Hawkins: League scores dip, but great things are coming soon


Mike Hawkins Bowling Columnist


By Mike Hawkins

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

A couple of weeks ago, Christmas came early at Albemarle Lanes in the form of thirty-some cases of brand spanking new pins. Not just new, but fresh from the pin-making process in Lewis County, New York. I know so, because the manufacturing date was stamped on the side of each case, and the pins just delivered to Elizabeth City, were less than a week old.

You may think most bowlers would be excited about the change-over to new pins, but like a new Christmas present, sometimes the wait is like torture, and that’s what many bowlers are going through at this time. But, this column isn’t just to cry about scores being a bit down for some bowlers, but to answer the question of why, and what might can be done about it.

First of all, new pins are flat on the bottoms. A good thing, right? Not necessarily. Flat bottom pins are more likely to remain upright when lightly tapped. As my longtime teammate and friend, Gary Stubbins, used to proclaim, they would “Stand Up and Testify!”

Bowling pins need a processing period. Like a good homemade pickle, they have to soak in the juice for a while, but in a pin’s viewpoint, it has to be broken in.

I read recently that a pin might take almost 100 games to get in maximum scoring condition. Besides the bottoms getting a little rounded on the edges, a unique process is taking place on a pin each time they are hit by a ball.

Bowling pins are made of wood, maple to be exact. The pins we see on the lanes are white, because they are coated in a white, plastic outside layer. Each time a pin is hit by a ball, it takes a bit of a beating and small dents are left on the wood inside.

After days and nights of assault after assault on the pins by bowling balls ranging from 8-16 pounds, a slight separation begins between the inner wooden pin and the white plastic covering. As this separation forms, a bit of a spring-like reaction begins to take place, and almost instantly, pins begin becoming more lively and scores begin to escalate.

My personal prediction is there might be a couple of more weeks of ho-hum scoring and by the end of October, scores will be flying through the roof, and by the end of the calendar year, there will be at least one, if not multiple 300 games rolled inside Albemarle Lanes. Now, who’s going to make me look like a modern-day prophet?

Where as most weeks, Tuesday night’s Fellowship League will post at least half a dozen 600-plus series, last week, there were a total of six; half from Fellowship, and half from MLK.

Leading the way from Fellowship was Mark Tarkington’s 268-696, which included the front 8 strikes of the middle game before back-to-back ten pins - those pesky flat-bottomed ones! The two additional 600’s during Fellowship came from Jeff Barefoot (214-607) and Woody Heckstall (216-602). Jevon Simpson and Troy Brickhouse turned in top games of 236 and 230 respectively.

The ladies from Fellowship were led by Kaytee Simpson’s 225-583, along with Ruth Odell’s 193-546, Brittney Krehel’s 209-544 and Bobbi-Jo Tarkington’s 201 game. Odell’s 729 series is the highest handicap series of the season, of all leagues, so for this season.

Paul Lacher’s 243-607 claimed the top spot during Martin Luther King league last week, just ahead of Denwood Williams’ 217-603, Chris Farrell’s 249-602, and Lake Krehel’s 236 game.

Brittney Krehel paced the MLK ladies with a 201-568, well ahead of Mary Beasley’s 154-389, Amie Wallace’s 143-367, and Kathy Wheeler’s 143 game.

The men from Monday Night had high series from Boris Beatty (572), Lake Krehel (542), John Bradley (525), John Turner (525) and Rondell Christian (525) along with high games from John Turner (228), Korey Gregory (205) and Rondell Christian (203).

Debbie Winslow led the Monday Night ladies with her 193-527, ahead of Leonora Vactor’s 169-471, Susie Thomas’s 456 series and Bonnie Sawyer’s 168 game.

Top game performances from the All-American Ladies belonged to Ocie Manos (177), Sharon Yonek (173), and Charlene Fetters (166).

The dip in scores wasn’t limited to adults either, as many youth struggled to shoot average as well. Bryce Hawkins was able to lead the youth with pre-bowl scores of 177-493, to best Ben Hawkins’ 160-458, Christopher Vinson’s 154-422, and Jacob Davenport’s 161 game.

The young ladies were topped by Elizabeth Scaff’s 148-403, Lindsay Porter’s 138-400, and Kaylee Winslow’s 156-395.

Until next week, good luck and good bowling, and Happy Birthday, Dad!