2002 Florida State Little League® Tournament Results

Florida State Tournament

Toward the past

Toward the present

Florida State Tournament
Hosts - Citrus Park (Tampa) (District 6) and Fort Myers American (District 9)

North Florida Bracket Participants
Section 1 Champions
Section 3 Champions
Section 5 Champions
Section 7 Champions

Niceville-Valparaiso National (District 1)
Julington Creek (Fruit Cove) (District 11)
Apopka National (District 23)
Palm Harbor American (District 12)
South Florida Bracket Participants
Section 2 Champions
Section 4 Champions
Section 6 Champions
Section 8 Champions

East Boynton Beach (District 7)
East Point (District 13)
Braden River (District 16)
North Springs (Coral Springs) (District 10)

NOTE: Both the North Florida and South Florida brackets used a round-robin schedule. The top two teams in each bracket at the conclusion of round-robin play advanced to the semifinal round.

Tournament Results:

North Florida Bracket
Host - Citrus Park (Tampa) (District 6)

Round 1 (Saturday, July 27):
Apopka National 7, Palm Harbor American 2
Julington Creek 5, Niceville-Valparaiso National 1

Round 2 (Saturday, July 27):
Apopka National 16, Niceville-Valparaiso National 6
Palm Harbor American 10, Julington Creek 2

Round 3 (Sunday, July 28):
Apopka National 12, Julington Creek 2
Palm Harbor American 15, Niceville-Valparaiso National 2

South Florida Bracket
Host - Fort Myers American (District 9)
At DeLeon Park; Sam Fleishman Regional Sports Complex

Round 1 (Friday, July 26):
East Boynton Beach 4, East Point 1
North Springs 3, Braden River 1

Round 2 (Saturday, July 27):
Braden River 8, East Boynton Beach 7
North Springs 8, East Point 4

Round 3 (Sunday, July 28):
East Boynton Beach 3, North Springs 2
Braden River 8, East Point 3

North Florida Bracket Standings


Apopka National 3 0 10
Palm Harbor American 2 1 11
Julington Creek 1 2 23
Niceville-Valparaiso National 0 3 36

South Florida Bracket Standings


North Springs 2 1 8
Braden River 2 1 13
East Boynton Beach 2 1 11
East Point 0 3 20

Ties are broken based on records in head-to-head competition among tied teams. In the event of a three-way tie, the initial tie is broken based on fewest runs allowed per defensive inning played. The tie between the remaining two teams is then broken based on head-to-head record.

The top two teams in each bracket advance to the semifinal round.

Florida State Tournament Semifinal and Championship Rounds
Host - Citrus Park (Tampa) (District 6)

Semifinal Round:
Braden River 4, Apopka National 1
Palm Harbor American 3, North Springs 2

Championship Game:
Braden River 2, Palm Harbor American 1 (TITLE)


The 2002 Braden River Little League all-star team didn't just live on the edge. It thrived there.

Braden River faced elimination thirteen times in seventeen games over the course of district, sectional, and state tournament play. Each time, they won. Seven of Braden River's victories came in extra innings or by one run margins.

Big deficits were't a problem: Braden River fell behind 5-0 against Cape Coral National in the Section 6 championship game before scrambling back for a 6-5 win. Later, with elimination looming in pool competition at the state tournament, the District 16 champions rallied for four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to stun East Boynton Beach 8-7 and avoid elimination for another day.

Even when they didn't play, Braden River lived a charmed life. East Boynton Beach set the stage for a three-way tie atop the South Florida pool in the state tournament by upending North Springs Little League, but East Boynton's 3-2 win came by a small enough margin that Braden River held onto a tiebreaker advantage that helped catapult the Manatee County team into the state tournament semifinals.

Given everything it took for Braden River to merely reach the state championship game, being one strike away from elimination once they got there was no big deal.

Palm Harbor American carried a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning of the state championship game at Citrus Park in Tampa, before Braden River mounted their first serious threat of the day with singles by Gary MacDougall and Jacob Wilbanks. Vincent Keen managed only to tap a two-out, two-strike dribbler in front of the mound, but Palm Harbor's throw to first base sailed down the right field line. Pinch runner Austin Pearson scored from third, and Wilbanks raced home from second as Braden River eeked out a 2-1 victory to earn the league's first-ever state championship.

Braden River manager Bob Cross marveled at his team's fortunes.

"We've been even when we need to be even, odd when we need to be odd. We've had every situation work in our favor. We've lost when we had a second chance and won when we had to win," said Cross.

Braden River helped create some of its own luck in the title game. Starting pitcher Johnny Lingo (four shutout innings) and reliever Michael Cass stranded six baserunners, and Braden River threw out a pair of Palm Harbor American baserunners at the plate. The defense and pitching were critical in offsetting Palm Harbor pitcher David Gubernick (nine strikeouts), who carried a one-hitter into the sixth inning. Gubernick's homer over the right center field fence in the top of the sixth gave his team its short-lived lead.

"He's been the glue that has held us together," said Palm Harbor manager Ed Garton of his pitcher.

Braden River reached the championship game by upsetting defending U.S. champion Apopka National 4-1 in the semifinal round at Florida's newly expanded state tournament. Apopka, which returned three starters from its 2001 squad, averaged over eleven runs per game while rolling past three opponents in the North Florida pool. But Keen held Apopka scoreless for five innings with an assortment of off-speed pitches, and Braden River methodically built a four run lead before holding on in the sixth.

Left fielder Michael Cass keyed Braden River's offense by slamming a towering two-run homer in the second inning, and Matt Milazzo's bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the third plated Wilbanks. Braden River extended the lead in the top of the sixth, when MacDougall scored from third on a fielding error.

Apopka rallied in the sixth. Josh Tanski and Charles Cochran chased Keen with back-to-back doubles, and reliever Lingo walked two of the first four batters he faced to bring the potential winning run to the plate. But Lingo retired Apopka's third-place hitter to preserve the win and advance Braden River into the title game.

Palm Harbor American gained the other championship game berth with a 3-2 win over North Springs. Palm Harbor pitcher Jamison Sweat shook off the effects of an elbow sprain to scatter five hits over the course of five innings, and Gubernick, who had homered earlier, struck out the side in the bottom of the sixth to close out the win. North Springs attempted to save ace Hayden Harlow (eleven strikeouts against Braden River) for a potential championship game matchup, but Palm Harbor prevailed, and joined fellow second seed Braden River in the title game.

Braden River finished the tournament strong, but opened it with their usual slow start. The District 16 champions committed five errors and managed only three hits against Harlow in a 3-1 loss to North Springs that left Cross shaking his head.

"There were too many errors, too many strikeouts, and we were swinging at a lot of bad pitches," explained Cross after the game.

But the Braden River skipper knew his team.

"I am not that worried," said Cross. "We still have it in our hands if we can win the next two games."

Braden River won the next day, but needed a four run rally in the bottom of the sixth to overcome East Boynton Beach 8-7. Kevin Perez and Tyler Raymond drew walks to open the sixth, and Pearson's double scored Perez. Lingo then lined a long single that scored Raymond and Pearson and tied the game. After a pair of groundouts moved Lingo to third, Cass lined a single to left to give Braden River the comeback victory.

The next day, Braden River snapped a 2-2 tie with five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to defeat East Point 8-3 and clinch a spot in the semifinal round. Lingo pushed Braden River into the lead with an RBI single that plated Perez, and Keen followed with a two-run double. Cass, who threw a complete game, then iced the win with a three-run homer. Braden River advanced to the semifinal round as the pool runner-up by virtue of their head-to-head victory over East Boynton Beach.

Braden River advanced to the Southeast Region Tournament following their victory in the state championship game. The Florida champions won all three of their pool games, including a no-hitter by Lingo against Alabama's Phenix City American Little League, before falling 4-3 to Bridgewater Community (Virginia) Little League in the semifinal round.

Follow Braden River at the Southeast Region Tournament -- Click here to view results.


  Championship Game 1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
Palm Harbor American 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 5 -
Braden River 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 3 -

2002 Florida District Champions and Sectional Tournament Results:

District Champions in Section 1 District Champions in Section 2
D1 - Niceville-Valparaiso National
D20 - Madison

Section 1 Tournament
Host - R.L. Turner (Panama City) (District 1)

Tournament Results:
1 - Niceville-Valparaiso National 9, Madison 4
2 - Niceville-Valparaiso National 10, Madison 0

D2 - Viera/Suntree
D7 - East Boynton Beach
D17 - Southwestern Port St. Lucie

Section 2 Tournament
Host - East Boynton Beach (District 7)

Tournament Results:
1 - Viera/Suntree 3, Southwestern Port St. Lucie 2
2 - East Boynton Beach 15, Viera/Suntree 2
3 - Southwestern Port St. Lucie 4, Viera/Suntree 0 (elim.)
4 - Southwestern Port St. Lucie 1, East Boynton Beach 0
5 - East Boynton Beach 7, Southwestern Port St. Lucie 2 (TITLE)

District Champions in Section 3 District Champions in Section 4
D11 - Julington Creek (Fruit Cove)
D15 - Highlands National (Ocala)
D19 - Eustis

Section 3 Tournament
Host - Baker County (MacClenny) (District 11)

Tournament Results:
1 - Highlands National 3, Eustis 1
2 - Julington Creek 7, Highlands National 0
3 - Highlands National 5, Eustis 0 (elim.)
4 - Julington Creek 8, Highlands National 5 (TITLE)

D4 - Plant City American
D13 - East Point
D14 - Winter Garden

Section 4 Tournament
Host - South Lake (Clermont) (District 14)
At Palatlakaha Park

The Section 4 tournament used a round-robin format.

Tournament Results:
1 - Plant City American 6, East Point 2
2 - Winter Garden 10, Plant City American 4
3 - East Point 14, Winter Garden 3 (5 innings)



East Point 1 1
Winter Garden 1 1
Plant City American 1 1

Championship Game:
East Point 7, Winter Garden 6 (TITLE)

District Champions in Section 5 District Champions in Section 6
D3 - Maitland
D22 - Rockledge
D23 - Apopka National

Section 5 Tournament
Host - Winter Springs (District 23)

The Section 5 tournament used a round-robin format.

Tournament Results:
1 - Rockledge 8, Maitland 0
2 - Apopka National 16, Rockledge 0 (4 innings)
3 - Apopka National 5, Maitland 3



Apopka National 2 0
Rockledge 1 1
Maitland 0 2

Championship Game:
Apopka National 10, Rockledge 1 (TITLE)

D9 - Cape Coral National
D16 - Braden River
D18 - Greater Naples

Section 6 Tournament
Host - Venice (District 16)
At Chuck Reiter Field

The Section 6 tournament used a round-robin format.

Tournament Results:
1 - Cape Coral National 1, Braden River 0
2 - Cape Coral National 6, Greater Naples 0 (forfeit)
3 - Braden River 3, Greater Naples 2

Greater Naples led Cape Coral 4-3 in the fifth inning, but Cape Coral was awarded the forfeit win when a Greater Naples pitching substitution was determined to be illegal.



Cape Coral National 2 0
Braden River 1 1
Greater Naples 0 2

Championship Game:
Braden River 6, Cape Coral National 5 (TITLE)

District Champions in Section 7 District Champions in Section 8
D5 - Northeast (St. Petersburg)
D6 - Bayshore (Tampa)
D12 - Palm Harbor American

Section 7 Tournament
Host - Interbay (District 6)

The Section 7 tournament used a round-robin format.

Tournament Results:
1 - Bayshore 10, Northeast 1
2 - Palm Harbor American 7, Northeast 3
3 - Palm Harbor American 6, Bayshore 4



Palm Harbor American 2 0
Bayshore 1 1
Northeast 0 2

Championship Game:
Palm Harbor American 4, Bayshore 0 (TITLE)

D8 - Upper Keys
D10 - North Springs (Coral Springs)
D21 - Western Area National (Weston)

Section 8 Tournament
Host - (District 21)

The Section 8 tournament used a round-robin format.

Tournament Results:
1 - North Springs 6, Upper Keys 2
2 - Upper Keys 9, Western Area National 1
3 - North Springs 10, Western Area National 0



North Springs 2 0
Upper Keys 1 1
Western Area National 0 2

Championship Game:
North Springs 6, Upper Keys 0 (TITLE)

Toward the past

Toward the present

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Last revision: 06/04/2003