Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Versailles Boys Bowlers Miss State by 17 Pins

With High School Bowling still being only 1 Division, which will finally be changing to 2 Divisions in the 2013-14 Season, the road to State was going to be a tough one. “All of you guys need to be on your game today. This is a tough field of teams, but there is no doubt in my mind you guys can end up in the top 4.” With 24 teams competing in the Southwest District, only 4 Boys teams would qualify for the State Championships in Columbus this weekend.

This year’s District Championships were held at the 68 lane Beaver-Vu Bowl in Beavercreek, Ohio on Saturday, February 23rd, 2013. The format was 3 regular games and 6 baker games. Total pinfall would determine the State Qualifiers. The Tigers started out with a nice game of 1,000 which put them in 7th place behind Kettering Fairmont, Oak Hills, Centerville, Middletown, Fairborn and Northwestern. The second game was even better posting a score of 1,053. This put them in 4th place and right in the thick of things. The lanes conditions were starting to change quite rapidly and the boys were making crucial adjustments. The Tigers rolled a 940 the 3rd game to post a 3 Game Score of 2,993.

“I told the boys before we started to just keep it close and to give us a chance once the Baker Games started. The boys did just that and found themselves only 8 pins out going into the Baker Games.” After 3 Games complete it was: Oak Hills 3101, Beavercreek 3041, Centerville 3036, Northmont 3001, Versailles 2993, Kettering Fairmont 2991 Troy 2990, Middletown 2893, Fairborn 2885 and Sidney 2877. The stage was set and any of these teams had a legitimate chance at making the State Finals. “I told the guys to go out and just bowl their games, have fun and not be nervous. Let’s put up some scores and see what happens. We can only control what we do and nothing else.”

Early on in the Baker Games, it was tough to find the right combination and the Tigers struggled a little bit rolling 169 and 161. “A few other teams are having some issues as well, we are still in this. You guys need to find a way to dig a little deeper and make this happen.” The guys did just that and went a roll firing 216, 215 and 187. With one more game to go, it was literally down to Versailles, Kettering Fairmont, Northmont and Troy. Versailles looked as if they were going to make the move and qualify for State as a team for the first time ever in this tough Southwest District. They started out with the first 3 strikes in a row. Nathan Peters was the 4th bowler and rolled a perfect shot only to leave a solid 10 pin. He converted the spare. Michael Davidson was then up and crushed the pocket and left a solid 9 pin. These two taps did not get the Tigers down. “With Kenny Nagel, Jordan Groff, Nathan Peters and Michael Davidson up to finish the game, anything could happen. You could just see the determiniation in their faces.” Kenny, Jordan and Nate all rolled strikes with Davidson to anchor the tenth. At this point, it was still unclear at what was needed. “At this point, all you can do is try your best to make a good shot. Once you release the ball, you have no control at what will happen.” Michael rolled his first ball in the tenth and shattered the rack as he did all day long, the head pin flew to the side wall, came across the pin deck (in bowling terms, this is called a messenger) and went right in front of the ten pin. Along with the 6 pin tapped the 10 pin, but it just wiggled and did not fall down. He proceeded to make the spare and then struck. The Tigers finished with 223 and a fine 4,181 total pinfall.

As the scores were being tallied, it looked as if Versailles was going to just miss the top 4. Kettering Fairmont and Troy ended with Baker games of 233 and 234, which sealed the fate of the Tigers. The top 4 teams out of the Southwest District was Oak Hills 4328, Beavercreek 4276, Kettering Fairmont 4207 and Troy 4181. “Bowling is a game of inches and a game of who gets the most breaks and can carry the single pins the best. All of you guys needed to make great shots under the extreme pressure in the last game and you guys did just that. Unfortunately, the breaks did not go our way this last game.”

“Once again, this was a great group of kids to coach. We had (4) returning letterman (3 of them Seniors), and (4) 1st year Varsity players. To have our best finish ever at the District Championships says something about the work ethic and drive that this team had.” The team was led by Michael Davidson with a 771 series with games of 249, 279 and 244. He set two new school records for the high series that he set last week in Sectionals and also set the new high single game record of 279. Jordan Groff finished his fine High School Bowling career with a 637 series with games of 244, 200 and 193. Nathan Peters also finished his High School career and was a 4 year varsity letterman. He finished with a 589 series with games of 174, 214 and 201. “Unfortunately, Brandon Groff who also finished his High School Bowling Career suffered an injury to his wrist right before Sectionals and was not able to compete at 100%. Brandon fought through it, but he was not 100%. Hats off Brandon for fighting through it and helping his team almost make it to State.”

The Girls Varsity Districts were scheduled for last Friday, but was postponed due to inclement weather. Their match was held at the same venue on Monday, February 25th after the deadline to submit articles. Michael Davidson led the field of over 144 players to qualify for the State Championships by rolling a 771 series. (see separate article)

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