The Wayland girls’ varsity bowling team pulled off an unusual feat Tuesday afternoon at the Grand Rapids Catholic Central Baker Games Tournament at Park Center Lanes.
The Lady Wildcats won it despite being down one bowler in the championship round.
The tourney was entirely made up of Baker games — no individual games, so it was a true team event.
The ‘Cats rolled games of 116, 92, 129, 104, 172, 97, 109, 134, 132, 164, 108, 140, 93, 86 and 134 to finish second (by 70 pins) in the qualifying round to Cedar Springs.
They first had to get past Catholic Central. Wayland rolled well in this two-Baker game rolloff, winning by scores of 125-111 and 175-120. Total pins wins and moves on to the championship match.
“We knew we would be down a good bowler, Haven Baker who had to leave due to a prior commitment,” said coach Eric Bottrall. “She rolled very well in the match against Catholic Central.”
In the finals, Wayland needed to take zero pin totals for two frames of each game.
“That was stressful, but I knew our girls had it in them to win!” Bottrall said. “And win they did!”
The first game was a neck to neck, back and forth brawl with Wayland coming out on top 118. It was still anybody’s championship title up for grabs.
“I believe Cedar started out with a double or at least a double in the first of three frames,” the coach said. “The ladies needed to dig deep and prove they wanted it more!”
A key strike was turned in by newcomer Madison Bottrall and Izzy Botwinski, to set up the veterans Bella Harnish and Kadence Bottrall to fill frames. Baker match two the Lady Wildcats battled on top with a score of 145- 137.
“We beat them both games with only four bowlers!” Bottrall exclaimed. “What a fun way to spend a cold and wet snowy day!”
The boys’ squad was not as successful in the Baker tourney and Monday’s South Haven Invitational at Spectrum Lanes.
The girls and boys had a tough time adjusting to the newfangled Phantom Oil Pattern Tuesday.
“There is a new oil pattern being used this year in the state playoffs named the Phantom,” Bottrall explained. “It is much more difficult than the old Allen Pattern of the past. The reason for the change is that the Allen Pattern broke down too quickly after numerous games were bowled on it.
“The Phantom pattern is supposed to hold up to more games being bowled on it and is more challenging to score on it. Scores may be lower than in the past, making those spares ever so more important.”
Wayland boys’ coach Sherry Miklusicak said, “Bowling on the new Phantom oil pattern over the previous two days has convinced our men’s team that it was given an inaccurate name. We would like to rename it ‘Dazed and Confused’.”
The guys were in third place third place in the first three contests, with the top four places making the cut to move on to match play. They were still in third place after six matches and things were looking good.
“Then it was like we were hit by a Mack Truck,” Miklusicak said. “We couldn’t fill frames, we were silent, and we couldn’t get back on track.”
The Wayland boys Monday finished 10th out of 13 teams at Spectrum Lanes in the South Haven/Allegan Invitational. They were in sixth place at one time after a true rocky start in game one. The boys rolled over 800 in game two which was good for third high game on the boys’ side.
“This game wasn’t a fluke, as they all had good shots and are capable of this every game,” the coach said. “That was the good news of the day for the boys.”
Rolling high games in the second match were freshman Ashton Kasprowicz (180+) and junior Chandler Caruso (199).
However, the ‘Cats’ Baker games dropped them from sixth place to 10th.
“I was hoping we would move up instead of the wrong direction,” Miklusicak said. “We missed many, many spares — at least 10 single pin spares.”
Senior newcomer Carson Beck was rolling well with at least 6 out of 12 possible strikes and a couple of spares as well. Caruso had a turkey in the 10th frame of the Baker game.