The quartet sat there, afraid to move in the Washington Nationals' clubhouse, while the father sat in the stands Saturday night at Nationals Park, his heart pounding against his chest. Ron Harper has seen his son in these moments through his entire life, whether he was 10 years old playing in a travel ball championship tournament, playing in the Pan Am Games as a teenager, pitching against Cuba, playing in the Junior College World Series, or stepping up in the eighth inning with the Nationals’ season on the line. "I believe he’s built for that moment,’’ Ron Harper said in the aftermath of the Nats’ 6-3 victory in Game 2 of the Division Series over the Chicago Cubs. “That’s being confident in yourself more than anything. You just make the most of that moment, and it just so happens to be on this type of stage.’’ The Nationals, who had already lost the first game of the best-of-five series, were losing again to the Cubs, 3-1, and down to their final five outs before their season became all but extinct. Harper, who missed nearly two months before returning the final week of the season with a bone bruise and calf strain, stepped to the plate with one out and pinch-runner Victor Robles at first base. He swung and badly missed at Cubs reliever Carl Edwards' first-pitch curveball, with the sellout crowd groaning. Harper then watched Edwards throw three fastballs in a row, none in the strike zone, falling behind 3-and-1. “I didn’t think he was going to throw a pitch over the plate,’’ Harper said, “to tell you the truth. I thought he was going to throw a curveball back down in the dirt. I thought about taking the whole way. “And then I saw the loop in the curveball, and said, 'Why not swing as hard as you can?' ’’ And he connected, sending the pitch screaming into the night, landing into the upper deck. “Pretty good moment,’’ Harper said. Just like that, the game was tied, and 14 pitches later, it was over, with Ryan Zimmerman hitting a three-run homer, tying the NL Division Series at one-apiece as the two teams head to Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Bryce Harper: 'Built for that moment,' he delivers the home run of a lifetime
USA Today | Oct 8