For the second season in a row, Men with Balls won the tough Wednesday night Fraternal League at Hood River’s tenpin palace, Orchard Lanes.
The Men started strong, got even better in their second game and finished like winners to steamroll Your Rental Center and Myassis Dragon in a three-way roll-off for the league championship last week. Bowling for the Men were Levi Phelps, Court Barker and Casey Barker. This trio is the epitome of enthusiasm. It’s fun to watch their fervent gusto in action, although all that zeal they display could be intimidating to some. But, it sure helps their game!
Levi led the champs with a scratch 651 series that was capped by a big-time scratch 267 in his second game of the session. Young Levi came to play, ending up 102 pins over his average. Teammate Court Barker was strong in the first two stanzas with that big breaking hook of his smashing pins to the tune of scratch 229 and 235 games and anchorman, mighty Casey Barker, put the coup de grace on things with his pocket-pounding, strike-filled third game that could have been a lot more than the lofty scratch 255 he notched. That’s what good anchormen do and Casey is one of the best.
All in all, our repeat champs averaged a solid scratch 210 for the championship roll-off, nearly a whopping 30 pins a game better than their nearest competitor. The title was never in doubt. Congratulations, champs!
And, so, another season goes in the books. To recap, here are the 2015-16 bowling season league highs at Orchard Lanes: High average for men, Jeff Miller 218; High average for women, Nancy Asai, 196; High scratch series, men, Michael Allen, 777; High scratch series, women, Mary Finley, 714; High scratch game, men, Roger Montavon and Jeff Miller, 299; High scratch game, women, Sandy Holmes, 278.
It’s been a difficult scoring year: no 800 series and no perfect 300 games, both very unusual as we normally have several. For the most part, averages were also down, but in honor of our top bowlers who deserve recognition for maintaining a 200+ average for the season under these tough conditions, here they are (minimum of 21 games, highest for each): Jeff Miller, 218, Fraternal; Pat Olson, 213, Fraternal; Casey Barker, 210 Fraternal; Bryan Mason, 208, Tuesday Nite Mixed; Roger Montavon, 206, Fraternal; Bill Pullum, 203, Fraternal; Lynn Spellman, 202, Fraternal; Mike Parke, 202, Tuesday Nite Mixed; Josh Worth, 201, Fraternal.
And, finally, as we do always do at this time of the season, let’s finish with some proposed all-star teams. This time we’re going to do it just a bit differently. In the past, we’ve always just listed the top five bowlers with the highest averages and that is certainly a good metric to identify the five best bowlers in town. But, now we’re going to consider other factors like seasonal high scores, outstanding tournament performances and critical league accomplishments. Here are our proposed Hood River city all-star bowling teams for the 2015-16 season: Men: 1.) Jeff Miller, 2.) Mike Parke, 3.) Lynn Spellman, 4.) Michael Allen, 5.) Zach Mohun. Women: 1.) Nancy Asai, 2.) Mary Finley, 3.) Mary Neville, 4.) Joyce Ebersole, 5.) Diane Kawachi.
Jeff Miller is the highest average bowler around by a significant margin and he’s been that good for years. You don’t fall out of bed and get that good. He works at it, he practices and he bowls just about every tournament that comes along. He’s a mainstay on the current city championship team and he won the city doubles event with George Buck.
Lefty Mike Parke is also a tried and true 200 average bowler — having done so for many years — and this season he won the coveted scratch all-events crown in the city tournament. We always say winning that title is tantamount to being the best bowler in town. Lynn Spellman is everywhere; he averages 200 and he usually keeps his teams right in the thick of the races for league titles. Lynn won two events in the senior tournament. Michael Allen posted the highest three-game series rolled at Orchard Lanes this past season. It’s always more difficult to bowl a great series than a single game, which is why that feat is always a big deal and certainly a feather in Mike’s cap. Zach Mohun had a great season. He was the head-to-head individual point leader in both the Industrial and high scoring Fraternal leagues. That is quite a feat. Zach also won the city tournament singles crown.
Nancy Asai is the highest average woman bowler in town. She also spurred her dynasty Nobi’s team in the Workshirkers League to another of their seemingly endless championships. Mary Finley is the second-highest average woman bowler in town, edged by just a single pin, and she posted the highest three-game series by a woman in league action last season. Mary Neville, Hood River women’s legendary bowling leader, had a great ladies tournament, winning three titles. Joyce Ebersole, our incredibly hard-working association manager, league secretary and organizer who makes everything so good for all of us bowlers, had a super senior tournament, winning two titles. And, finally, Diane Kawachi also had a fine ladies tournament, winning two titles. Those are your all-stars.
Next season will be historic in Hood River bowling. With the installation of synthetic lanes this summer, Orchard Lanes will be joining the modern era in the game. Synthetic lanes are just about everywhere now. We always face them for the big tournaments. No longer will it be a mystery for Hood River bowlers to go to these tournaments and bowl on synthetic lanes. We will be ready now.
Scoring was very difficult last season, but look for record-breaking numbers next season on the synthetic lanes. The sky is the limit — we may even see a perfect 900 series; we certainly have the caliber of bowlers to do it.
Many thanks to all of our league bowlers. Next season is really going to be fun on synthetics. The lane conditions will be high-scoring and consistent week-in and week-out, from September to May — we can’t wait! Great bowling, everybody… see you next season!