By Jim Hunter
The flame-throwing Alan Felmlee reached the pinnacle of his outstanding young career this week.
Felmlee — the 24-year-old son of Plaza Lanes proprietors Dean and Stephanie Felmlee — is competing in the PBA 2014 United States Bowling Congress Masters at North Brunswick, N.J.
Bowling against PBA legends Pete Weber, Walter Ray Williams and Norm Duke, to name a few, Felmlee has had his ups and downs in the opening two five-game qualifying rounds.
On Monday night, Felmlee opened with a major statement by firing a 236 game. Unfortunately, the powerful right-hander struggled the next four games as he entered the second round in 299th place in the highly competitive 468-bowlers’ field. He averaged 189.8.
Felmlee’s struggles continued in the second round. He bowled in the opening five-game block and dropped to 404th place.
Needless to say, the promising Felmlee is gaining valuable experience. He will bowl five more qualifying games on Thursday and the top 64 bowlers will advance to match-play action on Friday.
After the opening five-game block on Wednesday, Williams currently leads with a 234.8 average.
The stepladder finals will be aired live on Sunday on ESPN at 3 p.m.
Barnes, Nichols roll perfect games
Rising bowlers Andrew Barnes and Brian Nichols were perfect recently.
Opening with his second career 300 game, Barnes put together one of the best series at Cochranton Lanes this season with a 775 in the Pioneer League.
The right-hander followed his gem with 238 and 237 games.
Barnes rolled his other 300 at Plaza Lanes last season.
After flirting with a possible 300 on a few occasions this season, Nichols finally enjoyed the moment in the NFL League at Lakeside Lanes.
He finished with a 710 series.
Nichols is an interesting story. He is 85% blind in his right eye, due to an incident in the military.
Shortly after throwing the 12th strike, Nichols grabbed his phone. He called his father, Dale Nichols, the former local bowling standout who now resides in Florida.
“I think he was more excited than me,” said Brian Nichols. “Realizing my situation with my eye, he gets so much pride and joy out of me doing well.”
Pops is still one-up on the son. Dale Nichols, a WCCBA Hall of Famer, has two career 300 games.
Congrats, Andrew and Brian!
Baird, Granda rolling
Our area’s best bowlers — Rodrick Baird and Don Granda Jr. — are putting up PBA-like numbers.
Unlike any other bowler in the area, Baird pounds Eagles Lanes. In successive weeks, the 2014 Men’s Classic champion topped 700. He fired games of 222, 278 and 226 for a 724 and followed with games of 247, 229 and 248 for a 724 in the Volunteer Firemen’s League.
Baird also had a lights-out performance in the Stewart’s Classic League at Lakeside Lanes with games of 269, 258 and 244 for a 771.
Granda Jr. crushed his own lumber. The co-Lakeside Lanes owner also shot three 700s — 279, 229 and 286 games for a 794 in the Stewart’s Classic League, 258, 216 and 265 games for a 739 in the NFL League and a 724 in the Wednesday Nighters League.
Baker’s streak continues
Cory Baker must like reading his name in bold.
For the fourth consecutive week, Baker claimed bold-letter material as the right-hander smoked ’em in the National Mixed League at Lakeside Lanes.
The former Cat’s Rookie of the Year threw games of 257, 247 and 267 for a 771 series.
Other high-scoring action: Tim Saulsbery’s strong season is continuing as the right-hander banged out games of 246, 268 and 246 for a 760 in the NFL League at Lakeside Lanes ... Harry Hanks had a dominant week at Lost Lanes as the co-owner threw 277 and 266 games for a 758 in the Friday Morning League and also had a 706 in the Spa League ... Don Eaton — another kegler who is having an outstanding year — also topped 700 twice with games of 270, 237 and 247 for a 754 in the Wednesday Nighters League and a 723 in the Businessmen League at Lakeside Lanes.
Mailliard hits ‘7’
Bernie Mailliard entered the 700 club with a bang.
Shooting three 240-plus games, Mailliard shot his first career 700 series with a 745 in the Businessmen League at Lakeside Lanes.
His games were 246, 255 and 244.
Wolf wallops ’em
Kristy Wolf is sure making bowlers take notice of her dominating game this year.
In back-to-back weeks in the Tuesday Nite Swingers League at Plaza Lanes, Wolf was on-fire with two impressive 600s.
A week after throwing a 236 game and 643 series, the left-handed Wolf came back and tossed games of 226, 263 and 200 for a 689.
In other women’s action, Natalie Hanks rolled a 236 game and 661 in the Found Lounge Mixed League at Lost Lanes and Vicki Feltenberger joined Wolf in the 600 ranking in the Tuesday Nite Swingers League with a 602.
Kara Saulsbery — the area’s top girl bowler — was in the strike mode in the Major League at Lakeside Lanes.
She shot 190 and 266 games for a 630 series.
In boys’ action, Seth Beerbower fired a 254 game and 681 series in the Major League and Nick Archacki tossed a 252 game and 648 in the Junior League at Plaza Lanes.
Four bowlers with strong softball background flexed their in-the-clutch mentality last Sunday in the No-Tap Tournament at Plaza Lanes.
The four-man team of Charlie Shaffer, Marty Gallagher, Jeff Hall and Matt Schmitt — getting stronger each game — won the 22-team tournament with a 3,448 handicap series.
Gallagher and Schmitt led the way with 738 and 736 no-tap series, respectively. Schmitt — one of the best all-around players in the Meadville Softball League the past 10 years — highlighted the team’s success with a 290 in his last game.
Once again, Rick Kanline & Co. did well. The two-time Plaza Lanes champions (October and December) finished second with 3,320. Kanline’s teammates were Barry Williams, Dave Zelasco and Doug Grumling.
The third-place team consisted of Dan Crock, Andrew Barnes, Brian Nichols and Chris Jannazzo and the fourth-place team members were Brenda Kanline, Kris Miller, Jeff Hamilton and Alan Sandrock.
I want to send my condolences to the Jim and Amy Lynn family.
Last Monday, Amy Lynn lost her mother, Kay Heiser. She was 68.
Stay strong, Amy.