Splits, spares and strikes: Third time’s the charm for Mahaffey

Just in case he ever got another chance, Vic Mahaffey was bound and determined to not let a perfect 300 game get away from him again.

And he didn’t, rolling his first 12-strike game last week to finish his Tuesday Night Mixed League session at Superior Lanes.

At age 58, Mahaffey would only be a senior in the eyes of the AARP and the pro bowling and golf tours. But it’s still not a typical age to reach the zenith of your bowling career, especially with the challenge of only having one eye – his left eye, not right eye as I reported a few months ago – due to a childhood accident.

But a commitment to fitness he undertook about a year ago has reaped benefits on the lanes, Mahaffey reports.

“I have a lot better stamina, not to mention losing 20 or 25 pounds,” he told me.

Mahaffey bowled his second of two career 299s on Feb. 1 in another league at Superior, following up his first bowled in 2010, again at Superior.

Two months ago, the stubborn pin that remained standing on his last ball was a 10-pin; three years ago it was a 6-pin.

“I was a little nervous, but I was determined I was going to get the 300 once I got to the last ball,” Mahaffey said. “I’ve been there before and I wasn’t going to blow this one.

“I told myself in the seventh frame, ‘I can do this.’ I didn’t hear anybody or anything in the 10th frame.

“Boy, it sure felt good,” he said about the relief he felt after all 10 pins fell on the final shot.

Tuesday league secretary and Marquette County association president Hope Virch reported “Vic doesn’t ever get emotional. But that was the most excited I’ve ever seen him. Ever!”

Mahaffey actually finished the night with the final 18 strikes in a row as he opened with 163 and 236 for 699.

“I couldn’t carry the 10-pin in the first game, so I kept moving and moving,” he said about making adjustments on the approach and with his target line. “I finally got in around the 12-board (in from the right gutter), got the right angle and stayed there. I just had to make sure to keep my speed up.”

The ball he used, a 15-pound Brunswick Monster Bruiser reactive resin, came out of mothballs recently.

“It was an old ball I had up in the attic for a year or two. I just got it back out a couple weeks ago,” he said. “I tried it during a seniors (afternoon) session and one of the guys, Dominic Ori, said I should keep using it in league.”

Now for three weeks worth of Mining Journal Bowlers of the Week as the season is starting to wind down:

I’ll work back to three weeks ago first, since we had something unique happen then – Dennis Ombrello beating out Dennis Ombrello for men’s honors. He not only shot 123 pins over his 192 average with 699 in the Tuesday Night Mixed at Superior, but also 112 over his 188 mean with 676 and a 235 high game in the Friday 800 Mixed, again at Superior.

For the women, Linde Marquess blew away anything by anyone named Dennis in the Tuesday Night Mixed, shooting 154 pins over her 128 average with 538 and a 205 high. Next came Bev Bennett at plus-124 over her 124 average with 496 and a 208 high in the Wednesday Superior Iron Range Credit Union loop at Country.

Two weeks ago came the heavy hitters for the men, as Brian McRae shot 184 pins over his 157 average with 655 and a 264 high game in the Wednesday Industrial at Superior, while Jeremy Forbes was 176 ahead of his 151 mean with 629 and a 235 high in the Wednesday SIRCU.

For the ladies, Nicole Briggs shot 96 pins over her 158 average with 570 and a 224 high in the Friday Nite Mixed at Country, while Virch was 94 over her 191 average with 667 and a 234 high in the Friday 800.

Last week, Keith Bradybaugh bombed 182 over his 188 average with 746 and a 267 high in the Tuesday Miller Genuine Draft Major at Country, while Jordon Skytta shot 131 over his 108 average with 455 and a 185 high in the Friday Nite Mixed.

For the women, Virginia Wilson shot 82 over her 145 average with 517 in the Tuesday Night Mixed, while Amber Buckmaster was 77 over her lofty 210 average with 707 in the Wednesday Industrial.

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