklin says, “We got a lot of heart and determination, and once we got there we showed everyone that we belonged.”