Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online


June 13, 2013

Lakemen mark 30-year anniversary

Wilson won the state Class C-D baseball title in June of 1983



The ‘83 season started on a low note for the Lakemen, Burke said. Woodard’s pitching led them to big wins over the Niagara-Orleans League’s best, but he was having a difficult time finding a good No. 2 ace. Wilson opened the season 2-3 and finished just 8-6 in the N-O, well short of a second straight league title.
But Woodard, Voutour, Curt Hopkins and Rick Wiltse led the Lakemen offensively in a 12-4 win over Frewsburg as Wilson started clicking and repeated as Section VI champions. Earning the win on the mound was Ransomville’s Joe Okoniewski, who tossed five-and-two-thirds innings.
“The N-O was really good at the time and Woodard was almost unbeatable, but we didn’t have a second pitcher,” Burke said. “Then ‘Okey’ pitched a couple of good games in the playoffs and I think that was a big difference in helping us reach the finals.”
Hitting their stride in the state quarters, Wilson’s left fielder Doug Zipp, now the athletics director at Shenandoah University, led the way offensively in an 8-3 victory over Forestville.
Woodard earned the mound win as the Lakemen took a bus out to Little Falls for a one day Final Four Tournament at Veterans Stadium. Wilson’s semifinal game was scheduled that morning against Section II’s Mattituck with the finals slated that same afternoon.
Okoniewski said he roomed with Woodard and remembers a visit coach Burke made to their room the night before the Final Four tourney.
“Mr. Burke came in and said, ‘Mark will go the first game and if we win, Joe, you’re going the second,’” Okoniewski said.
“Mark was our ace. I only pitched in a few sectional games before that, so when Mr. Burke left the room, I said to Mark, ‘When we win the first game, how many innings do I need to pitch in the second to get to you?’ He said, ‘Let’s just win the first one and we’ll worry about that, later.’

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