2008 Kansas State Little League® Tournament Results
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Kansas State Tournament
Major Baseball Division

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Kansas State Tournament

North Area Tournament
Host - Arma
At McDonald Park

Opening Round:
Paola 13, Arma 2 (4 innings)
Girard 8, Frontenac 2

Elimination Bracket Semifinals (four teams remain):
Arma 9, Frontenac 7 (elim.)

Winner's Bracket Finals:
Paola 11, Girard 0 (Paola advances to the state finals)

Elimination Bracket Finals (three teams remain):
Arma 7, Girard 6 (elim.) (Arma advances to the state finals)

South Area Tournament
Host - Galena

Opening Round:
Riverton d. Galena
Cherokee Community 13, Baxter Springs 0 (4 innings)

Elimination Bracket Semifinals (four teams remain):
Galena d. Baxter Springs (elim.)

Winner's Bracket Finals:
Riverton 12 Cherokee Community 5 (Riverton advances to the state finals)

Elimination Bracket Finals (three teams remain):
Cherokee Community 8, Galena 1 (elim.) (Cherokee Community advances to the state finals)

Kansas State Finals
Host - Baxter Springs

Area tournament losses carry over to the state finals.

Elimination Bracket Semifinals (four teams remain):
Cherokee Community 11, Arma 0 (4 innings; elim.)

Winner's Bracket Finals:
Riverton 5, Paola 4 (7 innings)

Elimination Bracket Finals (three teams remain):
Cherokee Community 13, Paola 3 (elim.)

Championship Series:
Cherokee Community 10, Riverton 2
Cherokee Community 11, Riverton 9 (TITLE)


Cherokee Community Little League needed four days to start their journey toward the Kansas state championship. They needed one swing to end it.

Caleb Springer's walk-off grand slam home run reversed a 9-7 deficit and gave Cherokee an 11-9 victory over Riverton Little League in the deciding game of the Kansas state tournament in Baxter Springs. The win, Cherokee's fifth in a row following an earlier loss in the double-elimination tournament, gave the winners their second consecutive state championship. Cherokee advanced to the Midwest Region tournament in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Cherokee led for most of the championship game, until Riverton moved in front on Landon North's three-run homer in the top of the sixth. But Springer's blast over the left center field fence, his second homer of the tournament, boosted Cherokee over Riverton for the second consecutive day. Cherokee had forced the tournament to a winner-take-all final game with a 10-2 victory when the teams met the previous evening.

"The first game we played them, it was all Riverton," said Cherokee manager Bryan Burdette, whose team lost 13-5 to Riverton in their second tournament game. "When we played them last night, we had (two) home runs. This game, it was both teams and we both got the hits."

While Cherokee closed fast in the tournament, their opener was an exercise in patience. Cherokee built a 5-0 lead against Baxter Springs Little League on July 8 when the game was suspended by rain in the third inning. After two days of postponements, the two teams were finally able to resume the game, and Cherokee scored seven runs in the third inning to take command. Springer had a double and a triple, while Jace Burdette was 2-for-3 to pace Cherokee's eleven hit attack.

"Four days for four innings," said Bryan Burdette. "It was good to get it over but the hardest part was to get the same intensity we had when we started."

Burdette's team struggled in their next outing, managing just four hits and falling to Riverton, 12-5. With area tournament losses carrying over to district tournament play, the loss meant Cherokee had no margin for error in its quest for a repeat state championship.

By the end of the tournament, though, Cherokee's coaching staff saw the loss as a blessing in disguise.

"We lost that game early and I think that was the best thing for us," explained Bryan Burdette after the tournament. "We really buckled down. We started hitting the ball better and becoming less selfish."

The numbers support Burdette's theory. After Cherokee managed just five hits in an 8-1 win over Galena Little League, the team's offense came to life. Cherokee collected ten or more hits in each of its last four games, during which the team's hitters batted a collective .371 -- well above the .291 level from the initial three games. Springer, Jace Burdette, and Bryce Burdette each collected multiple hits as Cherokee ousted Alma Little League, 11-0 in four innings, then Bryce Burdette homered twice and Springer added one of his own in a 13-3 win over Paola Little League.

Bryce Burdette, who closed the tournament with four consecutive multi-hit games, hit safely in each of Cherokee's games and led the team with a .545 batting average against Kansas competition.

He had two of his hits in Cherokee's next win, a 10-2 decision over Riverton. Riley Ulery also added a pair of safeties, while Jace Burdette and Jalen Merrell both homered. The win forced the tournament to a deciding game, and Springer's last-inning herics helped to lift Cherokee past its Southeastern Kansas rival for the title.

"Our motto for tonight was 'together', and that is what happened," said Bryan Burdette after the championship game. "Most of the kids got the bat on the ball and they did what they were asked to do and did a good job."

Follow Cherokee at the Midwest Region Tournament -- Click here to view results.


  Game 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
Riverton 2 2 0 0 2 3 9 5 1
Cherokee Community 4 1 0 2 0 4 11 10 3

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Last revision: 06/13/2009