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Birmingham-Southern keeps dream season alive with dramatic walk-off homer 1 day after school shutters

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Birmingham-Southern College officially shuttered on Friday, but a little glimmer of hope remained on the diamond at the NCAA Division III World Series.

The Panthers suffered a blow to their dreams in the first game – losing to Salve Regina on Friday. But on Saturday, against Randolph-Macon, Birmingham-Southern showed there was still life left in their bats.

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Birmingham-Southern players

Birmingham-Southern head coach Jan Weisberg, front center, clowns around as photographer Amanda Phillip directs players for a team photo, Thursday, May 30, 2024, in Eastlake, Ohio. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The team fell behind 7-4 after blowing a 4-0 lead. In the eighth inning, the team bounced back and scored three runs to tie the game. In the ninth, Birmingham-Southern’s Jackson Webster stepped up to the plate and crushed a two-run walk-off home run.

Webster kept the Panthers’ season alive.

“Baseball miracle, right?” Webster said after the game. “The storybook isn’t finished.”

Birmingham-Southern made it to the final leg of the double-elimination tournament following two wins in the NCAA Super Regional over Denison University and victories against Transylvania University and Spalding University in the NCAA Regional.

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Jackson Webster in batting practice

Birmingham-Southern first baseman Jackson Webster during batting practice, Thursday, May 30, 2024, in Kirkland, Ohio. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

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The Salve Regina loss definitely put the team on the edge, but the bounce back gave the Panthers some hope. The Panthers play Wisconsin-Whitewater on Sunday at 5 p.m. ET.

The loss to Salve Regina on Friday was coupled with the school closing its doors due to financial hardship. The school opened in 1856.

But with an extra set of eyes on them, the Panthers have stepped up to the plate and delivered a postseason run nobody thought would happen.

“It’s a hard pill to swallow,” Webster said of playing for the now-closed school. “We don’t have anything to go back to, so we take the field feeling we have nothing to lose. And team with nothing to lose is hard to beat, which is why I think we were so calm today because of all the adversity we’ve gone through.

Birmingham-Southern players warm up

Birmingham-Southern players warm up at a practice, Thursday, May 30, 2024, in Kirtland, Ohio. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

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“And it’s pretty cool having the cameras around.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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