The scores showed up on the A-T sports pages and I did a double take. Eighteen bowlers on the honor roll. Five of them shot over 700, including a 777 for Robert Terris Jr. His low game was a 242. His LOW GAME!
I'm not sure why I was surprised at the numbers. The Big 8 League has been the best league in town for quite a while. My curiosity was aroused however and since I no longer bowl in Fostoria on Wednesday nights, I was able to stop out at Heritage this week to witness for myself some excellent bowling.
The purpose of my visit was twofold. I wanted to see if I could get a little history of the league. Then I wanted to see if my "talent" with the rock was sufficient to bowl in this powerhouse league.
For the first part I chatted up veteran bowler Dick Houk. I found out that he joined the league in 1974. He was a fountain of knowledge telling me that the league has always been 8 teams. There is a reason for that and he filled me in on the facts that help separate the Big 8 League from others that is, besides the fact that the best bowlers seem to be in it.
The league bowls in quarters. Each quarter consists of seven weeks. That way each team bowls every other team just once. Winning that first quarter does not automatically qualify you for the roll off however. Each team will get seeding points every quarter. The winner gets 8, second 7 and so on down the line. As there is no position night, the four teams to make the two-week roll off at season's end are the four teams with the most seeding points.
There will be no sandbagging in this league. Each week might determine whether a team makes the roll off or not. That might help explain the high scores week after week. Oh I suppose the quality of bowlers in the league helps too. The league bowls at the high end of the house for the first quarter, the low end for the second and the middle 8 lanes for the third before returning to the high end (nearer the bar conveniently) for the final go round.
As I watched the forty bowlers throw the first game, I assessed my chances of performing in the Big 8 League. I decided to write down the number of scores over 220. There were 11 of them with Dave Ross' 255 topping the list. I have to think my game would put me a little out of place in this league. There were so many good games that I couldn't help but wonder who might be considered the best of the best. So I asked Dick for his pick as the best bowler in the Big 8 League.
He thought for a minute and then tossed out a couple of names. Then he quickly added a few more and a few more after that. I stopped him when he got to double digits. On any given night, anyone might lead the Big 8 League, but most assuredly it will take a big score to do so.
I was convinced that I would not fare well in this league until something happened not once, but twice during that first game. I had seen the reaction to similar situations before, but Dick pointed out that the clap originated in the Big 8 League. A bowler managed to throw his first ball into the gutter. It's hard to believe given the quality of bowlers in this league, but I guess it happens. The whole league took note and a rhythmic clapping began. It did not stop until the bowler threw his second ball.
Fortunately he converted the spare and he received a half-hearted cheer. The second bowler that tossed one in the channel did not cover the spare and "the applause" ended with him being roundly booed. Now I'm thinking that just maybe I could bowl in this league. Even I have the "talent" to throw a gutter ball.
Here are the scores from last week's Big 8 League. Robert Terris, Jr. 777 (242, 258, 277), Ben Hoyda 733 (254, 241, 238), Greg Tiell 728 (246, 257, 225), Scott Plickert 726 (217, 233, 276), Mark Baxter 704 (256, 246, 202), Dave Ross 693, Chris King 669, Rich Yates, Jr. 658, Bob Wilson 647, Aaron Scott 644, Jack Book 639, Jim Ross 639, Mark Bowen 635, Jim Hershberger 613, Ken Bauman 606, Rich Terry 605, Brian Soals 602 and John Sauers 602. Now you know the reason for the double take.
Rich Yates Sr. shot 710 to lead the way in the Sportsman League. Rich Yates Jr. shot 638, Chris Rhodes 629, Scott Hartsel 623, Chris Johnson 618, Mike Kisabeth 608 and Paul Gosche 601. Rocket League scores included Tim Sturgill 663, Tyson Shope 584, Dave Coppus 563, Paul Landers 561, John Klingshirn 552 and Dottie Funk 488. In the Wednesday Morning League Rich Yates, Jr. shot 728, Greg Elchert 650, Mark Huffman 637, Harry Smith 599, Tyson Shope 562 and Cheryl Radin-Norman 300.
Action from the K of C Lanes found Dick Gabel topping the 55 Plus League with 524. Jim Ruess had 521, Dan Coppes 488, Jim Ferstler 477, Rick Hanna 477, Bill Mizen 474, Bob West 467, Bob Reinhart 465, Jim Donaldson 443, Bernie Tiell 388 and Paul Fey 357. The Lady Knights League saw Carol Burmeister shoot 431, Madonna Gase 429, Julie Fortner 426 and Marilyn Gangluff 411. Steve Depinet shot 611, Rick Smith 600, Jim Lord 587, Jerry Collins 569, Aaron Sherman 550, Tyrone Dert 543 and Scott Ferguson 542 in the Tuesday Night League.
Steve Steinmetz Jr. shot 662, Ben Hoyda 649, Rhonda Fitch 585, Chad Tiell 564, Deb Nominee 506 and Linda Brookes 482 in the Imperial-Majorette League. In the Alley Cats League, Robin Dickman rolled 527, Sue Stine 492, Pat Cook 483, Kate Roser476 and Barb Carmon 469. Rock N Roll League scores included Brian Kidwell with 653, Bob Steele 624, Chuck Phillips 616, Gary Golden 615, Tim Sturgill 613, Tom Tiell 603, Marie Meyer 484 and Rose Steele 453. Steve Barnes shot 682, Tom Tiell 653, Steve Steinmetz, Sr. 596, Rhonda Fitch 514, Kristin Fitch 414 and Robin Brownell 400 in the Twilight League.
Al Stephenson is The A-T's bowling columnist.
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