If you had told Tyler Barnes that he was going to shoot his highest series ever after the eighth frame in his second game at Eastway Lanes in Erie on Saturday night, Barnes probably would have thought you had a little too much to drink.

Hitting the reset button after successive opens in the seventh and eighth frames, Barnes struck out in his second game and continued his striking assault in his third game with his sixth career 300 game, capping off a brilliant night with his fourth career 800 and highest ever with an 816 in the Saturday Mixed League.

Barnes’ opening games were 279 and 237 as he threw 15 consecutive strikes — the last nine in his first game and front six in his second game. He left a 7-pin in his 279.

In the seventh frame of his second game, Barnes made an uncharacteristic shot — leaving the 4-6-7-10 split. “I got a little slow on my ball speed,” he said.

Then, in the eighth frame, “I over-corrected and got a little fast, hitting light and leaving the bucket (2-4-5-8 pins), which I also didn’t convert,” he said.

Meet the Barnes of 2019: The disappointing back-to-back shots were soon forgotten. In previous years, they might not have been.

The very-confident-in-his game Barnes finished with 16 straight strikes.

As for his sixth career 300 game, Barnes said, “It starts to become more prominent in my mind about the eighth frame. And, this time, I also had an 800 to go along with it. It was an awesome night.”

Two nights later, Barnes nearly shot another 300 game as the right-hander opened with 10 strikes in a row for a 289 game and finished with a 738 series in the Pioneer League at his favorite house, Cochranton Lanes. He left a solid 10-pin on his 11th ball. His other games were 247 and 202.


Barnes: Part II

Last week’s bold sub-headline, “Barnes’ bash brothers,” must have pumped up the siblings.

Tyler Barnes’ brother, Andrew, nearly shot an 800 series, too.

In the Pioneer League at Cochranton Lanes, Andrew Barnes came within five pins of achieving his yearning first-ever 800 by shooting games of 247, 269 and 279 for a 795.

Another oh-so-close 800 series for Barnes, who had a previous high series of 784, plus several 770’s.

Barnes threw an 800-type ball, though.

After his 247 game, the lanky right-hander opened his second game with a spare, and then strung together seven straight strikes before leaving a 10-pin in the ninth frame. After picking up the spare, Barnes struck out in the 10th frame.

After opening with a strike and spare to start his third game, the red-hot Barnes struck out until his last ball when he left another 10-pin.

A smashing night, to say the least.

“I was dialed in,” he said, “I threw the ball the way I know I can.”

Barnes was also proud for another reason: He stayed calm the entire night.

“A lot of people know I have a big attitude problem when it comes to this sport. I let one little miss screw up the whole game because it sticks in my head. I’ve battled and battled myself to try to become better, and on Monday night, I was actually really proud of myself that I kept calm and relaxed the whole night.”

I’ll say it again, Andrew: You will shoot an 800 series. You’re that good.


Decker demolishes ‘em

Apparently, Kipp Decker knows the formula to bowling well — stay distracted.

Admittedly not paying attention to his bowling success in the Thursday Mixed League at Cochranton Lanes, Decker was more interested in his cards and text messaging his friend than thinking about his lights-out bowling.

When Decker finally looked at his games and series, he immediately posted them on Facebook. Who can blame him? The in-fun, wise-cracking Decker fired games of 256, 234 and 267 for a career-high 757 series.

Not too shabby for someone who wasn’t paying attention, huh?

“Honestly, I wasn’t really thinking too much about bowling that night,” he said. “I would throw my shot, go get my cards for the card game and then I would go back to messaging my friend. She kept me distracted (hmmm?), so I wasn’t thinking about how good I was doing, which I think really helped me a lot. If it wasn’t for her, I might not have even got to 700 because I probably would have been thinking about how good I was bowling.”

After opening the night with three straight spares, Decker — who is a great inspiration to many as he battles Rheumatoid arthritis daily — got in the strike mode as he tossed seven consecutive “X’s” to finish with a 256.

Decker had another strong finish in his second game — closing with the last five strikes for a 234.

The right-hander didn’t ease off the throttle as he started his third game with the front seven — giving him 12 consecutive strikes. Did he know he threw 12 in a row? C’mon.

“No, I didn’t know that,” he said.

In the eighth frame, Decker rolled another perfect shot, but unfortunately, the 10-pin didn’t fall, ending his streak of strikes. He missed the spare opportunity, but rebounded by striking out for a 267 game … and, his highest series ever, 757.

“I’m pretty happy with how I bowled,” he said, “I just wish I could have had an extra two or three strikes so I could have got an 800, but hopefully someday, it will happen.”

Well, you know what to do now, Kipper: Cards + texting your friend = great success.


Oh-so-close keglers

In last week’s column, yours truly predicted an upcoming 300 game by Seth Beebower. Well, the smooth shooter almost pulled it off — two weeks ago.

In the Commercial League at Plaza Lanes, Beerbower fired a 299 game and 748 series.

The former Cat’s Bowler of the Year wasn’t the only 299 roller in the Commercial League as Ryan Williams — a multi-Cochranton crusher award winner — also threw 11 consecutive strikes and finished with a 703.

The Commercial League is definitely the league of crushers as five other 700’s were shot: The very-skilled Broc Baker fired games of 247, 244 and 267 for a 758; Jeremy Smith shot games of 254, 266 and 214 for a 734; Mike Almon rolled games of 246, 224 and 261 for a 731; and, Dave Lander and Andrew Barnes threw 707 and 702 totals, respectively. A sidenote: Williams, Almon and Lander are teammates.

At the other houses …

Cochranton Lanes — Lee Duck was his dominant self in the Pioneer League, shooting games of 229, 234 and 248 for a 711.

Lakeside Lanes — Another bowler on the verge of a scoring explosion (300 or 800), in my opinion? Rodrick Baird. He was razor-sharp on Monday night in the Stewart’s Classic League, throwing games of 233, 275 and 226 for a 734 … Speaking of the Stewart’s Classic League, Lakeside Lanes co-owner Don Granda Jr. corrected yours truly this week. In the previous years, the SCL participants bowled on a PBA-like pattern shot. Not this year. “We are bowling on intermediate type patterns … still more difficult than a typical house pattern, but should be somewhat easier than PBA patterns,” he said … Brian Williams is still crushing ‘em — throwing a 716 in the NFL Mixed League.

Lost Lanes — Not sure if they’re aware of it, but Jeff Keener and Harry Hanks nearly shot the same games and series in the Spa League. Keener tossed games of 216, 258 and 246 for a 720, while Hanks rolled games of 216, 253 and 247 for a 716.


Platz locked in

Young gun Dylan Platz can be unstoppable when he gets it rolling.

Case in point I: He shot his first career 300 game last year.

Case in point II: On Sunday in the Junior-Major League at Lakeside Lanes, Platz crushed the lumber, throwing games of 247, 190 and 267 for a 704 series.

Great set, Dylan!

Austin Granda also shined as he rolled games of 201, 248 and 186 for a 635.


Hall of Fame banquet

A reminder keglers and bowling fans: You only have nine more days to purchase your ticket for the annual Hall of Fame banquet, which will be held Nov. 16 at the Italian Civic Club.

Lane Baker, Tom Baker and Diane McHenry are the inductees and legendary Professional Bowlers Association bowler Walter Ray Williams will be the guest speaker.

Tickets are available at the local bowling establishments.

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