Splits, spares and strikes: Pool tweaks easy-to-control ball for big night on lanes

Andy Pool is such a faithful reader of this column, he knew exactly what information I was looking for when he made bowling history last week.

I was going to say that he learned everything about bowling from reading this column, but then I thought how hard that would be to believe considering he’s been bowling perfect 300 games before he even met me nearly 20 years ago.

On the contrary, I probably could learn from him, but either way, the Marquette resident had his highest three-game series ever of 817 in the Tuesday Night Mixed League at Superior Lanes in Marquette.

Pool, 49, rolled his third career series of 800 or better, which is a U.S. Bowling Congress honor score, with games of 290, 249 and 278.

Though I gave him a call over the weekend, if for nothing else to congratulate him on this feat, his email to me last Wednesday told me he left a 10-pin in the opening frame, then it was all strikes in the first game.

He also left a 4-pin and two 10-pins in Game 2, while leaving a 9-pin in the third game, finishing the night with a 10-pin on the very last ball.

I had to ask him to make sure, but since he had three strike shots in every 10th frame, his total strikes came to 30 in 36 attempts.

This was using a ball that weighs just 14 pounds, a Visionary Centaur reactive resin that isn’t even being made anymore. Pool said he bought it a while back online – used, with someone else’s holes punched in it – then just had the thumb hole plugged (filled in) and redrilled to fit his thumb size and span, the length between the finger and thumb holes.

It worked OK as a ball that didn’t hook sharply, so it was a fairly easy ball to control.

But carrying strikes was a problem, so just a few weeks ago he asked Country Lanes’ Steve DeBakker to plug up all the holes and drill them in a slightly different spot, a place that would make the ball react more strongly and have a better chance of knocking all 10 pins down consistently.

It made all the difference, since two weeks ago in the same league, Pool shot 778.

“It’s still very smooth, though,” Pool said about the ball. “Urethane-like with no overreaction.”

In other words, a perfect balancing act between control and power.

“It’s fun when you have a line you like and then be able to hit it,” he said.

Pool rolled his first 800 in November 2008, an 815 in the same league, and shot 803 in the USBC Marquette County Association tournament in February 2012, again at Superior.

These past two weeks, he has been 148 and 112 pins over his better-than-220 average, but it wasn’t enough to even break into Mining Journal Bowler of the Week territory.

Here’s three weeks worth since I’ve been neglecting my duties lately:

Last week for the men, Daniel Bunce blitzed his 161 average with 662 in the Friday Nite Mixed at Country, shooting 179 pins over average with games of 247, 209 and 206. Next was Eric Nault in the Tuesday Miller Genuine Draft Major at Country, 165 over his 185 average with 720, including a 256 best game.

For the women, Stephanie Perry, another Friday Nite Mixed bowler, shot 126 over her 147 average with 567 on games of 180, 181 and 206. Runner-up was Linda Chapman of the Wednesday Superior Iron Range Federal Credit Union loop at Country, plus-102 from her 141 average with 525, including 180.

Two weeks ago for the men was the biggest bomber of all, Kim Joki in the MGD Major, who shot 190 over his 188 average with 754 on games of 265, 256 and 233. Second best was Wayne Lamere of the SIRCU loop at 143 over his 196 average with 731 and a 252 top game.

For the ladies, Maria Virch in the Friday 800 Mixed at Superior rolled 98 over her 178 average with 632, including a 231 top game. Next came Heidi Jaykka in the Thursday Coors Light Ladies at Country at plus-87 over her 97 average with 378 and a 148 game.

Going back three weeks, Don Beck of the SIRCU league shot 173 pins over his 188 average with 737, including a 287 game. Next was Eugene Larson in the 800 Mixed, plus-144 over his 161 mean with 627 and a 237 game.

On the women’s side, Vicki Myers in the Coors Light Ladies went 98 pins over her 121 average with 461 and a 176 top game, while 150-average Karen Auston in the SIRCU league wasn’t far behind at plus-93 with 543.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.