Why I made Heritage Family Center my weekend destination

Yours truly made three separate trips to our local bowling establishment last weekend. Let it be said that I will leave no stone unturned to find a bowling story.

My first stop took place on Saturday morning. I went in search of an 8-year-old bowler who has been racking up scores like people with much more experience. A little leery that I might find a kid that would put my game to shame, I nonetheless dropped in. Writing a story about someone that makes me look like a beginner has become commonplace. Of course when that person IS a beginner, well, let’s just say I was concerned.

As luck would have it the little fella wasn’t there. Perhaps the weather was a factor, but it appears I will have to wait before I get to see him in action. I did however have a couple conversations that spawned another idea for a column. I talked with a former Columbian bowler and was very much impressed with his perspective about high school bowling. That story will likely appear soon.

While watching some of the young keglers having fun I was informed that a high school bowling tournament was going to take place later that day. So after taking in a Tiffin University basketball game, it was back to Heritage to see some high school bowling action.

Eight high schools brought bowling teams to Tiffin for the tournament. Competition involved both varsity and junior varsity boys and girls teams. The first thing that I noticed as I entered the lanes was the fact that getting from one end of the house to the other was not going to be easy. The throng of people was extraordinary. It spoke volumes about the popularity of high school bowling.

After each school completed its regulation games and Baker games, the format called for the top four schools to advance to a playoff. The teams were seeded and had to bowl a best two-of-three Baker games to move on. The two semifinal winners advanced to the finals.

The last match of the day pitted the Columbian boys against a talented Port Clinton squad. The bowling alley had become a little less crowded by this time, but no less noisy. If you have not seen a high school bowling match, you should consider it.

The noise level reminded me of the 16th hole at the Phoenix PGA event also held last weekend. There the crowd is fired up though they do quiet down before a golfer strikes his tee shot. That is not the case in bowling as cheering continues as a bowler throws his ball.

The bowlers for Columbian’s girls proved to be very boisterous as they cheered on their guys. I didn’t realize that there are specific cheers depending on the results of each shot. The instant replay cheer following a strike was cool. Encouragement to pick up a spare had a cheer of its own with the words “right now” being prominent.

The two teams split the first two games and it all came down to one last game. TC’s bowlers had the split bug hit them in game three while Port Clinton strung a few strikes together to head home as the champion.

As I took in the high school action I was informed that the annual Three House Tournament would continue with second round action on Sunday afternoon. This tourney that pits bowlers from Tiffin, Sycamore and Upper Sandusky is always fun to watch as the best area bowlers compete. So it was back to Heritage for me.

Sixteen bowlers took to the lanes in the first round of this event as each bowler rolled a four-game block. Former champion Rich Yates Jr. rolled the second-highest score in the first round, but unfortunately his opponent had the highest score and Richie was relegated to the losers’ bracket.

While I watched, Richie put on a show to make sure he stayed alive. All he did was bowl an Andy Varipapa perfect game which is 12 strikes in a row over two games. After sparing in the first frame of game 3 he struck out for 290. He started game 4 with the front four for a total of 15 straight strikes before leaving a four pin in frame five. Richie will move on.

Another match between two local bowlers in the winners’ bracket came down to the 10th frame of game 4. One bowler spared in the10th while his opponent threw a strike. According to my calculations, if they each struck out they would tie. The spare shooter threw first and went high leaving the 3-6-10. Now a strike and count would win the match for the other bowler. He buried his shot but a solid 10 meant he would be heading to the losers’ bracket.

Oh, the cruelty of this great game. You can look for the champion in this fun tournament in a future column. Speaking of tournaments, the Tiffin City Bowling Tournament is coming up. Next week I will preview the event. There will be no stone

Don Hannum Jr. fired a big 756 to top the Wednesday Morning League. Tyson Shope shot 726, Rich Yates Jr. 710, Tim Sturgill 687, Mark Huffman 676 and Cheryl Radin-Norman 391. In the Sportsman League Jim Mason shot 697, Rich Yates Jr. 682, Mike Kimmet 661, Scott Hartsel 653, Rich Yates Sr. 628, Jim Ruess 627, Chris Johnson 618, Ken Buttruff Jr. 615, John Tyree 603, Greg Tiell 602 and Chris Rhodes 600. Scores from the Alley Cats League included Robin Dickman 621, Janet Houk 561, Heather Butler 547, Carla Siebenaller 542, Sandy Hufford 495 and Kim Weaver 493.

Tyson Shope came oh so close to a perfect game in the Rocket League shooting 298 as he left the 7-10 split on his final ball. I believe I mentioned something about the cruelty of this game earlier. His 668 led the league, while Steve Norman shot 632, Dave Kirian 610, Shawn Coppus 598, Dottie Funk 519 and Virginia Vanover 479. Tom Tiell fired a hefty 717 in the Twilight League. Other scores included Hank Wagner’s 646, Steve Barnes 594, Robin Brownell 403 and Lisa Krauss 374.

In the Big 8 League Ryan Chevalier led the way with a 680. Mike Babcock shot 679, Rich Yates Sr. 676, Aaron Scott 648, Rich Yates Jr. 647, Scott Plickert 646, Chuck Jones 638, Chris King 616 and Ken Bauman 604. Scores from the Imperial-Majorette League included Ben Hoyda 669, Brian Jakupca 542, Steve Steinmetz Sr. 533, Deb Nominee 522, Rhonda Fitch 496 and Phyllis Riley 474.

Chris Johnson broke the 700 plateau with a 706 in the Tuesday Night League at the K of C Lanes. James Lord had 649, Jim Rainey 611, Rick Smith 604, Doug Snyder 598, Tom Traunero 582, Scott Ferguson 579, Jamie Kuhn 563, Tyrone Dert 556 and Jerry Collins 551. In the Senior League Mike Reser shot 563, Doug Snyder 555, Fred Reimer 531 and Herb Sendelbach 516. Bill Mizen shot 618, Jim Ruess 595, Bob West 503, Dan Coppes 496, Jim Ferstler 461, John Ferstler 455, Bob Reinhart 453, Dave Everhart 424, Paul Fey 388 and Steve Schafer 386 in the 55 Plus League.

Al Stephenson is The A-T’s bowling columnist.

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