Piwnica-Worms sends P-Nats to Finals

Nationals prospect hits walk-off single in Potomac's sweep

Potomac returns to the Mills Cup Finals for the first time since 2010. (Gary Dize/Potomac Nationals)

By Robert Emrich / MiLB.com | September 5, 2013 8:21 PM ET

Will Piwnica-Worms may have finished 12th in MiLB.com's Moniker Madness voting, but his name might have become No. 1 on the lips of Nationals fans Thursday.

The club's outfield prospect delivered a walk-off single in the ninth inning to lead Class A Advanced Potomac past Lynchburg, 3-2, to advance to the Mills Cup Finals.

Kevin Keyes smacked a one-out double and reliever Jose Lugo intentionally walked Brandon Miller and fanned Randolph Oduber. Following a passed ball that advanced both runners, Piwnica-Worms hit a line drive into right field that plated Keyes.

"Off of last night, battling back and tying the game, once Kevin hit that double, the guys had a sense we could finish right there. Will was the one who did it," Potomac manager Brian Daubach said. "Will fouled a couple of balls off, I believe it was a slider middle-away and he was able to hit it into right field. Back-to-back walk-off wins, it doesn't get much better than that."

In the top of the ninth, Lynchburg advanced a possible go-ahead run to second base with just one out. But Nationals' No. 4 prospect Michael Taylor made a clutch play in center and reliever Greg Holt (1-0) got Trenton Moses to ground out to end the threat.

"You kind of get used to it," Daubach said of Taylor's play. "He was in left-center and ran all the way to right-center and made a game-saving catch. He makes it look routine, but he ran a long way to get the ball. It was a good play with the tying run on second."

Coming off a 14-inning win Wednesday in which the Nationals used five relievers, Blake Schwartz provided the bullpen with a breather, allowing two runs -- one earned -- on eight hits while fanning five over eight innings.

"Blake got here in mid-April and he's done everything we've asked. He's been the guy we've leaned on all year," former Major Leaguer Daubach said. "Fourteen innings last night and using a whole lot of the bullpen, we needed a big start out of Blake and he did it."

Piwnica-Worms, a competitor in last month's Moniker Madness, walked and scored from second base on an infield single in the third.

Holt walked one in an otherwise spotless ninth to earn the win.

After missing the playoffs in 2012, the Nationals will seek to win their first Mills Cup since 2010 when the Finals open Saturday against Salem.

In other action:

Red Sox 4, Pelicans 3 (10 innings)

Matthew Goodman hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th inning as Salem swept Myrtle Beach. Mookie Betts, Boston's No. 16 prospect, doubled and scored the decisive run while Henry Ramos plated a pair of runs as the Red Sox rallied from a 3-0 deficit. Box score »

Robert Emrich is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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