EAST NORRITON — With many schools in the area closed on Thursday, Pennridge and Plymouth Whitemarsh teams decided to do something a little unorthodox. Both without opponents today, the Colonials and Rams decided to move up their match on Monday a couple days early.
Knowing the teams would have to make up games in advance of the Suburban One League bowling tournament next week, Plymouth Whitemarsh coach Jeff Blizzard and Brian Laiacona of Pennridge kept their respect squads active on Thursday afternoon.
"I woke up this morning and saw Pennridge just had a delay,' Blizzard said. "Playing these games today buys us time. With only two schools open in the area, maybe on Monday we can make up another game.'
Blizzard checked the websites for Upper Dublin, Upper Merion and Abington only to find that all the schools had been closed, with only Pennridge still in session.
"Mother nature has been wreaking havoc on our schedule,' Laiacona said. "When Jeff called me and suggested we played today instead of Monday I said, '˜That's a great idea, let's do something.'
And thus a bowling match was formed. The Pennridge boys defeated PW 3-1, while the PW girls in surprising fashion won 3-1 over the Rams.
Facing league-best Jenn Stevens is never an occasion to take lightly. And on Thursday through seven frames, she hadn't missed a pin. All that was left was a line of X's in memory of the pins that fell.
Unlike baseball in which players and coaches fear breaking the player's focus by even speaking to them, bowlers on both sides of the isle were clapping and congratulating Stevens as she was bowling toward perfection.
Yet, in the eighth frame with the home stretch in sight, that pesky 10-pin didn't fall.
"Sometimes you just can't make the pin fall,' Stevens said.
However, on the day, Stevens didn't miss a pin. To finish her third game with a total of 710 pins, Stevens left the six, nine and 10 pin, but made the spare to great applause. Stevens said that she has already bowling a perfect game, but it was during practice and was unsanctioned. During the regional tournament her sophomore year, she bowled a 298, leaving a 7-10 split on the final throw.
"This was my first 700 this year and I'm really happy about that,' Stevens said. "It's been a goal of mine since sophomore year to be a consistently high bowler.'
Not to be outdone, Jake Gum of Plymouth Whitemarsh was sitting at the 10th frame with a perfect game on the line, yet his day didn't end in perfection either.
"It's really difficult being up there with the pressure of everyone watching you,' Gum said. "
Next Thursday begins the SOL bowling tournament. Teams chose their top seven players to compete for an opportunity to bowl in the district tournament. As it is, the top 12 players in average, with a minimum of 27 games played, automatically gain entry to the district tournament, but the SOL Challenge enables three more players to qualify for the 15 spots open to the Suburban One League.
Gum and Puglielli are the forerunners for the Colonials. During the tournament bowlers will be divided up by average, and the boys' and girls' anchors will among the leaders of the pack.
"Playing in the tournament is a challenge playing with better people in the league and not being with your team,' Gum said. "It'll be different, but it will be fun.'
Stevens meanwhile, will be the first player in SOL tournament history to try to win the challenge three consecutive years. She knows the target is solely on her back, but Stevens contends that's the spot she wants to be in.
"I love that everyone is gunning for me,' Stevens said. "I like the pressure.'
Plymouth Whitemarsh boys
Christian Mitchell 150 148 187 — 485
Dom Procaccino 200 176 177 — 553
Nate Enslin 157 173 236 — 566
Josh Pierce 166 180 172 — 518
Jake Gum 162 200 277 — 645
Ben Anderson 227 174 198 — 599
Chris Cilberto 169 163 X — 524
Ryan Marshall 184 171 129 — 484
Dave Sadler 213 202 248 — 663
Vince Kauders 171 222 191 — 584
Brian Yeung X X 192 — 191
Plymouth Whitemarsh girls
Francesca Schuettle 160 98 157 — 415
Rebecca Beynaud 122 141 174 — 437
Sarah Gorman 148 175 160 — 483
Nikki Martini 202 175 170 — 547
Jamie Puglielli 150 181 183 — 514
Casey Barnes 127 115 102 — 344
Allison Wilms 123 130 106 — 359
Emily Kircher 135 168 146 — 449
Kara Wireman 119 178 157 — 459
Jenn Stevens 256 247 207 — 710