Kent State University Baseball Player Reflects on the College World Series
Stow-Munroe Falls High School graduate, Brian Clark, talks about baseball struggles, awesome support from the community and what's next.
The Kent State University baseball team made it to Omaha, Neb., home of College World Series. It was the first appearance in the history of the program. In fact, it’s the first time the team has made it past the regional level.
After a slow start to the season, the Golden Flashes got hot and won 21 games in a row, the longest winning streak in college baseball. That ended in their second game of the super regionals when the University of Oregon won, but it made for an even more exciting walk-off single in the ninth inning to win the series and head to the world series, where they would beat Florida State University, the No. 1 team in the nation.
Perhaps the best part of this Cinderella story is that the 34-player roster is that 27 of them are from Ohio, including Munroe Falls' own Brian Clark. We caught up with him to ask a few questions about the game and this incredible season.
The player: Brian Clark, 19, pitcher for the Flashes and Stow-Munroe Falls High School grad.
What’s the first memory you have of baseball?
Probably learning how to play catch in my backyard with my dad and learning how to hit from my brother because my dad isn’t that good at hitting.
Do you play any baseball video games?
I used to. Not too much anymore.
Are you better on video games or the real game?
I’m awful at video games. My older brother would always try to play it, but he would always kill me so it lost its fun.
Do you have any game day preparations or superstitions?
Not in particular. I always pitch with Chap Stick in my back pocket, if that means anything. I lick my lips a lot, so they’re always chapped.
Was there ever a time you wondered whether you should play or a time where it might’ve been easier to quit?
Right before high school I just wasn’t playing to the best of my ability. I questioned if baseball was ever right for me because I played basketball at that time, and I wasn’t sure quite what direction I wanted to go in. But then just talking to my family, talking to my dad and brother who taught me how to play. They told me to just stick with it. It certainly paid off.
What has the Golden Flashes journey been like for you?
Unbelievable. Nobody expected us to make it that far. Just coming in as a freshman, too, meant a lot to make it to the world series.
Can you tell me about the support you’ve received from the community and what it has meant to you?
It’s unbelievable. After every game, you would come back to your phone and have a bunch of new text messages, bunch of voicemails and a bunch of people who tweeted me and Facebooked me. It helped out a lot. It just made you want to do that much better. You just wanted to make everybody proud.
Is there a story from this season you might one day tell your kids?
Probably when we beat Oregon in the third game. I pitched the ninth inning, and we went 1-2-3. We ended up getting the win that let us get to the College World Series, so that was pretty cool.
Do you plan to pursue playing baseball professionally?
Absolutely. That’s the dream right now, to make it that far. I just want to play baseball as long as I can until they tell me I can’t play anymore.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’d just like to thank everybody for their support. It’s been unreal. I walked into the bank yesterday and got recognized, like “Hey, congratulations.” It was pretty cool.