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



“I was pitching in the championship game and it had to be the fifth inning. Mr. Burke came out to the mound and said, ‘How you feeling?’ I told him I was feeling okay, then he looked at our catcher Goodman and Paul says, ‘Coach, the ball’s coming over like a beach ball.’ So that was the end for me. Mark finished it up for the win.”
Burke had sent Woodard out on the hill to face Mattituck, while Fleet sent his ace, Rich DeSa, out to pitch in RCH’s semifinal. DeSa’s son, Ty, was a first baseman at the University of Hawaii two years ago during that Division 1 college’s run for a national and world title.
Wilson and RCH both advanced to 1983 state finals with the Lakemen edging Mattituck, 4-3.
“I don’t want to make any excuses because Wilson was a great team, well coached and deserved to win the championship,” said Fleet, now retired but still coaching.
“The pitcher we wanted to throw against Wilson jammed his thumb in the fifth inning of our semifinal game in the morning. We did get three innings out of him, but Wilson played very well. We were hitting the ball extremely well all through the playoffs and we had excellent pitching and a good defensive team. That was one game we didn't hit.”
Hopkins and his brother, Bill, were among those watching the title game in the stands.
“A strong Rome contingent made the 40-mile trip to Little Falls and its beautiful ballpark, home then of the New York-Penn League’s Little Falls Mets,” Hopkins said.
“I remember feeling confident that the Redwings could win. To a sixth-grader who couldn’t hit worth a lick, they were a joy to watch. It was a sunny day and it was cool to watch our team play in a minor league ballpark. Unfortunately for the Rome Catholic faithful, the baseball gods weren’t with the Redwings that day. DeSa had pitched the game before and I think he was tired. Wilson got to our pitcher early, and it was 5-0 before RCH scratched out a couple of runs.”

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