Splits, spares and strikes: Near-perfection comes off the clearance rack for Salminen

If you’ve ever met Scott Salminen, you’d know the latest fad doesn’t impress him in the least.

And if you’ve ever seen the Negaunee resident bowl, you’d know that he is a threat to throw a big score with any ball that even comes close to being round.

OK, so maybe that second statement is a bit of an exaggeration, because if ain’t perfectly round, it ain’t coming back up the ball return.

All of this is a way of saying that it shouldn’t be a surprise that Salminen picked up a new ball at the bowling equivalent of a clearance sale a couple of weeks ago, then nearly threw a pair of perfect games two days apart.

Both games turned out to be 299s, one pin short of perfection, in leagues at Superior Lanes in Marquette using his 15-pound DV8 Reckless reactive resin ball.

The first came on March 5 in the Wednesday Industrial League when Salminen was subbing for yours truly while I was covering a high school district basketball game.

He rolled the first 11 strikes before a 10-pin jumped up and bit him, or more accurately, a bid for his 13th career 300 and second one this season. He finished the night with 765.

Two nights later in the Friday 800 Mixed that his wife Katie serves as secretary-treasurer, he again hit 299, this time leaving a 4-pin on the 12th ball in a series he estimated was in the 740s or 750s.

He’s been carrying an average in the 230s as a regular on Friday, while the last I saw he was well into the 220s as a sub on Wednesday. On Tuesdays at Red Rock, he “only” carries a 214 mean.

“It’s a nice, even-rolling ball,” Salminen said about the characteristics of the Reckless. “I asked (Superior Lanes pro shop operator) Jeff Miller to drill it up to be a little stronger and hook up a little bit sooner than my other balls.”

Salminen estimates he owns about a dozen or so bowling balls at any one time. If he didn’t give away, throw away, or simply break his old stuff, his basement might look like an oversized ball bearing factory.

“Yeah, I get about three new balls a year,” he said, adding that he’s cracked numerous balls over the years.

One ball, the Storm Paradigm, was replaced three times in a few months a couple years ago due to big cracks around each ball’s circumference before he was unable to order the fourth edition because it had been discontinued.

“I don’t know, I think sometimes they just get a bad batch,” he said about the manufacturing process.

He won’t take credit for the breakage as one of the hardest throwers in the area who also throws one of most revving, hooking balls in the area.

In the Wednesday Industrial session, Salminen was joined by Tim McIntire in the 299 club, reportedly a 10-pin stopping him in a 736 series.

Here’s The Mining Journal Bowlers of the Week for Feb. 28-March 6:

The women’s side had a unique one-league sweep, as the top three in pins over average all came from the Thursday Night Ladies at Red Rock Lanes in Ishpeming.

Tammie Kovarik carted off honors with a 108 pins over her 155 average on a series of 573 and games of 192, 208 and 173. Next was Ruth Isola at plus-98 over her 141 average with 521 and a top game of 179. Then came Kristi LaForge at 87 over her 158 average with 561 and a 225 best.

The men spread their out among three leagues, as Bob Belmore took the top spot at 137 pins over his 203 average in the Wednesday Industrial League at Superior with a career-high 746 series including top game of 278.

In second was Wade LaFreniere of the Tuesday Major at Red Rock, who shot 111 over his 172 average with a 598 and 227 tops. Next was Daniel Woodruff of the Friday Nite Mixed at Red Rock at plus-107 from his 157 average with 578 and a best of 220.