Splits, spares and strikes: Salminen shoots down pins in 2 big feats 8 days apart

Kind of like deer on the first day of shotgun season, the bowling pins didn’t know what hit them when Scott Salminen showed up at the lanes.

Not once, but twice in eight days at each of Marquette County’s bowling centers.

On Oct. 25, Salminen mowed down 30 strikes in 36 tries to shoot his all-time best series of 825 in the Friday 800 Mixed League at Superior Lanes in Marquette Township.

Then on this past Saturday, barely more than a week later, he overcame a somewhat slow start to capture the title at the second annual Upper Peninsula Match Play tournament held at Country Lanes in Ishpeming.

Salminen, 36, hit 800 or better for the eighth time shooting 258, 268 and 299. On the six shots he didn’t strike, each left a single pin.

He ended the night with 19 of his final 21 shots as strikes, with only the final balls of the last two games costing him one pin each on his score. The final-game 299 ended with a solid 4-pin stopping a bid for perfection.

“Marquette has been pretty good to me this season,” Salminen said as he remembered his average in the 800 Mixed League at “around 229.”

“Pretty much I just have to keep my speed up and make sure the ball comes clean off the hand,” he said about his secret to success.

Things changed a bit at the U.P. Match Play tournament, a scratch (no handicap) event where he averaged just under 205 for his four-game qualifying round to sneak into match play tied for 11th as 12 of the 25 entrants advanced.

He jumped eight spots in the three games of Round 2 to make the five-person stepladder finals. In match play, Salminen hit 666 for three games and another 60 pins for two match wins.

Then in the finals, he knocked off Zach Scott of Marquette, 202-155, defending champion Clay Sandberg of Palmer, 257-181, and top-seeded PBA regional player Tony Strublic of Marinette, Wis., 212-167, for the title and the first-place prize of $450.

Strublic earned $350 for second, Sandberg $260 for third and Scott $175 for fourth as four others cashed.

There was one unusual item I noticed about Salminen’s tourney run – in the final two rounds, he put together a 5-1 match record by going 5-0 against men and 0-1 against women.

The woman was Heather Sandberg, Clay Sandberg’s daughter and one of two females in the field, the other Hope Virch of Marquette.

Salminen lost to Heather Sandberg, 209-184, in the final game of match play.

“The big thing was carry,” Salminen said about the tournament, meaning the toughest thing was to get all 10 pins to fall on pocket hits.

Strublic opened with 223, 238, 235 and 244 for 940 in qualifying, then 253, 213 and 226 in match play before having to wait for the early finals matches.

Two-hander Glenn Ayotte of Ishpeming was second in qualifying with 916 on games of 250, 235, 176 and 255 before slipping to seventh after match play.

“Too many missed spares,” he told me about the power outage, though he did cash $55.

Other qualifiers with their four-game scores were Chris Loonsfoot of Baraga, third with 887; Brian Phillips of Iron Mountain, 4th, 883; Chris Hytinen of Ishpeming, 5th, 874; Clay Sandberg, 6th, 859; Heather Sandberg, 7th, 858; Marc Olson of Gwinn, 8th, 845; Don Linnee of Gwinn, 9th, 838; Scott, 10th, 825; and Salminen and Ron “Porky” Behnke of Peshtigo, Wis., tied for 11th, 819 each.

Phillips finished sixth, Ayotte seventh and Loonsfoot eighth, all three within 10 pins of the Olson.

Now it’s time for Mining Journal Bowlers of the Week for Oct. 18-24:

Kristina Kampe took the women’s award at 157 pins over her 117 average with a 508 series including a top game of 215 in the Tuesday Night Mixed at Superior.

The next two ladies are from the Thursday Night Ladies at Country. Joleen North went plus-105 with a 173 average, 624 series and 234 top game; while Lauri Kulju was plus-99 with a 125 book average, 474 and 168.

For the guys, Glenn Ayotte’s stupendous series of 835 I reviewed in this space a week ago was 184 over his 217 average in the Monday Northern Electric Automotive Industrial at Country.

Runner-up was Daniel Washnock in the Monday Northern Michigan University Class at Superior at 160 over his 101 average with 463 and best game of 173. Next was Andrew Virch in the Wednesday Industrial at Superior at plus-152 from his 191 mean with a 725 set and 265 game.

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