81-year-old racks up a rare 228, shows she's in a Classy league

December 27, 1992|By DON VITEK COL BOWLING

A 228 duckpin game will still raise eyebrows in the pro league. A 228 game by a women usually sets a house record. The reason is simple. Few bowlers in their bowling careers will throw a 200-plus game. The percentage of women who do is small. It's a cause for celebration if a senior citizen approaches that mark.

When a senior woman cranks out a 228 game, it's fantastic. But that's exactly what Marie Kratz, 81, did in the Classy Seniors league at Fair Lanes Southwest on Dec. 14.

"The Classy Seniors league started back in 1962," current president Betty Franks said. "At one time there [were] eight teams competing, now we have four teams. And that 228 game is the highest anyone has ever thrown."

Kratz lives in Linthicum and started bowling many years ago in a center on Liberty Heights Avenue.

"I started bowling with the Classy Seniors four or five years ago," Kratz said. "They're a fun bunch."

Kratz, widowed and a retired beautician, carries a modest average: 101. And her first and third games on that December morning were below that average, 98 and 91, respectively. It was the middle game that stands to remain a hallmark for the Classy Seniors league for a long time.

That was the game in which Kratz threw seven strikes and two spares, leaving only one frame without a mark. Four of those strikes were in a string in the first four frames, then came the open in the fifth, strikes in the sixth, seventh and eighth frames and spares in the ninth and 10th.

Asked if she did anything differently in bowling before that outstanding game, Kratz replied: "Nothing! I'm not sure exactly what happened, pins just kept falling down."

Tonelli a winner

On Dec. 12-13, the National Amateur Bowler, Inc., played host to a tournament at Fair Lanes Ritchie. A field of 140 competed for a total prize fund in excess of $3,800 and a first-place guarantee of $1,000.

Bob Tonelli of Gaithersburg walked away with the $1,000. Just barely.

"James Klock needed 29 pins in the last frame to beat me, Tonelli said. "And, the way he was bowling, I thought that he had a good chance of doing it." It was not to be. Klock, a left-hander, buried the ball into the 1-2 pocket and looked at the left-hander's true tap, the nine pin.

"That was a pretty good ball," Klock said. "I really expected to strike out and win the tournament."

Tonelli, an ex-candlepin bowler from Worcester, Mass., is a pharmacist for the Food and Drug Administration and started bowling in NABI tournaments just a few months ago.

"Joe and Lucy [Doctor] run a nice show," Tonelli said. "It's a fair tournament and a lot of nice people bowl in it."

He bowls on Tuesday nights in the Go Getters league at Shady Grove and carries a 186 average; his career high game and set are 289 and 740, respectively.

Those figures are echoed by Klock. His average is 180 with a high game of 290 and a high set that's over 700.

An ex-collegiate bowler at Erie Community College in New York state, Klock works for the Secret Service.

"In college, in the early '80s, I averaged 205," Klock said. "But I didn't bowl for six or seven years until I started back this season. But I'm starting to bowl a little better. In the semifinals at Ritchie, I shot a 269 game and I'm pretty happy with the second-place finish."

Smith-Whisman team up

Cliff Smith has every reason to be happy with his finish in the Chesapeake Double that was held Dec. 12-13 at Sandusky's Riviera Bowl.

Smith and his partner, Shannon Whisman, posted a combined total of 1,006 to walk away with the $1,000 first prize. They defeated 98 other mixed doubles teams.

Bonnie Myers and Joey Sears were second with 993, Susan King and Dave Lauf were one pin below that with 992. King, a 117-average bowler, posted a 189 game and 1,489 series.

Smith lives in Pasadena and bowls in a single league, the Tuesday St. James at Riviera Bowl with his doubles partner, Whisman.

Smith, a Department of Defense employee, is a 107-average bowler; Whisman's average is in the 90s.

"This is my second season of duckpins," Smitty said. "And I think it's a great sport, even if my team, The Storm, is in last place."

Smith threw his career-high game and set in the tournament, a 179 game and a 430 series.

The NABI will play host to a year-end tournament at Crofton Bowling Centre over New Year's weekend. To qualify, players must have bowled in 21 games on the 1992 P & L NABI tour.

First prize is a guaranteed $5,000.

For more information, call 410-721-2401.

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