LOCKPORT — After outstanding Western New York baseball careers, Mike and Mark Sobieraski turned to umpiring.
Having been among the area's best ball players both on and off the field, umpiring came almost naturally to the sibling pair.
On Tuesday night, the brothers were honored with the Joe Kibler Award as the newest members of the Lockport Umpires Association Hall of Fame at the LUA's annual dinner/banquet at Danny Sheehan's Restaurant.
The Sobieraskis join a distinguished group of LUA Hall of Famers that included several in attendance, Charlie Lingle, Tony Nemi, Fr. Jerry Bartko, and Joe Kibler. Other LUI Hall of Famers not in attendance are Bill Luff, Bunny Stoddard and William Clarke.
With their proud father, Charlie Sobieraski, in attendance, Mike presented the Kibler Hall of Fame Award to his brother, Mark, and Kibler presented the award to Mike Sobieraski.
LUI president Mike Stover addressed the group of more than three dozen umpires with a status report on what the LUI accomplished in 2019.
Among the leagues and events that the LUI is responsible for umpiring is all Niagara and Orleans counties high school games, DeSales, Lockport Little League, An-Jo League, CEBA League, Boys of Summer, New Era tournaments, pitch and hit event tournaments, Battle of the Falls Tournament, Hartland Women, Niagara County Firemen's Softball Association and Dugout Softball on South Transit Road.
Stover also announced that LUI long-time member, Fr. Bartko, has been named the 2019 New York State Umpire of the Year. Fr. Bartko, received a standing ovation from fellow umpires at the announcement. Fr. Bartko will receive his state award in Binghamton in the first week of October. Stover noted that Kibler was named NYS Umpire of he Year in 1998, giving the LUI two members of that prestigious Hall.
Those attending the dinner-banquet enjoyed a delicious steak dinner with all the trimmings.
“It was an enjoyable dinner to end the season — another successful season for the LUA under the leadership of president Mike ‘Smoke’ Stover,” said LUI umpire and dinner banquet committee member Dave Davidson.
Anyone interested in becoming an umpire is asked to contact Charlie Lingle at 946-0871.
Follow veteran US&J sports reporter and editor John D'Onofrio on Twitter at @JohnD'Onofrio7.