We’re back! Woo hoo! After a three-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, bowling has resumed at Hood River’s venerable Orchard Lanes. '

The center is open under restricted hours from 4-9 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Reservations are suggested and masks must be worn, but the spacious design of Orchard Lanes easily provides generous social distancing.

So, for all of you bowling-starved masses out there, let’s get back into the swing of things.

Orchard Lanes features 12 new, state of the art synthetic lanes, all with automatic scoring. We are located on the heights of beautiful Hood River at 1141 Tucker Road; 541-386-1326.

The nearest bowling centers that are open in phase II are in Hermiston and the Salem area. None of the big centers in the tri-county area are open yet, as they haven’t been allowed into Phase II by the governor. We’d love to see you before you go stir crazy. We need to bowl to stay sane!

To commemorate this auspicious restart of our great game in little old Hood River, we did it with a bang: We ran a Challenge Night last Wednesday featuring our house shot, which is a relatively easy, high scoring oil pattern that we apply to the lanes using our state of the art, computerized lane machine. It was a four-game test with both scratch and handicap winners. The handicap was based on 90 percent of a 220 average. Twenty-three bowlers turned out for the fun. Young, recent physical therapist graduate, Dr. Kristen Kawachi, won the handicap section with ease, swamping everybody with a 970 pin total.

The Dalles man about town, the inimitable storytelling Ted Rosenberg, finished a distant second with 930 sticks. Dad Kawachi was third with 907 pins. Our game is truly a family affair, those that bowl together, stay together!

In the scratch section, the show me guy from Missouri, power player Bill Whetstine, reasserted his mastery over Orchard Lanes, winning with an 860 total, a 215 average. Everybody’s living legend on the lanes, all-star and all-pro Jeff Miller, the odds on favorite to win every time he laces up, finished second with an 835 total.

We plan on running more Challenge Nights through the summer. The next one is scheduled for July 22 at 7 p.m. and it will feature a different oil pattern, but it won’t be too tough. Everybody is a bit rusty considering the three-month layoff, so we don’t want to make it too tough too soon. However, we do have the capability with our lane machine to put down some of the most difficult tournament shots and we’ll make the challenge tougher as we get closer to the restart of leagues in September.

The pandemic shut down also interrupted our 2020 Hood River City tournament. We were right in the middle of it when we had to close. We have decided to accept the scores that were posted by then to make it a shortened tournament. Here are the top results:

TEAM: Orchard Lanes (Fred Bergren, Ron Ward, Mike Weaver, Jeff Olson and Bill Pullum), 3,333 total pins. Obviously 3s were wild this time and with a number like that, with all 3s, nobody else had chance! The winners were paced by Bill Pullum’s big hooking power ball that punished the pins to the tune of a scratch 679 series. Jeff Olson chipped in a 637. Mid-Columbia Diesel finished second with 3,289 pins.

SINGLES: Roger Montavon, 773 pins (680 scratch). Sarge’s easy going deep inside finesse game clicked at just the right time as he finished up in his third stanza with a huge scratch 278 game. That won it for Roger! Fred Bergren finished second just 4 pins back with 769 sticks (607 scratch). Fred had a great tournament, looks like his recent orthopedic surgery has really helped!

Stuart Kawachi finished third with 733 pins; Joey Sheirbon got fourth with 729 pins (669 scratch!); and Nancy Asai ended up fifth with 718 pins (643 scratch).

DOUBLES: Matt Hodges and Dallas Spears, 1,432 pins. The Dalles dynamic duo had a big impact on the tournament. Tall, lean and lanky Matt Hodges with his pro-like over the head back-swing was sharp as a tack. And, since he’s so tall, he must look down to the 6-foot-5 level, it’s no small feat to have such a high back-swing. He’s got to have the biggest back-swing in town. Many of the top PBA pros do it just like Matt. Mike Weaver and Quinton Cox finished second with 1,377 sticks. Janet Kawachi and Kristen Kawachi got third with 1,356 pins.

HANDICAP ALL-EVENTS: Fred Bergren’s total of 2,099 pins from his team, doubles and singles events won with ease. Everybody’s pal, Joey Sheirbon, our local cherry and pear maestro, finished second, demonstrating perfect vision, with 2020 total and Matt Hodges got third with 2,010 sticks.

SCRATCH ALL-EVENTS: Patrick Olson won the coveted title that confers our “best bowler in town” honor with 1,968 pins. His scratch 690 in singles and 692 in doubles carried him to the crown. Matt Hodges was a distant second with 1,848 pins.

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