The West Cumberland All-Star softball team completed an unexpected comeback from the loser's bracket to win a berth in the Junior League World Series on Thursday.

West Cumberland defeated host Connecticut 9-8 to win the East Regional final.

Cumberland got out to an early 6-0 lead on the host team behind the pitching of Jackie Lesher, 14, of North Cumberland.

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But Connecticut rallied in the fifth inning, and closed the score to 9-8 before Hailey Hulitt, 14, of West Cumberland, struck out the final batter to secure West Cumberland's spot in the World Series from Aug. 11-17 in Kirkland, Wash.

Although it was a bumpy road for the 12- to 14-year-olds, "the team has been able to weather through it," said Tom McCarville, the administrator for District 3 where West Cumberland is based.

West Cumberland lost the first game of the East Regional to Pennsylvania, 10-5, dropping it into the loser's bracket.

But the team was able to win its next two games to force a rematch on Wednesday in the semifinals. West Cumberland had to beat Pennsylvania twice, and they won the first game 5-3 and the second game 7-6.

"That third (Pennsylvania) game was something you would want to see on film," said Gary Woodruff the head coach of West Cumberland. "It was incredible."

Brandy Hatcher, 14, of North Cumberland and Gracie Meyer, 13, of West Cumberland, both had two-run singles in the 7-6 win over Pennsylvania.

West Cumberland will play its first World Series game on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. EDT against the West champion, which is still to be determined.

Other teams in their pool include the Latin American champion from Mexico, the Europe and Africa champion from Italy and the Southwest winner from Columbus, Texas.

The World Series final will be played on Aug. 17 and will be televised live on ESPN2.

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