Story of The Amazing “Skip” Lockwood… Part 2
By FRANK WALL (Second in a Series)
By now it’s history. Every sports fan across the country has heard the news that “Skip” Lockwood of Norwood has signed a $100,000 bonus contract with the Kansas City A’s of the Major League. He has put the town of Norwood on the map all over the country even though not playing for the school on the hill. We now continue with the sports life story of “Skip” Lockwood, reviewing his feats as a Little League All-Star on the team that brought the Norwood American League Club to the state finals.
As an 11-year-older in the Norwood Little League, “Skip” Lockwood was unbelievable. He led the league in pitching as he had a blazing fastball which was almost unhittable. His team was a little weak and were edged out for the title by the Red Sox coached by Lou Jesseau and Charley Miller. After the regular season the managers arid coaches had their annual meeting to select the all-stars to compete in tournament play. The first name mentioned was “Skip” and of course he was chosen unanimously Others who were selected for that team that eventually was to bring Norwood to the slate finals were Paul Angelo, Bobby DeRose, Tony Troilo, Dave Heylin, Paul Matola, Robbie Hebner, Eddie Martin, Paul O’Donnell, Dick Baxter, Bill Benkavitch, Dick Santospago, Dave Hardy, and Franny Burns. They worked out regularly and were ready for their first game of All-Star tournament play,, and it must be remembered that one loss in all-star play and you’re out. Norwood opened their tournament play as they faced Canton. The final score was Norwood 1, Canton 0. The same “Skip” Lockwood did the pitching and hurled a 3-hit shutout. The sole Norwood run was scored as Paul Matóla singled and scored on a double by Fran Burns. Skip contributed two hits to his own cause.
“Skippy” still remembers that first win Up to that time it was his biggest thrill in ¿ports as he had won a tourney game. For a youngster of 11 years old, this was quite an ‘ accomplishment.
In the second game of the tourney it was Norwood 3, Dedham 2. Dave Hardy did the pitching with Dave singling in Matola ‘with the winning run. “Skip” played left field in this one and made a couple of nice catches.
In the third game it was -the bespectacled little righthander’s turn again and he fired his second straight shutout as he scattered three hits and struck out 11. Dave Heylin supplied the big punch for Norwood with, a three-run homer to defeat Stoughton.
Now it was time for the district final against a hard-hitting Franklin team. Norwood won the game in convincing fashion, 3-2, with Hardy gaining his second win. Fran Burns, Paul Angelo, Paul Matola, and “Skip!’ were the hitting stars.
Next Norwood was to play the District 2 champions, and when you get out of your own District things usually get a little tougher. The District 2 champs were Somerset. And who was to get the starting nod for the Norwood Little Leaguers? Mr. Lockwood again! Norwood was trailing 1-0 when Burns homered for the win, but the big story was on the mound as “Skip” fired a five-hitter and struck out eight The fever was getting high in Norwood as the team kept moving. The team needed two more wins to get into the championship finals at Franklin, bringing together the final four teams in the state. Norwood bombed Shrewsbury, 5-2, and needed one more win to qualify Fran Burns belted a grand slam to knock off the opposition, 7-5. In this game the amazing Lockwood lost the limelight, but close baseball followers knew he started the rally with two outs with a single and also fielded brilliantly in the big win.
Now came the big weekend as Norwood now was one of the four teams left in the state Little League play. The town was going wild for the lads.
The boys had a thrill of a lifetime as they were housed at Dean Academy in Franklin for the weekend The series was to be played at the beautiful Franklin Little League field. Finally came the big day. The stands were jammed as large delegations from the four towns were on hand for the games. The towns represented were Lynn, East Longmeadow, Medford, and of course Norwood. Norwood was to play the second game against East Longmeadow and Lynn was to play Medford. Lynn won the first game 5-0 as a lad by the name of Richy Wanciwiez hit two homers Now- came Norwood’s big moment as they squared off against East Longmeadow.
Norwood took a 1-0 lead in the first as Dave Hardy was on the mound. The score was still the same going into the third. But East Longmeadow put together five straight hits to score three runs and give them a 3-1 lead. Things looked bleak for Norwood as they were on the verge of defeat as the 4th inning came along. Dick Baxter started things off with a double and then Dave Hardy was hit by a pitch.
They were two down and up stepped the little right-hander, “Skip Lockwood”.
The count was 2-2 and in came the pitch . . . and bang, there it went over the centerfield fence for a three-run homer. His teammates swarmed all over “Skip” and the Norwood fans on hand went wild for the youngster had brought the name of their town into the state finals.
The home run proved to be the winning margin but one thing about the game was unfortunate as Dave Hardy received an arm injury and could not play in the final against Lynn Wyoma.
In the Lynn game, Norwood lost as Dick Wanciewicz fired a one-hitter to beat “Skip” and his mates, 2-0. It was a long trip home that night, but the Norwood lads had certainly given their town a name in the sports world . . . and the name of Claude (Skip) Lockwood was in the national spotlight for the first time.
TO BE CONTINUED
(All articles were originally published in the Norwood Messenger unless otherwise noted)
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