Consistency and new ball a perfect fit Veteran bowler rolls his first 300

Bowling

February 21, 1993|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Staff Writer

Steve Rockel had come close so many times before, he says he wasn't thinking of rolling a 300 game Wednesday night at Brunswick Perry Hall.

"I've had eight [strikes] in a row several times this year," said Rockel, 34, a beer distributor who has been bowling for 12 years. "I didn't think of 300 until the 11th one."

By the time Rockel rolled the 11th strike in the third game of his Wednesday Night Challengers League, a crowd had gathered to watch. He was so focused, he didn't notice.

The crowd cheered the 11th strike, then cheered again when he blasted through the rack for the 12th consecutive strike and his first 300 game.

"It's been a long time coming," said Rockel, who over the past five years has maintained an average of 200-plus. He's shot 259, 278 and 289 games.

Rockel's 300 game came with a new bowling ball.

"I bought a bowling ball, had it drilled, drove to the bowling alley, took it out of the box and rolled a 300," he said, with a laugh.

Well, not exactly.

The first game with the new ball -- a 16-pound Turbo-X -- was a 169. He wasn't quite used to the ball, yet.

His second game was a 222, stringing the last six strikes. Then came the 300 game, which means he actually rolled 18 consecutive strikes.

Some might say it was the new ball, and not Rockel's years of practice that finally led to his 300 game.

After all, the Turbo-X is one of the new reactive resin balls, a tacky-surfaced family of bowling balls that some cynics have labeled "cheater" balls because of their tremendous hooking power.

"They call them cheater balls, yes, but I still say 80 percent of bowling is still in the hands of the bowler," said Rockel. "You have to be consistent" for the resin balls to be of any use.

D8 And that other 20 percent? Rockel admits it is luck.

New amateur tenpin tour

Stacy Karten, one of about 60 Fair Lanes employees laid off during the company's recent restructuring, has begun a new venture -- a Baltimore-based amateur tenpin tour, called Free State Classic Tenpin Tour.

"Most bowling centers don't take the time to organize tournaments," he said. "Bowlers are looking for this kind of event. If it's well-run and there are good prizes, people will come out."

So far, Karten has signed a few members to the tour and put together a 13-week spring and summer schedule. It begins April 10 at Bowl America in Odenton and runs through July 4 at Fair Lanes Kings Point.

The weekly Saturday-Sunday tournaments will be open to all male and female sanctioned bowlers. Handicap will be 80 percent of 210 for men and 90 percent of 210 for women.

It costs $25 to join the tour until April 11, when the price goes up to $30. That tour fee will entitle bowlers to enter each weekly tournament for $30, instead of $35 for non-tour members, said Karten.

Karten said he'll pay $750 to first place, $375 for second place and $225 for third. Other prizes are determined by the number of entries.

For information, contact Karten at (410) 356-4561.

Good pee-wee bowling

John Coates-Harris is a 5-year-old duckpin bowler with a 74 average in the Pee Wee Powerhouse league at Fair Lanes Pikesville.

A few Saturdays ago, John rolled a good game for a duckpin bowler -- of any age -- when he shot a 144.

"He loves bowling," said Cynthia Coates-Harris, his mother.

* If you know an interesting bowler, or have an good bowling story tell, please call me at (410) 494-2944, or write to The Sun, 1300 Bellona Ave., Lutherville, 21093. You also can fax letters or scores to (410) 494-2916. Please enclose a name and phone number for verification.

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