2002 Massachusetts State Little League® Tournament Results

Massachusetts State Tournament

Toward the past

Toward the present

Massachusetts State Tournament
Host - Adams (District 1)
At Beaver Bard Park

Participating Teams
Section 1 Champions
Section 2 Champions
Section 3 Champions
Section 4 Champions

Jesse Burkett (Worcester) (District 4)
Middleboro (District 7)
Wellesley North (District 11)
Andover American (District 14)

Tournament Results:

Opening Round:
Andover American 11, Wellesley North 5
Jesse Burkett 7, Middleboro 5

Loser's Bracket Semifinals:
Middleboro 5, Wellesley North 3 (elim.)

Winner's Bracket Finals:
Jesse Burkett 3, Andover American 0

Loser's Bracket Finals:
Middleboro 8, Andover American 5 (elim.)

Championship Game:
Jesse Burkett 6, Middleboro 2 (TITLE)


When Little League Baseball organizers in Worcester, Massachussetts began forming local leagues in the early 1950s, they established a tradition of naming the city's leagues after individuals who left their mark on the game, both nationally and locally.

Jesse Burkett belonged to both groups. The West Virginia native arrived in Worcester as a nineteen-year-old minor leaguer in 1889, and though he quickly moved on to a sixteen year major league career in which he amassed 2,872 hits and batted over .400 three times, Burkett came to view Worcester as his hometown. When his playing career ended, the future Baseball Hall of Fame member settled in Worcester.

Burkett was eighty-two years old and in the last year of his life in 1953 when Worcester's Little League organizers informed him that they intended to name a local youth league program after their adopted native son. Burkett, nicknamed "Crab" for his gruff demeanor, was touched.

"I am not a forgotten man after all," Burkett said, "thanks to fellows like you."

Forty-nine years later, another group of fellows made sure that the name Jesse Burkett will not soon be forgotten.

The 2002 Jesse Burkett Little League all-star team began the year playing in quiet anonymity before a handful of friends and family members. By the end of the summer, the team was the toast of Red Sox Nation. Jesse Burkett reached the Little League World Series, and defeated New York City's Harlem Little League 5-3 in the U.S. semifinals -- a score that was displayed alongside major league baseball results on the Green Monster at Fenway Park, and an outcome that further endeared the team into the hearts of long-suffering New England baseball fans. The Jesse Burkett all-stars eventually finished as the United States runner-up.

Before reaching the Little League World Series, Jesse Burkett swept past three opponents to win the Massachusetts state tournament at Beaver Bard Park in Adams. The Worcester team, which had not allowed a run in three sectional tournament victories, opened the tournament with a 7-5 victory over Middleboro. Burkett trailed early, as Middleboro jumped to a 2-0 lead in the second, but first baseman Frank Flynn crushed a grand slam in the bottom of the inning to cap a five-run rally and give Jesse Burkett the lead for good. Flynn's homer traveled an estimated 300 feet over the right-center field fence.

After the home run, Worcester starter Keith Landers held Middleboro scoreless until the sixth inning, and also delivered an RBI single in the fifth that stretched the lead to 7-2. Middleboro sliced the margin to 7-5 in the sixth, but Jesse Burkett manager Fran Granger called on Flynn for a game-ending strikeout.

"We stayed with Keith as long as we could," said Granger after the game. "But at that point, we had to go to Frank. One batter, one inning, we can still use him tomorrow."

Flynn returned to the mound the next day, and handcuffed a heavy-hitting Andover American team 3-0. One day after pounding out thirteen hits in its opening round win, Andover managed only one safety against Flynn.

"We saw him just for that one batter last night, and we knew he'd be tough," said Andover manager Paul Sartori. "He's as good a twelve-year-old pitcher as you're going to see. His control is incredible."

"We feel like we only need to get one run when Frank is on the mound," said Granger. "He's been pretty much a lock all year. Tonight was more of the same."

Flynn's teammates got him the run he needed in the bottom of the first inning. Lead-off batter Gordie Lockbaum reached on an error, and beat the throw to second when Andy Fallon laid down a sacrifice bunt. Both players advanced on Flynn's grounder, and Lockbaum scored on Landers' groundout.

Jesse Burkett stretched the lead in the third. Landers singled with one out, and came around on Zach Ford's double. Ford later scored when Ryan Griffin hit into a fielder's choice.

While Burkett was building its lead, Flynn was overpowering on the mound. The 5'10", 190 pound pitcher struck out eleven, including six of the first nine batters he faced. Andover's only threat came in the fifth inning, when the District 14 champions had runners at first and third with two outs, but Flynn ended the threat with a strikeout.

Middleboro joined Jesse Burkett in the championship game by rebounding from its opening round loss with a pair of victories. John Shelters' two-run homer capped a five-run fourth inning outburst as Middleboro rallied for a 5-3 win over a wooden-bat wielding team from Wellesley North, and eleven-year-old Brett Holmgren allowed only one hit over four innings in his first pitching appearance of the international tournament as Middleboro topped Andover 8-5.

Jesse Burkett again sent Landers to the mound against Middleboro. While the left-hander had struggled at times in the opener, he was at the top of his game in the rematch. Landers retired nine of the first eleven batters he faced, and finished with a complete game two-hitter as Jesse Burkett claimed the state championship with a 6-2 victory.

Jesse Burkett led from the start in the championship game, as Lockbaum drove a lead-off home run in the bottom of the first inning. The Worcester team went on to score in four of their five turns at-bat.

"Gordie set the tone right away with that homer, and Keith pitched a great game," said Granger.

Ryan Griffin followed Lockbaum's homer with an RBI groundout in the second, and Jesse Burkett added two more in the third. Fallon led off with a walk, and moved to third on Flynn's double. After a wild pitch scored Fallon, Ford delivered an RBI single that stretched the lead to 4-0.

Middleboro's Troy Morse trimmed the lead with a two-run double in the fourth, but Burkett added two more in the fifth on Flynn's single, a wild pitch, an error, and Micah Golshirazian's sacrifice fly. Landers then closed out the game by retiring the final six hitters he faced.

"We knew from the start we had two dominating pitchers in Keith and Frank Flynn," said Granger after the game. "We hit the ball when we had to. We came up here with high hopes, and lived up to them."

The team lived up to high hopes at the New England Region Tournament, as well. Jesse Burkett advanced to the elimination rounds, then earned consecutive 1-0 decisions to win the tournament. Flynn threw a no-hitter and Lockbaum provided the offense with a check-swing homer in the first inning to lift Worcester over New Hampshire's Portsmouth Little League in the semifinal round, and Landers threw a two-hitter and Lockbaum again homered as Jesse Burkett edged Rhode Island's Portsmouth Little League in the championship game.

The performance vaulted Jesse Burkett into the Little League World Series, a capstone to a memorable summer for the team's players and coaches. And thanks to their exploits on the field, the Jesse Burkett all-star team, like their namesake, won't be forgotten any time soon.

Follow Jesse Burkett at the New England Region Tournament -- Click here to view results.


  Loser's Bracket Semifinals 1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
Middleboro 0 0 0 5 0 0 5 - -
Wellesley North 0 2 0 1 0 0 3 - -
  Winner's Bracket Finals
Andover American 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 -
Jesse Burkett 1 0 2 0 0 x 3 - -
  Loser's Bracket Finals
Middleboro 0 1 3 0 4 0 8 - -
Andover American 0 0 1 0 4 0 5 - -
  Championship Game
Middleboro 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 2 -
Jesse Burkett 1 1 2 0 2 x 6 - -

2002 Massachusetts District Champions and Sectional Tournament Results:

District Champions
in Section 1
District Champions
in Section 2
D1 - Sheffield
D2 - Agawam
D3 - North Leominster
D4 - Jesse Burkett (Worcester)

Section 1 Tournament
Held at Multiple District Sites
Championship Game Host - Rutland (District 4)
At Charles D. Marsh Field

Tournament Results:
1 - Agawam 3, Sheffield 2
2 - Jessse Burkett 7, North Leominster 0
3 - North Leominster 2, Sheffield 1 (elim.)
4 - Jesse Burkett 7, Agawam 0
5 - Agawam 6, North Leominster 4 (elim.)
6 - Jesse Burkett 4, Agawam 0 (TITLE)

D5 - Auburn
D6 - Taunton East National
D7 - Middleboro
D8 - Braintree American

Section 2 Tournament
Host - Sandwich (District 7)

Tournament Results:
1 - Taunton East National 9, Auburn 4
2 - Braintree American 2, Middleboro 1
3 - Middleboro 7, Auburn 6 (elim.)
4 - Taunton East National 8, Braintree American 4
5 - Middleboro 7, Braintree American 6 (elim.)
6 - Middleboro 3, Taunton East National 0
7 - Middleboro 13, Taunton East National 0 (5 innings; TITLE)

District Champions
in Section 3
District Champions
in Section 4
D9 - South Boston National
D10 - Newton North
D11 - Wellesley North
D12 - Everett National

Section 3 Tournament
Held at Multiple District Sites
Championship Game Host - Parkway (West Roxbury) (District 10)
Championship Game at Praught Field

Tournament Results:
1 - Everett National 8, South Boston National 3
2 - Wellesley North 7, Newton North 2
3 - South Boston National 8, Newton North 5 (elim.)
4 - Wellesley North 4, Everett National 3
5 - Everett National 9, South Boston National 1 (elim.)
6 - Wellesley North 13, Everett National 3 (TITLE)

D13 - Arlington American
D14 - Andover American
D15 - Danvers National
D16 - Lynnfield

Section 4 Tournament
Host - Woburn (District 13)
At Weafer Park

Tournament Results:
1 - Danvers National 1, Lynnfield 0
2 - Andover American 8, Arlington American 6
3 - Lynnfield 4, Arlington American 1 (8 innings; elim.)
4 - Andover American 3, Danvers National 0
5 - Lynnfield 6, Danvers National 4 (7 innings; elim.)
6 - Lynnfield 5, Andover American 4
7 - Andover American 5, Lynnfield 3 (TITLE)

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Last revision: 06/14/2003