Splits, spares and strikes: Mining Journal Bowler of the Week makes long-awaited debut for 2013-14 season

First off today, my apologies for making a number of great-performing bowlers wait and wait.

We’re finally going to debut The Mining Journal Bowlers of the Week, actually honoring three weeks worth starting in late September and running through Oct. 11.

But since you’ve waited patiently for this long, I’ll make you wait just a little bit longer.

That’s so I can tell you about the second annual Match Play Championship to be held at Country Lanes on Saturday, Nov. 2. The Ishpeming center’s manager, Clay Sandberg, tells me he already has about 20 reservations confirmed from places such as Menominee, Iron Mountain and Houghton.

This event harkens back to the old Upper Peninsula Match Play series that I was part of about a decade ago. Both tourneys are scratch – no handicap – so except some quality bowling.

Now though, it’s just a one-time event, so if you want to see some of the best bowlers from around the U.P., this may be your only chance this season.

The guys – and maybe a few gals – will be vying for the $500 first-place prize, based on 30 entries.

Bowling begins at 2 p.m. with a four-game qualifying round, then the field will be cut to the top 12 for three games of match play that include bonus pins for match wins.

All seven games plus bonus will be added together to determine the top five, who then bowl a TV-style stepladder finals.

If you’re interested in bowling this event, entry fee is $70, and for more information, call the center at 486-8000.

Now on to the Bowlers of the Week. These bowlers are based purely on pins over average. That average is based on at least nine games this season – or if readily available, last year’s finishing average.

The single-biggest performance in the three-week period I studied was by Jeff Ogea, who on Oct. 11 shot a whopping 196 pins over his 188 average in the Friday Nite Mixed at Country with a 760 series on games of 222, 259 and 279.

Wayne Ross was runner-up that week at 141 over his 181 average with 684 in the Thursday Fun League at Superior Lanes, and third was Wayne Charbonneau at 119 over his 173 mean with 638 in the Wednesday Superior Iron Range Federal Credit Union loop at Country.

For the ladies, Kathy Parent shot 104 pins over her 164 average with 596 in the Tuesday Night Mixed at Superior with a 210 high game.

Next was Linda Chapman at 84 over her 148 average with 528 in the Wednesday SIRCU, then a tie at plus-79 for Jennifer Krueger in the Thursday Northern Michigan University class at Superior with a 105 average and 394 score, and Paulette Kordish in the Thursday Ladies at Country with a 140 mean and 499 set.

The men went big for the week of Sept. 30-Oct. 4, with John Matson Jr. hitting 168 over his 170 average with 678 on games of 191, 222 and 265. On his heels were two Wednesday Industrial bowlers at Superior – Erik Vanlangendon at 161 over his 182 average with 707 and Mike Deering at 159 over his 178 average with 693.

Country bowlers Donna Sandberg and Jennifer Larson shared women’s honors that week at plus-108. Sandberg hit 609 with a 226 high and a 167 average in the Wednesday SIRCU, while Larson shot 564 with a 204 high and 152 average in the Friday Nite Mixed. Third place went to Sheila Leslie in the Thursday NMU class at 99 over her 81 average with 342.

Back to Sept. 23-29, Bobbi Jo Kovarik posted the best women’s over score so far this season at plus-115 in the Friday Nite Mixed at Country. With a 106 average, she hit 433 on games of 153, 177 and 103.

Next was Nicole Briggs at 75 over her 160 mean with 555 in the same Friday league, while Linde Marquess notched 74 over her 138 average with 488 in the Friday 800 at Superior.

The guys were paced by Steve Gohl at plus-133 in the Tuesday Miller Genuine Draft Major at Country, hitting 679 with a 182 average on games of 173, 227 and 279. Sharing runner-up at plus-122 were a pair of Friday 800 bowlers at Superior – John Marquess with a 177 average shooting 653 and Mike Musolf using 216 and hitting 770 including a 299 game.