New faces are bringing some big scores to Tuesday Alley Cats League

Looking over the bowling scores in The A-T is a favorite part of my morning. As the season wore on I couldn’t help but notice some outstanding scores in the Alley Cats League. Many of the scores were posted by some unfamiliar names. I wanted to put some faces to those names, so it was off to Heritage Family Center this week.

Sitting down next to Pat Cook, I struck up a conversation. Pat would normally have been bowling, but a serious knee injury has sidelined her for this bowling season. She has been granted permission from her doctor to try the sport, but wants to wait a while yet. The last thing she wants is to come back too soon and be out for another golf season.

I understand Pat.

As the first game unfolded a bowler threw a gutter ball. I kiddingly suggested that it might make my column and the bowler smilingly said I didn’t need to include it. She later came back with three strikes in four frames and let me know that I should write about them.

I could write anything about Linda Wise and she would be OK with it. I have never been around a more upbeat person. She was smiling after the gutter ball and the strikes!

Later Barb Carmon left the 7-9-10 split. Anytime someone leaves three fourths of the back row it amuses everyone. Well, all but the bowler perhaps. She made a good effort on the spare though she only picked up the nine pin.

My attention was drawn to the neighboring set of lanes where the new bowlers were toiling. I checked the names and realized that I knew one of them. I have talked to Justene Tarris on several occasions, though mostly it’s been about her son Hayden.

I wrote a column on Hayden several years ago when he was just eight and wowing local bowling enthusiasts with his game. He was in the house and I had a chance to talk to him. He informed me that he had thrown his first perfect game this past summer. It was not official as it was at a camp, but it was 12 in a row.

The first official perfect game for the 13-year-old Old Fort seventh grader will come sooner rather than later, you can bank on that.

I noted the scores for the first game before going over to chat with Justene. Checking the score sheet I found averages for the newcomers. Kathy Echelberry is at 163, Monica Musgrave 183, Crystal Butler 180 and Tarris is scoring at a 191 clip. Nice averages, but how did they fare in game one on this night?Echelberry struggled with a 151, as did Butler who was 30 pins below her average. Musgrave shot a solid 177 and Tarris did get her average although an open tenth frame kept her from shooting 200 as she “settled” for a 198.

As game two began I started wondering if they would pick up their games for my benefit. The strikes started coming and I was suitably impressed. Echelberry once again struggled, but the others were gaining momentum. Tarris struck out in the tenth this time shooting 205.

Butler topped that with a 223, but the star of game two was Musgrave. She began with the front six when Justene decided to introduce me to her teammates. The announcers jinx came into play as she buried her seventh shot only to see a 10 pin standing defiantly. A seven pin in the next frame and another solid ten on her last ball was the only thing standing between her and a perfect game. A 267 score was great and I couldn’t help but think it could have been so much better.

It was during the introductions when a light moment had me laughing. This team only has four bowlers so they must use a vacant or blind score for the fifth bowler. I was told that they refer to their absent teammate as Helen, a reference to Ms. Keller, you know, because she was …

The funny part was Musgrave complaining that I was introduced to “Helen” before I was introduced to her.

These new faces seem to be fitting in nicely in the Alley Cats League. They are a fun bunch as are so many of the other bowlers in the league. Perhaps the most outgoing is Musgrave who spent as much time laughing as celebrating strikes, which if you check the board at the end of the house she has had a lot of celebrating to do.

Monica Musgrave has the season’s high woman’s game at 289 and came very close to shooting the highest score by a female in the history of Heritage Lanes. Her score from earlier in the season was a hefty 741.

If you want to see the totals of these gals just check the scores below. Their names were once again at the top of the honor roll.

Alley Cats: Monica Musgrave 633, Crystal Butler 582, Justene Tarris 560, Wendy Krupp 531 and Jan Houk 500.

Allen Eiry: Paul Fey 321 (169), Joanne Elchert 304, Bob Reinhart 289, Jim Donaldson 287, Robin Brownell 285 (170), Larry Cobb 281, Bill Steinmetz 270 and Harry Smith 269.

Rocket: Shawn Fitch, Jr. 647, Mike Distel 602, Rodney Ohms 594, Jason Ball 565, Chuck Phillips 545 and Ellen Ewing 430.

Imperial-Majorette-Sportsman: Jim Mason 706, Rich Yates, Jr. 702, Bill Fleming 692, Rich Yates, Sr. 684, Jason Ball 634, Tony Myers 624, Brian Kidwell 610, Tom Wilkinson 610, Deb Nominee 577, Tina Whitaker 541, Phyllis Hyde 463 and Mary Ruggiero 437.

Wednesday Morning: Aaron Sherman 624, Ken Lofton 616, Joe Brickner 610, Tyson Shope 589, Dustin Fitch 575, Hank Wagner 569, Doug Chester 568, Deb Phillips 437 and Dianne Smith 381.

Lady Knights: Marilyn Gangluff 421, Deb Hoerig 410 and Lin Nitecki 400.

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

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