Everything Candlepin


Pro Series Event #8 – Doubles Knockout

Cue up The Raconteurs “Steady As She Goes”.  Chris Harris and Joey Hutchinson proved that on Sunday, Februrary 17th at the Doubles Knockout at Metro Bowl.  As the saying goes, it doesn’t matter where you finish, just get in.  Chris and Joey did very well on this day.  Chris opened up on the day with a 616 total, and Joey chimed in with a 630 after their five string qualifying round.

Worrying about “just getting in”, their 1246 total got them into the top 24, sitting in 20th place overall.  Once they made the knockout round, that’s where they made their noise.  There first round match you ask?  Jeff Surette and Dave Barber.  A match that came down to the wire, Jeff and Dave threw 138 and 125 respectively, for a 263 total.  Edging them by 8 pins, Joey’s 142 and Chris’ 129 were enough, and the 271 allowed them to move onto round 2.

Round 2 featured another tall task as they faced Maria Mazzarella and Brandon Marks.  “Brando” started out great on this day – 178 and 157, 335 for two!  He finished with 704 on the day so this match wasn’t going to be any easier than their first round match.  Another gut wrenching battle that came down to the last few boxes before being decided.  Joey duplicated his first round score with another 142, and Chris finished with a nice 125 string.  Their total of 267 was enough to topple Maria and Brandon by 12 pins!  Brandon threw an awesome 150 string, but it ended up not being enough and Joey and Chris moved onward and upward.

Joey and Chris charged into the quarter-finals facing another top qualifier in Jim Miner and Brian Mayer.  Brian tore it up earlier in the day with a 687 and Jim chipped in greatly finishing with 626.  Their 1313 placed them as the five seed overall.  Round three is where Joey and Chris caught fire – as if a 271 and 267 weren’t fiery enough.  Joey threw another crusher score with 137; not to be outdone, Chris tossed a 146 string.  Their total ended up being more than enough as Jim and Brian weren’t able to break up the pins, or carry the extra one (such is life on lane 21-22 at Metro), and they were defeated by 69 and lost 283-211.  After three knockout rounds Joey was sitting at 421 (140.3 avg.) and he was followed closely by his partner at an even 400 (130.3 avg.).

The semi-finals featured yet another tough match-up as they faced Rich Cocchi and Ed Woodside.  Rich and Ed were rocking and rolling all day as they were taking names and numbers in the qualifying round as well as the knockout.  Not to be denied, Joey and Chris were able to take advantage of their breaks and used them incredibly effectively in order to do what it took to make it to the finals.  It was clear that throughout the knockout it appeared that Joey and Chris were the team to beat.

It was the battle of David versus Goliath as the young upstarts in Joey and Chris were facing two legends in Dave “Cookie” Richards and Peter Flynn who have won more awards and more tournaments that most people can even remember!  It was a hard fought match from beginning to end, with Joey and Chris prevailing on this day!  Good job to all the opponents that faced Joey and Chris, and good job Joey and Chris with your first Pro Series wins!


 March 8th, 2013  
 Rich Limone  
 Pro Series  
 0 Comment

Candlepin Pro Series Season 4, Event #4 – Singles Knockout

Another exciting Pro Series tournament took place on Saturday October 20, 2012 up in Westbrook, ME. As Rich spotlighted in a previous post, the tournament was held at West-Port Lanes where proprietors Rose and Pam treated the Pro Series with utmost hospitality! This tournament was a five-string qualifier and required two shifts. As some readers may have realized, I’ve been adding a personal perspective to my Pro Series write-ups, and I’m going to just that.

I decided to bowl during the first shift because it gives me an opportunity to catch up with other bowlers that I haven’t seen over the last month since the prior tournament. The first shift was quite small, only 17 bowlers, and I happened to come in third for the first shift with a 576. I’m certainly not bragging because there were some pretty serious scores posted during this tournament especially considering how tough the house was (in my opinion). The reason I say that this place is tough is because the drops that people were getting after their first ball were extremely unpredictable. Pocket shots were not guaranteed to leave you with a nice spare leave. This, of course, could just sum up to the fact that this is a type of house that I’m simply not used to bowling at. I grew up at Malden Sq. Bowladrome. For those familiar with this house, you understand that it is moderately fast. Luckily, 576 was enough for me to make the cut! I placed twenty-fifth out of the top thirty-two bowlers.

Upon the conclusion of the second shift, I found out that I would be going against Nick Norcross. If you noticed Nick’s qualifying score of 634, you’ve also noticed that I had an uphill battle. I’ve known Nick for quite a while now, and he’s a great bowler so I felt a little bit of pressure. I started off fairly well, and for about three boxes or so, I had the lead. But do you remember what I said about this place being tough? This comes into place with the fills that I dropped on my spares. I remember having at least one 3-fill, which was a killer. Nick maintained his calm-natured approach and pinned very well. He picked up a couple more spares than I did to finish with a 120. My final score was a 106, and the fills on my spares made all the difference (in addition to the fact that I missed a single pin spare!).

From then on I was a spectator, and I got to watch some pretty diesel matches. I even got to keep score for Dean Sullivan and Steve Walker. I must say….Dean Sullivan is unstoppable! (Well, almost). I’ve never seen him bowl before and he charges hard. Not only were his qualifying scores high, but his elimination round scores were intimidating as well. He seemed to have run out of steam in the finals match while facing Jimbo Ayotte, who threw a sensational 155 string to crown himself the 2012 Candlepin Pro Series Singles Knockout Champion.

To wrap up, (and I said I was going to get personal here) what I’m most happy about with this tournament is that I qualified for my favorite format tournament. If you look back at Rich Limone’s Bowler Spotlight on me, I mentioned that the singles events are my favorite because you have to qualify on your own and march through the knockout/elimination rounds on your own. Though I didn’t make it much farther than the qualifying round, I came through and I can be proud about that.

With this, we look onward to the November Candlepin Pro Series Tournament which is a Doubles Knockout being held at Lucky Strike Lanes in Lynn, MA which is the home of the Barber family! Details of this tournament can be found on the Pro Series Website.

As always, remember to follow the Candlepin Pro Series Twitter account @candlepinseries. You can also follow my personal Candlepin Twitter account by following @CandlepinFrank!

 October 29th, 2012  
 Frank DeLuca  
 Pro Series  
 0 Comment

Pro Series Event #4 – Singles Knockout

One thing I’ve come to learn while bowling is consistency.  Up at West-Port Lanes in Westbrook, Maine this past weekend the Pro Series had it’s fourth event – third counting for points.  This time it was the singles knockout.  Everyone throws their five strings and the top thirty two faces off in the knockout.  In this event there are no byes, so it’s 1 vs. 32, 2 vs, 31 and so on.

The best part of my day as you can see on the right was Pam’s “Ball Scoopah”.  During the first string one of my balls came off the ball return and was off the alley.  Pam had to use the ball scoopah to grab it for me before the start of the second string.

So back to consistency.  In practice I was smooth as silk.  Pins were FLYING compared to the week earlier when I practiced with Frank and my darling, loving WIFE Anna (see, there it is, in black and white, I said my wife!).  The big thing with West-Port Lanes is that you have to take what it gives you.  You have to be consistent – which I clearly wasn’t.  I started out well throwing a 114 and a 111.

There were these people back in US History, they had these little carts pulled by horses to go out west toward California – yeah, that’s it, wagons!  Right!  My wagon could have had steel wheels soldered with titanium and they still would have fallen off with how I poorly bowled in the third and fourth.  I became in one word – erratic.  I started moving around, thinking I was too far back, I tried mixing speeds, or even changing the angle of my arm.  I should have stayed in the SAME spot, and kept the SAME angle, and maybe the same speed depending on the shot.  I was just a mess.  I finished 60th in the qualifying round with a 519, and that nets me five Pro Series points which is better than getting zero points all together.  I know what I did wrong, and I need to keep that in mind for future events.  If you’re in a place where your hitting the 2-pin or the 3-pin instead of the head pin, learn quickly how to crush it until you find that headpin.  The key is not doinking just the 2-pin or the 3-pin which I did – only once so not bad in 50 boxes.  It was a tough house and I loved it.  I had a lot of fun bowling, and it was great hanging out with those guys up there.

Now onto the cut.

I’m going to leave out scores and such.  I am sure that Everything Candlepin’s Pro Series writer Dave Barber will cover many of those scores for you.  You’ll also be able to find everything at the Pro Series site once it’s posted.

The knockout for this event is cool because of the scoring system.  Since it’s the one that projects and you write the scores, the bowlers in the knockout don’t score themselves.  So even though I was eliminated I was still part of it (sort of).  I managed to score two first round matches – the first being Craig Holbrook vs. Jeff Surette and the second being Jonathan Bourdreau vs. Steve Walker.  Two great matches out of the gate.  I can write it cause it’s true.  Jeff struggled most of the day, and his highlight, and mine for that matter was when I got him a beer after a particularly tough half and he said “I love you”.  I think he said I love you one  time more than my darling, loving wife Anna did while in the bowling alley on this day!  Back to the knockout.  Craig Holbrook caught the breaks, and carried the pins and bowled well.  I watched as Jeff doinked the 2-pin just as I did, and I think that summed up his day pretty well.  Any chance that he had to claw back West-Port lanes said “no”.  Such is life.

The second match was just as entertaining as the first.  Jonathan and Steve battled back and forth and the lead changed hand a few times as marks just kept happening on opposite boxes.  It was close until the very end of the match as Steve pulled out two quick spares, and managed to edge Jonathan moving onward to the round of sixteen.  Watching Craig, Jeff, Jon, and Steve bowl on those lanes I can’t imagine what it was like qualifying on those lanes – they just looked tough.

During the round of sixteen I watched Jay Shiner square off with Pro Series vet Chris Boisvert.  Chris is simply Chris.  It’s not the New England Patriots philosophy on defense of “bend don’t break” because Chris doesn’t bend – ever.  He’s one of the steadiest bowlers on tour and when it comes to the knockout rounds he’s even tougher.  That’s not to say his opponent didn’t have a shot.  Jay Shiner stepped in fresh off a 391 the night before at Central Park Lanes in East Boston – helping an upstart Candlewood squad take eight points off of Central I, a tough team in any building.  I’ve seen people throw perfect games before, but Jay threw TWO IN A ROW in the second and third string Friday night.  Not only that, but he also dispatched Scott Lapierre in the first round as well, certainly no joke in the Pro Series.  If there was a bowler that could come in and do something silly it could be Jay.  Unfortunately for both bowlers, West-Port once again said “no!” and the game was a battle of attrition as tens and nines were going to win this match, not marks since pins were left all over the deck no matter where they both hit.  Chris showed his veteran presence and capitalized when he could to advance to the next round.  Jay summed up the match by saying blankly “I lost the head pin and I don’t know where it went”.  Winning the first match is tough enough, carrying the momentum forward is no easy task.  We’ll get ‘em at the next event Jay when we’re at Lucky Strike.

I don’t want to detail everything, so will leave some of that to Frank De Luca and Dave Barber as they will also post about this event.  Since Windell Middlebrooks couldn’t make it Maine, Miller High Life hired a new delivery guy.  Here is Mike MacIntosh paying for the bar bill at the event directly to Miller High Life.

Can you see how full that envelope is?  I know that we can drink, and I was part of it, but did we drink that much?  Okay, so really we know that this isn’t the delivery guy, but Jimbo Ayotte, one of New Hampshire’s finest.  He was our eventual champion on the day defeating foe after foe in the early rounds and finishing off Dean Sullivan in the final.  There will be coverage of the finals coming up shortly.

Needless to say, Windell Middlebrooks is the Miller High Life delivery guy from the TV commercials.

Way to go Jimbo!

Thank you to West-Port Lanes for a fun filled day.  You made it extra special for us and we wouldn’t change it for the world.  Thanks again!  We hope to see you soon.

 October 23rd, 2012  
 Rich Limone  
 Pro Series  
 0 Comment

Westport Lanes – Westbrook, Me

This past Sunday morning Frank De Luca, Anna and I had the pleasure of taking the trip up to Westbrook, Maine to preview the alley for the Pro Series event.  The singles knockout tournament is going to take place this coming Saturday, October 20th.  The shift times are 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM.  The singles events are great.  Go in, throw your five strings, throw your game, qualify in the top 32 and let the fun begin.  I qualified for this even two years ago in Concord at Boutwell’s.  It should be fun.

Let me tell you this place is great.  It’s run by two firecracker women in Pam and Rose.  Rose is the owner’s mother in law.  She is quite the character and I wish she was at every Pro Series event or we had every event at West-port Lanes.  Needless to say, our first conversation started with her making fun of me.  I will leave the details out, but after I returned from the rest room her wisecrack was “still thinking of a comeback for that one?”.  Yeah, she might make fun us more than we make fun of ourselves.  It should be interesting to say the least.  To add to that, she said she said she was out of work for a period of time, and her son in law asked her to work a couple of days at the alley, and 26 years later she is still there.  She told me that she worked in with electrical equipment and services all the machines herself.  Included in that skill set must be the doorbells for reset buttons which is great.  We couldn’t decide if a strike should be called a “ding dong” or just “ring the bell”.  I’m sure we will hear both if people read this post before the tournament.

After making fun of me for being a “professional” bowler, she told us that this house was tough, and it wasn’t fast at all.  The bowling alley was built in 1966 and the new and current owners bought the place in 1967.  It has all the original equipment.  The most interesting thing has to be the pinsetters.  If you think Lanes N’ Games in interesting you need to watch these reset.  The rack comes down into place, and then the pins slide in from the top into each corresponding hole making what appears to be a perfect rack every time.  There is a MASSIVE delay in waiting for the pinsetters to come back up, but when it does, the pins are never wobbling at all.  You fast bowlers better learn some patience on Saturday.  The pinsetters are LOUD too.  It’s going to be a fun day that’s for sure.  I managed to make some pins come out from the deck so Frank grabbed the pin and snapped a photo of the pinsetters as best he could.  Thanks Frank!

On the right we can see the pinsetters.  It’s so interesting to see them in action.  I have a second photo which shows a slightly better angle of the chutes that feed the tubes albeit a little blurrier.  We did the best we could on this day.  It was a great day overall and it wouldn’t be natural if I wasn’t a smartass back toward Rose and Pam, so I had to ask the question.  Why are you called West-Port Lanes in Westbrook, that’s just confusing.  It turns out the bowling alley is called West-Port Lanes because it’s on the Westbrook-Portland line.  They were both awesome and it’s kind of sad this place is so far away.  If it were closer, I bet it would be a packed house.

Onto the bowling.  Before we started Rose asked what lanes we wanted.  I said put us on lane eight, whatever, it didn’t matter really. She responded by saying that it was the toughest lane in the house, and their top average was 111.  So we were a little hesitant stepping up to the lanes.  You could tell the pins were heavy.  I would compare it to a combination somewhere between Wakefield and Central Lanes two of the toughest houses around.  I don’t want to scare anyone but Frank completely annihilated the place, 130-110-135 for a 375 on the morning.  I struggled in the first string, but bowled well overall.  Here it is, in writing, Anna beat me 99-91 the first string.  I bounced back mightily in the second string once I figured the lane out.  I finished with five in a row to throw a 128, and the five marks included picking up the 4-7-10.  After I filled my 4th and final spare with a “ding dong”, the light above the lane came on and we had to move to lane 6.  I didn’t make the adjustment and bowled poorly the third string finishing with a 101, for a 320 which is kind of blah.  This is truly and honest house.  Nine and ten boxes are going to help you make the cut since we are going to see our share of six and sevens I’m sure, even from the best bowlers.

West-port features ice cold beer, so I know a handful of bowlers that are going to be happy even if the lanes aren’t forgiving to them.  They have food there too, in case you need a pick me up.  Not that I want to take anyone away from the lanes during the event but there are a McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC/Taco Bell all within walking distance of the alley if you’re looking for something different.  It should be a great competitive event.  If you’re on the fence, you should come down.  You never know what’s going to happen once you start bowling.  Who knows, you may own the place!

Here is the other photo of the pinsetters.  You can see the chutes slightly better.  I truly believe this setup is amazingly unique in the way it sets the pins down for a new rack.  Why more alleys don’t do it this way is beyond me.  There’s never a problem and pins never tip over.  We did have an occasional 2-pin or 3-pin jump the chute and end up in the gutter but that’s better than having a pin missing all together.  It was just different.

Thanks again to Rose and Pam for their time, hospitality, charm, and wit.  I will have a comeback for Rose when I get there on Saturday!

 October 16th, 2012  
 Rich Limone  
 Bowling Alleys, Pro Series  

Pro Series Event #3 – Kids/Pros Doubles

I want to apologize in advance for the lack of posts recently.  I had been planning my father’s surprise 70th birthday and that was taking up much of time.  If you know my story you may understand why the party was more important than most 70th birthday parties.

Frank did a great job recapping the event, and I’m going to give you my take on it.  I love this event.  It’s so much fun getting to meet the up and coming kids that are keeping the game alive.  Without the kids in the game it would surely die, and I thank them for their interest.  I have to thank Robbie Taylor and all the folks at Candlepin For Kids.  Without their hard work this tournament wouldn’t have happened AND the finals wouldn’t have been on NESN either.  I promise I won’t spoil it for you on here.

I started my qualifying on lane 13 with Random Draw Doubles champ Evan Mazzaferro.  The kids we were bowling with were Jason Gauthier Jr. and Alex Bilonas.  I want to go out and say one thing.  Both kids are troopers and battlers out there on the lanes.  I heard Alex’s dad at one point say to him, these guys are pros listen to what they have to say.  I will admit I wasn’t surprised to hear his dad say that to him, but at the same time,  I was surprised to hear that while I was on the lane.  Me? A Pro?  I guess.  Needless to say, I want to apologize.  Alex did in fact struggle the first string and his dad was giving him suggestions.  I didn’t want to overstep my bounds and I watched as Alex completely turned his game around and started throwing a crusher ball in the second game.  He bowled great and the suggestions his dad made obviously worked as he threw a great 91 string.  Alex got cheated on a couple of spares and it easily could have been a 1-teens game for him!  Should I have said anything?  Maybe.  I still think I did the right thing since Alex was already getting suggestions.  Sometimes too many suggestions are worse than none at all.

We love being a part of the action, and we are there to offer suggestions and tips, but at the same time, we all bowl differently.  It’s difficult sometimes for our observations to work for the bowler we are watching since we may throw completely different.  I know that in the next event last year, if I see something I am going to be more vocal and throw out a suggestion if I see something.  I think I did the right thing on this day as Alex improved mightily and I’m proud of how he battled.  Also, one thing to add, I wasn’t bowling what I would call great so I thought maybe I shouldn’t have said anything.  Needless to say, I learned just as much as the kids did on this day.

Jason Gauthier bowled amazing on the day.  Very consistent.  His third string he had a half for the ages as he threw – if memory serves – five marks and sat down at 70+ and a ball.  He cruised into the knockout round on his third string and it it was a pleasure to bowl with him.  It was also nice to meet his father for the first time as I have seen his name on the messages boards and around the candlepin community.  I did teach Jason one thing though.  When he finished his first half of the third game, I told him, now you turn and point at dad and say “Where were you the first two strings!“.  Jason Sr. got a chuckle out of it, but he did tell me that Jr. doesn’t always like when he watches so this was  first.  Jason was steady throughout the day, and he finished strong heading into the knockout round.

Evan and I bowled fairly well.  I was under the distinct impression I wasn’t doing all that well, when I went 115, 119 the first two.  I heard from one of the bowlers next to us that 24th place was 230.  So I was in what I thought was decent shape.  I struggled out of the gate in the third string, but sat on a spare.  I ended up going crazy marking five in a row and got tortured in the 10th box for what should have been a sixth mark in a row!  I finished with a 138 and 372 on the day in qualifying which was good enough for 7th place!  Not only did I make the cut, I managed a bye!  I didn’t have to bowl in the first round!

Now the fun part, the top eight kids are paired with the top eight pros.  I ended up getting paired with Alex Haesaert.  His dad Tim was bowling on my right, and man can he throw.  He should strongly consider joining the Pro Series.  He was putting up explosion after explosion.   The pins always seemed to be flying on his lane when he was up there.  Alex bowled great in qualifying, and I thought we had a shot to make some real noise.  The kids can really make a difference in this tournament and I thought I was paired with a difference maker.

We sat and waited for the first round matches to complete.  I will admit I was nervous.  I had bowled well in qualifying, but I was concerned sitting was going to be a detriment to my game.  After the first round game was over, we warmed up again, and started the second round match – round of 16.  I set a goal in this one, that if I make the cut I just want to win at least one match.  I feel badly if we are eliminated in the first round we bowl.  From Frank’s post you know we faced off against him and little Nate Fontaine.  Nate is a warrior through and through.  He finished tied for 24th and had to bowl a one string roll off just to get to the knockout round.  He bowled great getting a hammer in the final box to then be paired with Frank.  Nate and Frank had won their first round match and we started up.

Alex alleviated my concerns as he went right out of the gate and gave us an early lead. And then I stepped up, and this is why bowling is fun, and torture rolled into one.  First three boxes, nine-drop, eight drop, hammer.  Total before the bonus ball – 30. Super.  I had a vertical piece of wood just to the left of the 5-pin in my first box.  Since I am a righty I figured the way I throw I should be fine as long as I didn’t nick the cap, well, you know what happened, I hit the cap, and then got the ten.  Box right after that, dreadful.  Crusher ball, eight drop, and I left the 3-10 with a piece of wood angled against the 3-pin all I had to do was hit it.  Yeah, you know how that turned out.  I had a decent fill on the strike and if memory serves, I sat on a mark.  We did well to keep the lead and we were able to close out Frank and Nate and move on to the next round.  I asked Nate an all important question – should I kick Frank off my Friday night team because he let him down.  Nate silently shook his head “no” so Frank was safe…

Next match we faced off against Jeff Surette and Ryan (sorry I didn’t get his last name!).  Ryan and Alex were in a fierce battle and it was great to watch.  I had to square off with the game’s best and as usual Jeff didn’t disappoint.  As I mentioned earlier “difference maker”.  Thank God for Alex.  He managed to give us an eight pin lead going into the final five boxes.  I tried to keep up, and Jeff simply was Jeff, and threw four nine-drop spares in a row, and finished with a 151 and we bowed out in the quarterfinals.  Jeff bowled great, and showed the kids what a Pro bowler is and what a Pro bowler can do.  He was simply on for the those four boxes and as sad as it was, it was fun to watch.  The consistency is simply disgusting.  I got the best of him last Friday night, but that’s a different story for another time. I love shameless plugs!

You’ll be able to see the semi-finals on Candlepins for Kids, and the finals will be aired on NESN on December 1st, at 11:30 AM!

Thanks to Leda Lanes, Candlepins For Kids, and the Pro Series for running a great event.

 October 16th, 2012  
 Rich Limone  
 Candlepin For Kids, Pro Series  
 0 Comment

Candlepin Pro Series Season 4, Event #3 – Kids/Pros Doubles

As the Candlepin Bowling season continues, I’m amazed by the increasing attendance and participation that I am seeing at the events. This event, The Kids/Pros Doubles was no different. I can’t remember seeing a bowling alley so packed. Leda Lanes in Nashua, NH was the venue for the Season 4 kids/pros doubles, and it was filled to the brim with Pro bowlers, Kids, and parents!  A brief synopsis of the tournament format is that there is a 3 string qualifying round in which 2 Pros are paired up with 2 kids on a lane. Three strings are rolled, and the top 24 Pros and top 24 kids advance to a knockout round. Furthermore, the top 8 Pros are paired with the top 8 Kids and receive a first-round bye.

I did not have a “personal best” day by any means. I opened with a painful 87 on lane 16. An 87? Where did that come from? Sound familiar? You’ll see in my article recapping last month’s Pro Series event, I opened up with an 86. Ugly. Perhaps I have the jitters during my first string. Who knows? I’m willing to bet there were plenty of kids at the event who bowled better than an 87. Anyway, much like last month, I came back strong with a 152 on lane 17 and finished with a 107 on lane 18. This was 346, just enough to make the top 24 bowlers. Needless to say, I didn’t make the top 8, so my name entered the random draw. This was the exciting part, waiting to see what kid I would be paired up with. It was quite suspenseful because before my name was called, all other pros had been drawn! I was last to be called, and I was paired up with none other than little Nate Fontaine, 10 years old.

If you don’t know who Nate Fontaine is by now, you’d better get familiar with him. He is featured in the latest Candlepin For Kids Commercial, and he is a PHENOMENAL little bowler. Nate has a very graceful approach and incredible accuracy. He seems to be a natural Candlepin bowler. Could this be because his grandfather is none other than the legendary Tom Olzsta?!?! For those who know me well, you know that Tom Olzsta was my childhood idol. I was honored to be bowling with a member of the Olzsta family.

Nate and I were up for our first knockout match. We were facing Jason Gauthier and his kid match-up (I apologize, I’m not recalling his kid’s name at this time). They bowled very well against us, and it came down to the last few boxes. Nate threw a sensational 90 game, and I threw a 98. We edged out our opponents by a mere 5 pins. It was enough to move on. Next up, we were facing a team from the top 8, Rich Limone (hey, that name sounds familiar, huh?) and Alex Haesaert vs. Frank DeLuca and Nate Fontaine. This match took place on lanes 1 & 2. Rich and Alex had monster strings which put the pressure on me and little Nate. Did I say little Nate? Perhaps that isn’t appropriate considering that he threw an awesome 104 string! Now, for the embarrassing part. I’m not even going to try and cover it up….I duplicated my 87 string. How did this happen? Ugh! I felt so frustrated! But even more so, I felt like I let Nate down. Regardless, this event was some of the most fun I have ever had while bowling and Nate should be very proud of himself. He’s got a very bright future ahead of him and he beat me by 17 pins!

Of course, we can’t forget the most exciting aspect of this day. Due to the dedication and the extremely hard work of Robbie Taylor, Dan Gauthier,  and the Candlepin For Kids crew. The finals match of this tournament was filmed for NESN! This means that Candlepin bowling will be back on television! That’s right, on Saturday December 1, 2012 @ 11:30 AM, the final match (we will not discuss the results) will be aired on NESN. Be sure to tune in and tell all of your friends! This is the best effort in several years to get Candlepin back on television, and I think many would agree that its been long overdue. Its looking good, and I must say that the final match of the day was incredibly exciting. Mark your calendars!

As always, remember to follow the Candlepin Pro Series Twitter account @candlepinseries. You can also follow my personal Candlepin Twitter account by following @CandlepinFrank!

 October 9th, 2012  
 Frank DeLuca  
 Candlepin For Kids, Pro Series  
 0 Comment

Bowler Spotlight – Nine Pin Drop Survivor

What’s your favorite Pro Series alley and why?
Oh, God, without a doubt Bogey Lanes.  That’s my home, and it was great because I was part of the Teams Tournament in 2010-2011.

What’s your favorite Pro Series format and why?
Definitely the Ultimate ladder.  Why, because it’s only three strings long! I get a lot less punishment from the Pro Series in a three string tournament.  I was lucky this year because it was at Viking.

Most memorable Pro Series moment?
Being the last pin between Craig Holbrook, and winning the Pro Series playoffs in 2010-2011.  Unfortunately, he hit me, and like Mike Tyson hitting Michael Spinks, I went down!  At least it took more than 90 seconds!

Best match you’ve been involved in outside the Pro Series?
Hmm, too many to remember.  I would have to say, I think the best match I was involved in happened at Metro Bowl in Peabody.  I had the “luxury” of being the only, and LAST pin standing on Mark Ricci’s world record setting night.  I could have been victim 520, but I prevailed! It must have been the two pounds I lost earlier in the week.  I thought I looked thinner.  It’s the most scared I’ve ever been at work.  Thank God he missed, I can give this interview now!

Where do you think is the safest place on the deck?
Definitely the “10” spot.  Since there are so many right handed bowlers, that tends to be the best place to hide.  It’s sad to see some of my fellows in the gutter get abused a second time instead of hitting me directly.  I try to take one for the team every now and then, but sometimes, they just want to hit my friends again.

Scariest bowler?
If I had to choose I would pick Shawn Baker.  When he hits our leader, sometimes all ten of us go down at once.  We don’t even have the luxury of rolling, or hitting the ground, we just go right into the pit!  Maybe if he missed our leader more, we”d all be a little safer!

See you Sunday up at Leda Lanes!

 October 4th, 2012  
 Rich Limone  
 Bowler Spotlight, Candlepin For Kids, Pro Series  
 0 Comment

Random Draw Doubles Recap

Well, what can I say? There was an awesome turnout this past weekend at Lakeside Lanes in Manchester, NH for the Candlepin Pro Series Random Draw Doubles Event on Saturday September 15. This was the second event of the year for the Pro Series 2012-2013 season and if you take a look at many of our Bowler Spotlights, you’ll see that this has grown to be a pretty popular event among members and even non-members of the Candlepin Pro Series. This will be a personal recap of my outing at the Random Draw Doubles. I decided to bowl the early shift, as I do with most of my Pro Series outings, so the action got started at 1 PM and I was on Lane 8. Bowling with me were Glenn Ares and Gabe Swindell.

Things started off very, very, very poorly. For the life of me, I simply could not put a mark on the board. I started off with an 86 string…..I was dead last after the first string. Needless to say, this would frustrate any bowler, so I decided to put on my shoe protectors and take a walk outside while the other two bowlers on my lane proceeded. I came to realize that if I continued to be upset about this, my scores wouldn’t get any better. Thus, I cleared my head and stepped up to bowl the second string. A small adjustment in my approach (moving slightly further to the left before I started) made all the difference. I began stringing marks together and even threw a couple of strikes. I came back strong with a 145 string. I kept this adjustment in tact and my subsequent scores were 120, 109, and 115. I totaled at 575, and this was enough to earn the 57th spot…..I qualified!

Obviously, this isn’t a fantastic total score. But what you should remember is that when it comes to the Random Draw Doubles, coming in 64th place is just as good as coming in 1st place. My story can prove this to you, and here’s why. During the drawing of the names, my name was drawn by Steve Spingola, co-champion of the 2011-2012 Random Draw Doubles event. I then drew my partner, Shawn Baker….yes Shawn Baker. How many times have you seen him on Candlepin Stars and Strikes? I’ve lost count. He draws our 1st opponent, Dave Godwin, followed by our 2nd opponent, Mark Gregory. For those of you familiar with the Candlepin scene, you know that these two guys are seriously well respected heavy hitters….we were in for quite a match.

On to our match…. I can’t quite describe how I felt, but I can tell you that I was pretty nervous considering that this was the first time that I’ve qualified for a Pro Series event. Baker sensed this, and he assured me that “all that matters is getting up there and having fun”. You’d expect to hear this from Shawn Baker, an accomplished bowler with numerous TV appearances, but this didn’t keep my heart from pounding or my palms from sweating…I was NERVOUS, and it got the best of me. I threw an underwhelming 96 string while Dave Godwin buried me with a 140 string. Nice bowling Dave, you only crushed me by 44 pins!

I felt like I blew it and that I had let my teammate down. Baker wasn’t shaken by this at all, even with a powerhouse like Mark Gregory to keep up with. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen anything quite like this. Baker kept posting mark after mark. Strikes, spares, 9-fills, you name it….he was on FIRE. Gregory held the pressure on pretty tight with his second-half marks, but Shawn was in the zone. A respectable 136 is what Gregory ended up with for a Godwin/Gregory team total of 276. Shawn Baker brought the heat and he threw six consecutive marks to finish with a 183 string!! Our team total was 279, winning the string by 3 pins. Can you say clutch!?!? He couldn’t have thrown this string at a better time! This is Pro Series caliber bowling….

I take no credit for winning that knockout match, it was all Shawn, but it certainly did break the ice for me. My nerves calmed down a bit and I found my groove again, but it wasn’t enough. We were up against Brandon Marks and Kevin Davis who posted fine scores of 160 and 127, respectively. Brandon put it away with a triple strike. Their 287 total was enough to top out our 257 (Frank/125 and Shawn/132), and we had officially been knocked out. The subsequent knockout matches were quite exciting, and it came down to Brian Purdy/Evan Mazzaferro v. Jeff Slesinski/Jesse Jacques. The 2012-2013 Candlepin Pro Series winners were Brian Purdy and Evan Mazzaferro with a score of 225 to 214.

Overall, for me, this was a PHENOMENAL experience…thanks to Shawn Baker. He’s one of those guys that I used to watch on the weekends with my dad and I ended up bowling with him as a teammate in a Pro Series event. Unreal…..

This is a testament of why everyone should get out there and bowl Candlepin. For up to the minute results and score during Pro Series events, follow @candlepinseries on Twitter (Click the button below!). Otherwise, you should come watch the events live!!! Next event takes place Sunday October 7, 2012 @ Leda Lanes in Nashua, NH for the Pros/Kids Doubles Event which is being filmed for airing on NESN!!

 September 20th, 2012  
 Frank DeLuca  
 Pro Series  

Random Draw Doubles – Tournament Results

What an incredible day last Saturday at Lakeside Lanes in Manchester, NH! Chris Sacchetti led all qualifiers with 704 that included a 99 opening string and a 177 finish; Shawn Baker had nearly 100 for his last 5 boxes of his first round match to defeat one of the favorites of the tournament in Dave Godwin and Mark Gregory; Brian Feist and Steve Lach had a great match against Mark Ricci and Keith Beaupre that saw two double strikes and a triple strike, and a spare in the last box by Ricci to win the match; topping it all off was a finals match won by Evan Mazzaferro and Brian Purdy against Jeff Slesinski and Jesse Jacques, in which Evan, Jeff and Jesse had never made an appearance in the finals before!

A total of 92 bowlers showed up and competed for the top 64 spots, and after the final qualifying round, there was a tie for the 64th spot between Dave Mallahan (formally Hodge) and Glen Ares.  Amazingly, Glen had made a comment during the fourth string of the last qualifying round (he bowled in the first shift), that statistically speaking, he was the cut. It turns out he was right, but Mallahan got the best of him in the one string roll-off (which almost never took place as we had to track Dave down in the parking lot and tell him he couldn’t leave yet) and advanced to the Random Draw Knockout.

With all the doubles paired up and the matches underway, Brian and Evan hit the ground running with a convincing victory over 4 time Pro Series Champion Scott Lapierre, who had a 207 in the final match of the Ultimate Ladder last year in Fitchburg, and Chris Sacchetti, who was the Pro Series Playoff Runner-Up and back to back top qualifier to start this season with 392 at Viking and 704 at Lakeside. Brian led the team with a 143 as Evan added a 130 to defeat them 273-236.

Brian again led the way in the second string with a 149 as Evan hit a respectable 116, and their 265 total was good enough to hold off the pairing of Mark Strangio and John Starner who had 140 and 118 respectively.

Their third match came at the right time as they only totaled 231, but were able to catch Jonathan Boudreau (113) and Chris Boisvert (102) on a down string and advance to the semi-finals. It was in the semis that Brian carried the load, bowling a 160 string and leading them to a 266-249 victory over Keith Beaupre and Mark Ricci. Keith bowled a 116 and Mark bowled a 133.

The final match wasn’t very high scoring, but it was high enough for Evan and Brian and that’s all that counts. Evan bowled a 114 and Brian had a 111 for a 225 total, which bested Jeff Slesinski and Jesse Jacques total of 214. Congratulations to the winners of the third Random Draw Doubles Tournament, Evan Mazzaferro and Brian Purdy.

Be sure to check www.candlepinproseries.com for complete results and point standings from Saturday’s tournament.

 September 19th, 2012  
 Dave Barber  
 Pro Series  
 1 Comment

Pro Series Event #2 – Random Draw Doubles

Pro Series Event #2 – Random Draw Doubles

September 15th, 2012 – Lakeside Lanes – Manchester, Nh.

God, I love Lakeside.  I love being up there. I love the atmosphere.  I love the action.  What more could you want from a bowling alley?  Maybe having 90+ bowlers storm the place for a Pro Series event.  To add to that, it’s the random draw doubles!

The random draw doubles is  great tournament.  Everyone bowls five strings.  The top 64 qualifiers are then thrown into a pile.  Then a name is drawn.  That person then picks their partner.  Their partner select their first opponent and the opponent then selects his partner.  After all the selections are made, there is a 32 team knockout.  It’s a tough tournament having about five boxes to create chemistry with someone you may have never bowled with.

I started out as the lead bowler on lane 4, and I had a great, great group of bowlers near me.  I bowled with legend Bob Caliri – I mean he has a shot named for him.  How cool is that?  I also bowled with up and coming Billy Bloom a HUGE advocate and coach for the Candlepins for Kids.  Lane three had another CP4K leader in Robbie Taylor,  Jesse Jaques bowling second and Ryan “I don’t throw strikes” Lehr bowing third.

I hate being the lead bowler, and I hate being on the right for the first string too.  Such as life in these tournaments.  I know Lakeside I should do great right?  Well, first string was a total struggle.  I will say this much, I thought the approaches were STELLAR compared to my practice post a week earlier.  It must be a busy place as it wasn’t nearly as slippery as I thought it was going to be which gave me some great confidence starting the day.  I know that I was fighting it a little in the first string, I think I was try too hard to just be perfect, and I didn’t need to be.  I limped home at 108 for the first string, but luckily the misery ends there.

Second string I figured the place out for that day’s conditions and I bowled great – getting the marks that I needed to and capitalizing on breaks that I got.  When I moved one lane to my right, I managed to bowl against my Lakeside nemesis, Jimbo Ayotte.  We were able to feed off each other, and in that second string I managed to match him when he threw a strike.  Even Jimbo will admit mine were crushers compared to him, and again, he brings out the best in me in that building.  I finished with a 139 and took some real pressure of my first string.

The rest of the day was mostly smooth sailing.  Third string I followed with a 119, just on the outside of the top ten in the 1 PM shift at 366.  My last two strings shot me into the top ten for that shift closing out my day with a 126 and a 124 for a 616 series.   Maybe doing the early shift was the trick for me.  Things just worked for me that day, and I am thankful for it.

The later shift passed uneventfully however this exchange took place between fellow EC author Frank De Luca, bowler Chris Sacchetti, and me toward the end of the shift.

Frank: Chris said he’s not giving you an interview because you didn’t ask him first.
Rich: Really,  I didn’t see him over the summer before the first event.
Frank: Whatever he said he’s not going to do it.
Rich: I’ll talk to him.

Rich: You really won’t give me an interview?
Chris: No way.  You took too long to ask me.  Just for that I’m going to give you stupid answers.
Rich: Wow, okay, then forget it.  I don’t want to interview you .  I’ll talk to someone else.
Chris: I’m just busting them on you.  I’ll do it for you, I’m still going to give stupid answers though.

At this point Chris started off his second half of the fifth string with an insta-smash hammer.  Nick “Mr 210″ Norcross walked over to us – and said to Frank and I quote – “Chris is going to throw a double – now!”  Promptly Chris dropped another bomb and Frank’s reaction was priceless as he asked me about Nick.  I didn’t hear him since Frank was standing in between us.  Needless to say, it was the perfect timing.  Frank just kept saying “Did you hear him say that Chris was going to throw a double?  Come on you must have heard him!”

I screamed to Chris “If you want that interview, you have to throw a triple!”  Yeah, I probably SHOULDN’T have said that, another crusher and he tripled.  I followed that up with, well, now you need a four-bagger!  Chris didn’t get the four-bagger, so he didn’t get his interview, but he will, I’m sure.  I can’t wait – and since he’s a ham he can’t wait either.

The three-bagger did propel Chris into first overall with a 704.  I think that’s two events in a row that he qualified first overall.  Good job!

The qualifying round over, I waited patiently for the random draw portion.  I qualified 21st overall which was my 2nd best finish at a Pro Series event (in 2010 at the last tournament at Fairway Lanes in Natick  I finished 9th individually with a 639).  I hear more and more names being called, and I realize that the first 32 bowlers have been selected and that I was in the next batch.

As time passed, I heard the name Joe Rocheleau.  Joe then selected Pro Series king Craig Holbrook.  Craig’s turn to select and opponent. “Rich Limone”.  Wow, okay.  I walked up to the counter and said “I’m signing someone’s death warrant with this selection!”  I heard some various chuckles, and then I picked my partner – Bob Whitcomb!  The immediate reaction near the table from Mark Ricci was awesome – “You might to rethink that death warrant with that pick!”

I think the thing that makes it MORE amazing is that fact I was talking to Richie Myrick earlier in the tournament.  I told him about how at the Fairway tournament I was bowling next to Bobby Whit, and he said he would gladly bowl a tournament with me in the future.  I thought I hit the lottery!  I couldn’t believe it!  Well, I picked him on this day, I thought it was fate after talking about it an hour earlier.

Needless to say, fate wasn’t on our side.  We missed shots, we didn’t capitalize on our breaks, and they outbowled us completely.  It was great to get paired with a hall of famer against his doubles partner and hall of famer, but I feel like I let myself down with how well I bowled earlier in the day.  The one good about our match is we were bowling next to Frank De Luca and Shawn Baker.  They were in a BATTLE with Dave Godwin and Mark Gregory.  Baker had a string for the ages – but I will let Frank tell you about it.

Overall it was a great day and congratulations to Evan Mazzaferro and Brian Purdy!

Thanks to Tim, and Ali, and Shane, and yeah, I guess Bob too from Lakeside lanes!

A full tournament recap will be following soon!

UPDATE: I just got this an email from Dan Gauthier – Former Candlepin for Kids contestants were 8-0 at making the cut. Current hosts (me and Rob [Taylor]) were 0-2.  Hmm, are all the students better than the masters?

 September 17th, 2012  
 Rich Limone  
 Candlepin For Kids, Pro Series  
 0 Comment

Lakeside Lanes – Manchester, NH.

This must have been the busiest weekend in the world for bowlers.  Besides the NFL kicking off today, who was working, who was golfing, who couldn’t make it – I ended up making my way up to Lakeside Lanes to throw practice, preview the lane, and hopefully chat with the owner Tim Lipke for a bit.  You’re getting a solo opinion, and that’s not a complaint just stating a fact.

Let me start out by saying, comparatively speaking, these lanes were slippery.  I honestly thought they were worse than Viking – until I got used to it.  Make sure you bring more than one set of pads.  I found out that the lanes and approaches were just refinished last week, so I am sure that in itself had a lot to do with it.  Two boxes in, and it was like old hat.  It’s not bad per se, but it was worse than I was used to there considering I’ve bowled nearly fifteen tournaments there.

The action at Lakeside is great and can borderline on absurd if you’re hitting them.  It’s totally geared toward the left side of the pocket, and that’s one of the unique things about it.  My headpin hits left were crushers compared to being what seemed randomly thin on the right.  I think part of it was that my ball was slightly flat at times on the right side.

I love bowling at Lakeside, I’ve put up some numbers there. I think my favorite moment so far was last year’s Thanksgiving Eve tournament – second shift.  I managed to get a spare in the tenth, and I loaded it up with a hammer, and I stole high single money from Lakeside’s version of “Babe Ruth” – Jimbo Ayotte.  As they say, Lakeside is the house that Ayotte built.  He had some choice words for me, but I can’t post them here.

I think my other fondest memory is three years ago at the best 5-of-7 tournament.  I had to bowl the first shift on Saturday.  I left leading the event.  I called the next night.  I believe I spoke to Bob – though I know he’d want to take credit for crushing me.  “Do you want the good news, or the bad news?”  I said, give me the good news.  “The good news is, you came in second place.  The bad news you lost by a pin.”  It turns out the person that beat me had to throw a 188 with his handicap.  Tim’s tournaments are usually handicapped to 130.  So even if the bowler had a 100 average flat, he still needed a 158 to beat me.  I didn’t throw any 150’s so good for him.

I’ve managed to come in second place twice in that tournament, so it’s been a great house for me.  I know after saying all this if I make the cut, get paired with someone, and do poorly come Saturday, I’m going to get ridiculed.  Such as life for being an author that bowls too.

Another great aspect of Lakeside is that the fact it’s not automatic scoring.  We have to input the scores ourselves.  It makes things so much easier on us on them.

I’ve always been a fan of scoring like this.  Quick, easy, makes moving from one lane to another snap.  Automatic scoring is so bad in candlepin bowling, but that’s a different story for another time.

After I finished bowling, I managed to get some history of the place from Tim Lipke.  It was built in November of 1959.  Tim started working there some time in 1996, and he bought the place for himself on September 1st, 1999.  In 2002, he brought in the Compuscore system you see there today.

After a brief chat about history, we went on to talk about the state of the game.  As far as Lakeside goes, they are fairly steady.  They have about 20 leagues or so on a week to week basis.   Tim said “If centers don’t upgrade they will fail to attract to people.  What I mean by that is, you need to keep the lanes in good condition, you need to offer beer and wine.  It’s not a huge seller, but it’s nice that they know that it’s there for them.”  I went on to say that if you didn’t people would be in the parking lot pre-gaming before coming in.  Tim made me chuckle as he raised his hand said he was his leagues biggest offender!

He also said “It’s hard to get new faces in here because kids have so much to do these days. When I was a kid, there was bowling, indoor basketball, maybe a few other indoor sports.  Bowling held it’s own with those other options.  And let’s not even talk about video games.”

The last thing he added was the amazing work the Pro Series has done revitalizing the game.  Hopefully this leads to bigger and better things.  Next weekend should be a lot of fun.  Tim added that the cut should be about 575-580.  Something to shoot for everyone!  Thanks Tim for everything!

 September 9th, 2012  
 Rich Limone  
 Bowling Alleys, Pro Series  
 0 Comment

Pro Series Event #1 – Ultimate Ladder

Pro Series Event #1 – Ultimate Ladder

August 26th, 2012 – Viking Recreation – East Bridgewater, Ma.

As  I said earlier, I apologize for the lateness of this post, as well as the lateness of the creation of this site.  Moving forward I hope this site can be the heartbeat of the candlepin bowling world in New England and maybe for our friends up in eastern Canada.  The first Pro Series event stopped over in East Bridgewater, Massachuetts for the Ultimate Ladder event to open the season.

What is the Ultimate Ladder you ask?  This tournament is a fan favorite.  Bowlers bowl three strings to determine seeding for the knock out rounds.  The top twenty five bowlers make the cut in this fast paced tournament.  At this point there is a random draw for each ladder – five ladders with five bowlers each.  Bowlers finishing one through five in the qualifier are determined to be one seeds, the bowlers that qualified six through ten are determined to be two seeds, etc.  A random draw starts as the a five seed is pulled, he pulls a four seed, and so on.  After that, another five seed is pulled until there are five ladders.  After the selection process, the five seed faces the four seed.  The winner of that faces the three seed, and so on.  Once each ladder has a winner – a new ladder is created – the ultimate ladder!  Those seeds are created based on total pinfall in the final match of each of the original five ladders.  The same format is used until a champion is crowned.

Let me start off by saying that the bowling community is amazing and is only getting better.  The Pro Series is making candlepin bowling more relevant that it has in the past ten years, and the Candlepins for Kids is doing a great job getting those young bowlers ready for the big stage.  Covering these events is not easy.  For the most part we are all mostly friends here.  Bowling in the event can make it even more difficult since I can’t tell you how someone did two lanes over from me since I was busy for part of the tournament.  In the future there will be a better write up, more pictures – since I didn’t get any at all.  I will admit the day of the event this blog itself was up in the air, and might not have happened at all.  It’s here now, it’s going to grow, and it’s here to stay.  I managed to cover two complete matches – the final of the fifth ladder – (1) Dave Barber vs. (3) Jeff Surette and I was able to watch the first round of the ultimate ladder (4) Jim Ayotte vs. (5) Chris Sacchetti. Being the community that it is, I started moving around and I wasn’t able to comment on every match.

I had a great day albeit my score didn’t reflect it.  I was really happy with how I bowled, and I bowled with two great competitors – Steve Renaud Jr and Mark Ricci.  You’d think with how the first half of Steve’s strings went, he would have softened the pins up for me, but to no avail.  I absolutely crushed the headpin, and on this day I was a split machine.  I could only smile and laugh as I hit the head pin over and over and had nothing to show for it.  Mark summed up the alley uniquely – he said “This house is awesome – except that for one in five bowlers it will do absolutely nothing no matter how you throw the ball.”  Things didn’t go my way, but I had a great time bowling with these two competitors and watching the ultimate ladder when I could.

The way the alley was, it turned out that the fifth ladder was on the other side of the support poles so it was kind of set off on it’s own.  It turns out I was Dave Barber and Jeff Surette’s lone fan until their wives came over to watch them.  Dave chose to bowl second being the higher seed.  Right out of the gate in the second box on lane 9 Jeff converted the 3-6-10 for a spare, sitting at 19.  Dave responded by picking up the left side diamond on lane 10 and after a six fill jumped out to an early lead with Surette still sitting on his spare.  Jeff loaded up his spare with 7 and converted a pair of tens to finish up with 46 after four boxes.  This is where the match started to change however.  Barber managed to pick up not one but two ridiculous spares during his trip.  He managed to convert the 7-8 with a piece of wood angled away from the two pins, and followed that by converting the 3-6-7-9-10!  After four boxes Barber led 51-46 and still had his fill in the fourth.

Jeff converted another great spare, nailing the 3-7-10 and added another 7 fill and finished with a 10 box – 73 total.  Dave then started building moment by throwing a strike on lane 10 to widen his lead.  He filled with 9 more and finished with a ten box to be leading 90-73 after six.  In the end things worked out great for Barber as he converted two spares in the ninth and tenth against Surette’s in the ninth, to pull a hard fought 143-117 win in the fifth ladder.  The 143 string was also the highest qualifying score placing Dave as the one seed in the Ultimate ladder.

After the finals of the individual ladders were over I was able to watch the first round of the ultimate ladder match between Jim Ayotte and Chris Sacchetti.  Yet another Pro Series match that went down until the end.  Luckily for Chris it came down to his ability to covert at least one mark every trip up to the lanes.  He has spares in the first, seventh, and tenth, and he had strikes in the third, fifth, and eighth.

As aside to this, this was Jim’s eighth string to Chris’s fifth.  Jim was the fifth seed in his ladder, and won all four of his matches to get into the finals.  Fatigue may have been setting in.  Chris jumped out quickly after four with a spare in the first, and his strike in the third.  Jim hung tough with a spare in the fourth, but before his fill he was trailing Chris by 16 54-38 though he still had a fill in the fourth.

Jim loaded up his spare in the fourth with 7 and then converted another spare in the sixth and sat down with 64.  Chris dropped another explosion on the lane filled with 9, and finished with a 10.  After the fifth and sixth Chris increased his lead to 19 (83-64) though Jim was in great shape with a fill ball waiting.

Ayotte still had something left in the tank as he had an eight fill and skillfully picked up the 3-10 for another spare!  He was cutting into deficit with vengeance.  He followed suit by picking up 7 more via fill and had another spare in the eighth!  Sacchetti not to be outdone matched Ayotte by going two for two in the seventh and eighth!  Chris threw a spare in the seventh and followed with a crusher of a hammer and sat down with a lead 113-99 with two bonus balls compared to Ayotte’s lone one.

Chris made it quick and painless as he filled his strike with 7, and closed out the tenth box with his sixth mark – a spare.  After the bonus, Chris Sacchetti stood tall over Jimbo Ayotte 146-116 and advanced to the next round.

For a complete run down of the qualifying results and the ladders, please head to Pro Series website.

 September 2nd, 2012  
 Rich Limone  
 Pro Series  
 0 Comment

Viking Recreation – East Bridgewater, Ma.

I will be the first to admit the timing of this post is WAY OFF since the event has already happened.  I was working hard with the Pro Series to figure out how we wanted to approach media aspect of it, and collectively the ideas culminated into the making of a blog.  I can’t thank Dave Barber and Mike MacIntosh enough in giving me the incentive and the encouragement to this for them, and for me.

Needless to say, I’m writing to you today, on the day the site launches about our first event, the Ultimate Ladder at Viking Recreation.  This post is the preview of the alley, as well as a post to give you more of an idea of what this site is all about.

I managed to make it to Viking a week before the tournament.  Fred Thompson was great, and gave me more information than I could handle.  I’ll fully admit due to the delay, and the end of summer bowling season I must have cleaned out my bag that had the information about the bowling alley.  If memory serves me – the bowling alley was built in 1990.  It has sixteen lanes, the first ten were from the old bowling alley in Bridgewater, and the other six were obtained when a bowling alley in Maynard, Massachusetts closed.

Throwing a few games of practice I was able to see first hand want the forums were talking about as far as the approaches.  Granted, they weren’t the most slippery lanes I’ve been on, but if you weren’t in control, forget about it.  I by no means thought it was a skating rink.  After throwing a handful of games I paid for my bowling, and chatted with Fred.

The bowling alley was clearly in great shape, and well maintained.  The pins were immaculate.   Fred told me that since he doesn’t put anything on his decks the pins will always be nice and shiny white.  You can tell what bowling alleys “juice” their lanes by the color of the pins.

He was a great conversationalist and he said he was looking forward to the tournament.  He also gave me a bit of wisdom when referring to the state of bowling all together.  He firmly believed that things like cell phones are actually killing the game.  It was news to me, because I never thought something like social media would dampen the game.  The way he explained it, since we have social media, everyone know where everyone is, and everyone is a fingertip away from each other at all times.  No one takes the time to, as he put it, make plans to go to a bowling alley.  The reason they are having so much trouble is the casual bowler doesn’t stop in as often as they used to.  People don’t pick up a telephone, in their kitchen, and call their friends and say let’s go bowling.

Fred also said that one of the things that makes it difficult to run a bowling alley is the adoption of automatic scoring.  He felt as though it creates extra effort every time one of those cameras is out of line.  Since the pins are plastic, and are so light, it’s easy when some of fireballers out there spray the pins up in the air.   It’s much easier on the bowlers on the lanes, and the staff behind the desk if the bowlers themselves control the score.  I tend to agree with him as it does make things easier, especially when 80+ can be walking into a house for a Pro Series tournament.

I had a great time bowling there.  I like honest difficult houses more than ones that are fast.  You always get interesting leaves in the world of candlepin – sometimes leaves that are weirder than others.  I am going to leave you with this image.  This is how to skillfully take out the 1-3-4.

Leaves like this are what make candlepin bowling so fun and yet, so frustrating all at the same time.  It will be interesting to see the Pro Series a week from now.  Next I will report on the results of the tournament.

 September 2nd, 2012  
 Rich Limone  
 Bowling Alleys, Pro Series  
 0 Comment