Splits, spares and strikes: Schultz’s 300 follows early frustration with getting last pin to fall

What difference does one pin make? If it keeps standing up on shot after shot, it makes all the difference in the world.

Just ask George Schultz of Munising.

Schultz couldn’t get the last pin to fall for much of the night in the Monday Men’s Major League at High Fives in Munising last week.

“I had 10 taps the first two games,” he said referring to leaving single pins.

And the only 200-average bowler in the house – he was at exactly 200 going into the session – had a 179 and 173 start to show for it.

Then lightning struck. And struck over and over again.

By the end of the last game, Schultz had rolled 12 strikes in a row for the first perfect 300 bowled in Alger County since 2012.

He’s also the only lefthander to ever do it, according to what he was told by one of the center’s former owners, Karen Bradway.

Schultz, 38, is a pharmacist at Snyder’s Drug Store in Munising and barely bowls more than half the weeks due to his busy schedule. Not so much at work, but with a wife and three young children at home.

“I just rely on all my old habits,” he said about his bowling game nowadays.

He was born and raised in Munising and started bowling at “7 or 8” years old when the center was called Gitchee Gumee Lanes.

Schultz left the area for college to become a pharmacist but returned in 2001 and started bowling again full-time until his children came along just a few years ago.

In fact, last week he used a ball he purchased right around 2001, a 15-pound Storm Super Power particle resin ball, using it in favor of a newer – but not by much – ball his wife Amber bought for him about seven or eight years ago.

“Some people have told me it would be coming in my direction,” he said about making a run at 300, adding his old high game was 290, where he started with a spare and threw the last 11 strikes.

He also started a game with 10 strikes in a row before he missed the head pin on his 11th ball a few years ago.

This time, he said every shot was a good one while admitting his first two shots in the 10th frame were a bit light. He said he had plenty of mix to take any stragglers out.

“The third ball in the 10th was an absolute bomb in the pocket,” he said. “It was satisfying to end the game with a shot like that.”

On his Facebook page, he has a photo of the team scoreboard from the 300 with all his teammates’ scores included. He’s the only bowler to break 190, and that includes a couple of Munising’s better bowlers I know about in Scott Stimac and Joe Ackerman.

It’s made a good welcome for High Fives’ new owners, Jason and Sheila Pierce, whose purchase of the center became official Jan. 22.

I have George’s father, Wally Schultz, to thank for the tip on his son’s lane prowess after he called and left a message last week from his home in Panama City Beach, Fla.

Now onto The Mining Journal Bowlers of the Week for Feb. 21-27:

Fred Nees won a close men’s race that covered all three regular leagues at Superior Lanes in Marquette.

Nees shot 136 pins over his 202 average in the Wednesday Industrial League with 742 that included a high game of 265. He’s my Fox Motors teammate and I had to miss that night to cover a high school district basketball game. Maybe I should miss more often to help the team out?

In second was Bob Masuga from the Tuesday Night Mixed, who just missed the top spot at 134 pins over his 175 average with 659 and a top game of 227. In third was Tom Deiter of the Friday 800 Mixed at plus-131 from his 140 average after he shot 551 with a 201 high.

For the ladies, Maria Virch took top honors at 133 pins over her 175 average with a 658 series and 237 high game in the Tuesday Night Mixed.

Two women from the Thursday Night Ladies at Red Rock Lanes were next. Jackie Baldini went 115 over her 161 average with 598 and big games of 230 and 224, while Mary Grady went 102 over her 151 average with 555 and a 196 topper.