Emily Kinsey helps lead her Norristown squad to victory in a match against Pennridge High School at Facenda Whitaker Lanes. Rick Kauffman/Times Herald
Emily Kinsey helps lead her Norristown squad to victory in a match against Pennridge High School at Facenda Whitaker Lanes. Rick Kauffman/Times Herald Staff (Rick Kauffman)

EAST NORRITON — The anchor position in bowling, the fifth and last bowler to roll, is a spot that requires the player to not only bowl consistently, but consistently well under pressure. For Emily Kinsey of Norristown, who anchors the Eagles varsity squad, she is time and time again required to match up against top area bowlers and Wednesday night was no exception.

Visiting Pennridge touts one of the greatest varsity girls bowlers for the past four years, Jenn Stevens, who this season leads Suburban One in highest average. Since they were both freshman, Kinsey and Stevens have matched up and measured their games against one another, so it seems appropriate that both bowlers now anchor their respective squads.

Dylan Copestick of Norristown watches his ball during a match against Pennridge High School at Facenda Whitaker Lanes in East Norriton. Rick Kauffman/Times
Dylan Copestick of Norristown watches his ball during a match against Pennridge High School at Facenda Whitaker Lanes in East Norriton. Rick Kauffman/Times Herald Staff (Rick Kauffman)

Wednesday night, Kinsey and Co. got the best of Pennridge, winning 4-0 in the SOL American matchup.

"My role on the team is to simply keep a calm head in tight situations,' said Kinsey, who in the first game gave her team the narrow victory in the 10th frame. "I'm loving being the anchor. I'm finally starting get into the mindset of ' it's up to me.''

Through nine frames in the first game, the girls of Norristown and Pennridge were tied in number of pins at 645, but Pennridge had a slight advantage with two strikes leading into the ninth with the Eagles rolling none. However, with the first three bowlers of Pennridge leaving open frames in the tenth, it opened the door for Norristown to strike out and win 779 to 764.

"The competition is fun,' Kinsey said. "We push each other, and that gives us the motivation to do better.'

Kinsey out-bowled Stevens in the frame 29 pins to 20 for the win.

The Norristown girls rolled to easy victories in the second and third games, beating Pennridge 718-686 and 844-727 respectively.

"The girls have grabbed onto the challenge of competition,' said Norristown coach Candy Johnson. "I think since freshman year the two of them have recognized that they would go up head to head against each other in that anchor spot. The girls have grabbed onto the challenge of competition.'

Leading the league in average, Jenn Stevens of Pennridge bowls against Norristown at Facenda Whitaker Lanes in East Norriton. Rick Kauffman/Times Herald
Leading the league in average, Jenn Stevens of Pennridge bowls against Norristown at Facenda Whitaker Lanes in East Norriton. Rick Kauffman/Times Herald Staff (Rick Kauffman)

The boys didn't have such luck for Norristown, however. After dropping the first game 947-854, they showed a moment of resilience in the second game. During the seventh frame, the Eagles scored three strikes and two spares versus three open frames by the Rams. But the Rams rallied in the ninth with a star frame — five strikes down the line — to lead into a huge comeback in the tenth.

"It hurt knowing they were up on us mathematically in the tenth,' said the Eagles' boys anchor Brandon Bonamico. "We had some unlucky splits and they bowled stronger than we did.'

Norristown will look ahead to Monday when it faces league-best North Penn at Facenda Whitaker Lanes.

Boys

Norristown 854 858 926 — 2638

Pennridge 947 925 998 — 2870

Girls

Norristown 779 718 844 — 2341

Pennridge 764 686 727 — 2177

High series

Boys — Joe Firuta 620, Vince Kauders 654, Dylan Copestick 581. Girls — Chrissy Rose 539, Katie Ferry 532, Jenn Stevens 551, Emily Kinsey 492.

High singles

Boys — Copestick 234; Kauders 229, 220; Firuta 221. Girls — Chrissy Rose 221, Katie Ferry 193, Jenn Stevens 193.