Harrisburg walks off with ticket to RBI softball final

Harrisburg walks off with ticket to RBI softball final

Harrisburg walks off with ticket to RBI softball final
MINNEAPOLIS -- Harrisburg RBI stranded six runners in the first six innings. The potential tying run was thrown out at home in the second inning, and two other times the tying run was left on third base.

The Pennsylvania girls had already staged a walk-off win earlier on Saturday. But this time, they squandered opportunity after opportunity and simply seemed unable to break through.

That was until Taylor Weisman stepped into the box.

Trailing RBI Atlanta, 2-1, Weisman faced an 0-2 count with two outs and runners on the corners. She then lifted the fourth pitch over the left fielder's head for a double. Harrisburg's two runners had plenty of time to score, and just like that, they punched their ticket to Sunday's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities World Series Championship game with a 3-2 victory.

"Greatest feeling in the world," Weisman said moments later. "As soon as I hit it, I had tears rolling from my eyes. I knew we won it as soon as I hit that ball. That's the best feeling I've ever had in my life."

Weisman -- the team's captain, No. 3 hitter, and just removed from a freshman season at Shippensburg University in which she hit .295 and slugged .438 -- was a storybook fit to play hero for Harrisburg. She went 3-for-4 against Atlanta, driving in all three of her team's runs. Weisman is also hitting .500 with nine RBIs and a 1.365 OPS in eight games in the RBI World Series.

"What a script, you know," Harrisburg manager Mike Stepp said. "Two outs, two strikes. Taylor got the big hit like that -- she wanted this more than anything."

Though Weisman proved the hero in the final inning, starting pitcher Makenzie Lynn was just as important for all seven innings. Despite countless missed chances by the Harrisburg offense, Lynn remained strong after allowing two runs in the second inning, and she continued to keep her team close.

Lynn tossed a complete game, allowing just two runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out eight. She is 2-0 with 23 strikeouts in 14 innings for Harrisburg in the tournament. Saturday's two runs to Atlanta were the only two she has allowed.

"She did a great job in regionals," Stepp said. "She's our go-to pitcher. Makenzie is definitely one of a kind. She's a battler."

Harrisburg also used a seventh-inning rally to put away Mathews-Dickey Boys & Girls Club (St. Louis) earlier in a quarterfinal matchup. Vanessa Hoffmann -- who also scored the winning run against Atlanta -- came in to score on Cassidy Pinchorski's fielder's choice in the seventh to give her team a 3-2 win.

Harrisburg will meet Dominican Republic RBI at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday at the University of Minnesota's Jane Sage Cowles Stadium in the RBI World Series Championship game. The Dominican Republic improved to 8-0 on Saturday with 10-1 and 8-0 wins over Hoboken RBI and Houston RBI, respectively, with both games ending in the fifth inning due to mercy rule.

Sunday's title game will be broadcast on MLB Network on Aug. 17 at noon ET.

"The seventh inning was our inning today," Stepp said. "That's all there was to it. These kids were determined to get to the University of Minnesota to play that championship game."

Jordan Garretson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.