Empire Games a family affair for stepfather, son

This summer's Empire State Games had a silver lining for Ray Burton and his stepson, Shawn Peake.

The pair found themselves in a unique situation, as both earned spots on the Central Region team this year. Burton qualified for the Open Division bowling team and Peake, 17, made the Scholastic Division baseball. Both athletes came home with matching silver medals.

"It feels pretty good to win a medal," said Peake, who will be a senior at Liverpool High School in the fall.

Although conflicting schedules made it difficult for stepfather and stepson to watch each other compete, wife and mother Cathy Burton kept her family competitors apprised of their progress through text messaging. Ray

Burton competed at Transit Lanes in Williamsville while Peake played at fields in Amherst and at Erie Community College.

"Cathy came to watch me in between Shawn's games and during a rain delay," Ray Burton said. "There was a lot of texting going on between me and Cathy the whole time."

Peake batted over .400 during the baseball tournament as Central overcame a 0-2 start to qualify for the gold medal game against Long Island. But poor field conditions because of rain forced the cancellation of the gold medal contest. Long Island, which beat Central head-to-head in extra innings, was awarded the gold based on tie-breakers. Central settled for the silver.

"After that first day when we lost two we didn't think we'd even win a medal," Peake said.

Peake played in every game for Central (3-2) either as a catcher, designated hitter or a first baseman. In the only game Burton was able to attend, Peake drove in the winning run with a double in the bottom of the eighth for a 2-1 victory over Western.

"It was a very intense game," Peake said.

Burton won his silver medal in the men's trio event. The Central team finished with a team total of 2,392. Burton led the team with a 840 four-game total.

"The conditions were tough," Burton said. "There was no room for error. It was a pro shot."

Burton also finished sixth in mixed doubles and 15th in singles with a 649 three-game series.

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