Maybe Seth Beerbower should throw one of his in-storage bowling balls more often.
For the second time in little more than two years last Thursday, the explosive Beerbower — who has unbelievable bowling skills — threw a bowling ball that he hadn’t thrown in quite some time and the end results were historic: His first career 800 series.
Throwing a “four-or-five-year-old” DV8 Diva bowling ball for the first time in approximately three years, the 24-year-old Beerbower finally got to enjoy that 800 adrenaline rush with an 803 series in the Citizens Banks All-Stars League at Rolling Meadows Lanes in Erie.
Beerbower — a former Cat’s Bowler of the Year after his mind-blowing three 300 games in his 2014-15 pin-shattering youth season — rolled games of 234, 279 and 290. He threw 21 strikes in his last 23 shots — the first nine in the second game and fill ball, and the last 11 in the third game.
“It feels great to finally get that first 800,” said the soft-spoken Beerbower, who had a previous high series of 795 and several 770-plus totals in his amazing young career already.
In late November of 2017, Beerbower used a Brunswick Exile bowling that he hadn’t thrown in nearly seven months and fired a 300 game in the first game in the Commercial League at Plaza Lanes.
Kinda déjà vu last week.
“I normally take three bowling balls with me when I go bowling, and two of them are pretty new,” he said. “Before I left the house, I saw this ball and decided to bring it with me. I threw it in practice and the reaction was great, so I started with it.”
Beerbower’s two newer bowling balls stayed in his bowling bag as the smooth-shooting, right-hander nearly threw back-to-back 300’s with the DV8 Diva.
Shooting for his seventh career 300 game in his second game, Beerbower left a “ringin” 10-pin on his first shot in the 10th frame. After picking up the spare, Beerbower thought about throwing a back-up ball — another example of his extraordinary skills — on his fill ball.
Teammate Charlie Shaffer stepped in.
“I was going to throw a back-up ball, but Charlie stopped me as he told me that I still have a shot at an 800, so I changed my mind,” said Beerbower, who then buried his fill shot regularly.
Surprisingly, Beerbower made a boo-boo on his first shot in the third game.
“I pitched it outside and it jumped on me, leaving the 3-6-10 pins,” he said. After picking up the spare, the 220-average roller knew what he had to do to get his first career 800 — strike out.
“After that bad shot, I told myself to take it one shot at a time and see what happens … and to enjoy it,” said Beerbower. “Unbelievably, I left the 10-pin momentarily three times in my next eight shots, but the 7-pin came shooting across as a messenger and knocked it over. You don’t see it happen that many times in a game.”
After burying his first two shots in the 10th frame, Beerbower only had one number on his mind on his last shot — seven.
Any thoughts of a back-up ball? “No way,” he said, who sealed his accomplishment with a textbook strike.
Congrats, Seth! … and, you can betcha more to come.
Trio finishes strong
Broc Baker, Ryan Park and Josh Dodson showed their true mettle in the 57th Annual Times-News Open on Sunday.
Finishing the second round in the highly competitive Erie scratch event with 240-plus games in their final two games, the three Crawford County bowling standouts made the 36-bowler cut and advance to the third round on Saturday at Lake City Lanes in Erie.
Erie’s 17-year-old phenom Killian Kirkpatrick enters the third round as the leader with 2,440 pins (244 average, readers!) and Ryan Lariccia and Nick Kightlinger are second and third with 2,389 and 2,374 pins, respectively.
Baker qualified 19th with 2,257 pins, Park finished 22nd with 2,224 and Dodson placed 32nd with 2,182 pins. Local great Rodrick Baird also advanced as he tied for 36th with Jesse Wattle with 2,171 pins.
After the eighth qualifying game, Baker, Park and Dodson realized they were on the bubble of not advancing. It was now-or-never time for them.
The Crawford County trio reached another gear in their final two games: Baker shot 256 and 246 games; Park fired 244 and 243 games; and, Dodson tossed 247 and 242 games.
Onto the third round, guys.
“I only had one game under 200 in my five-game block on Saturday, but I was only plus 59 and I knew going into Sunday that I had to have a huge day if I wanted to make the cut,” said Park.
“I started off on Sunday with a ball change and never changed from there. My spare game was on point and I buckled down and really concentrated on making good shots. Fortunately, I was able to average 233 on Sunday to make the cut.”
While Park stayed with the same ball that he started with on Sunday, Dodson made a tournament-changing ball switch prior to his ninth game.
“I knew the last two games were do or die for me, so I switched to a more aggressive ball to meet the dry lane conditions,” said Dodson, who is bowling regularly this year in the Catania Scratch League at Eastway Lanes in Erie this year.
“I moved way inside with loft through the heads. I know … definitely a different mindset. I’ll be honest, I was in my own zone. I thought I missed the cut, but instead, I squeaked in.”
While Baker, Park and Dodson finished strong, Baird started off with a flourish of strikes — throwing 219, 248 and 278 games for a 745 total in his opening three-game block.
Saturday’s third round of six games at Lake City Lanes is scheduled to begin at noon. The top 16 will then advance to the final rounds on Jan. 25-26 for 16 games.
“I know I have to get lined up early and make key spares and strikes when needed,” said Park. “There is no doubt in my mind that I can make the top 16 again this year.”
Best of luck, Baker, Park, Dodson and Baird.
Wachob wallops ’em
Brandon Wachob — who finished sixth in last year’s Times-News Open — nearly rolled his second career 800 series on Monday night.
In the Twilight League at Plaza Lanes, the left-handed Wachob fired games of 243, 268 and 279 for an impressive 790 series. He struck out in the 10th frame in his third game and the Twilight onlookers (including myself) thought he got an 800 on the button, but his scores were re-added and he came up 10 pins short.
Great shooting, Brandon!
In other high-scoring action at Plaza, Steven Harvey Jr. tossed 255 and 259 games for a 737 in the Twilight League … Right-hander Shawn Park shot his second consecutive 700 in the Twilight League with a 719. He had a 702 last week … Andrew Barnes fired a 708 in the Commercial League and his brother, Tyler, and Tom Archacki rolled 701’s in the Commercial League and Twilight League, respectively.
At the other houses …
Cochranton Lanes — Doug Wagner was the lone 700 roller last week as he tossed games of 258, 238 and 215 for a 711 in the Thursday Mixed League.
Lakeside Lanes — Cat’s prediction for this week: Don Granda Jr. will shoot another 300 game before next week’s column. He nearly did it twice in the last week as the left-handed legend fired 288 and 269 games for a 782 in the Wednesday Nighters League and 287 and 268 games for a 760 in the Stewart’s Classic League. He also had a 708 in the NFL Mixed League … Rodrick Baird wasn’t sluggish after his outstanding 10-game qualifying performance in the Times-News Open. On Monday night in the Stewart’s Classic League, the right-handed Baird threw games of 279, 220 and 269 for a 768 … Troy Johnson was his all-business self again in the National Mixed League, throwing games of 247, 237 and 256 for a 740 … Other 7-Up shooters: Dan Francis (731 in Wednesday Nighters League), DJ Granda (724 in Businessmen League), Tim McEntire (708) and Doug Dunham (702 in NFL Mixed League).
Lost Lanes — The Hankses (Harry and Natalie) were dominant — as usual. Harry Hanks rolled two 279’s for a 755 in the Spa League and Natalie Hanks shot another 700 series this season with a 711 in the Cambridge Merchants League. Her games were 204, 240 and 267. She also had a 665 in the Found Lounge Mixed League … Jeff Keener’s game is heating up. Of course, the Men’s Classic is right around the corner. The right-hander fired games of 234, 258 and 244 games for a 736 in the Spa League and shot games of 279, 226 and 203 for a 728 in the Found Lounge Mixed League … Dan “Dutchie” Lilly and Dan Francis also authored 700’s with 731 and 716 totals in the Cambridge Merchants League and Spa League, respectively … In other women’s action, Savannah Custard tossed a 618 in the Found Lounge Scratch League and Nancy Hanks threw a 602 in the Friday Morning League.
On deck …
My main source came through for me.
I received a text on Monday evening, informing me that Jeff Wright shot a 300 game in the Pioneer League at Cochranton Lanes.
Wright, who returned to bowling this season after taking several years off, will be featured in next week’s column.