Ioffe, 19, just misses perfect game


January 09, 1994|By DON VITEK

At Bowl America Reisterstown recently, a Young America Bowling Alliance member came within a whisker of a perfect game.

Vlad Ioffe, a 19-year-old freshman at UMBC, fired a 299 game.

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and brought to America at 6, Ioffe started bowling about six years ago.

A bio-chemistry major who plans to become a doctor, Ioffe uses a 15-pound Purple Hammer.

"I'm averaging 165 right now," said Ioffe, who lives in Owings Mills. "But that day I was having a tough time getting lined up."

The first game was well under his average, a 147.

"That's when I decided to make a huge adjustment," Ioffe said. "I moved from the extreme outside line to down and in."

That helped . . . a lot. The second game was a respectable 172.

"I used a little more speed on the last game and that made a big difference," Ioffe said.

"The first 11 frames were all strikes, but on the last ball I pushed it and went Brooklyn."

The only pin left standing was the three. He finished with a 617 series.

Saving best for last

John Butcher of Catonsville used his third game as the cornerstone for a superb series over the holidays.

"This is the first time in about 15 years that I've bowled in just one league," Butcher said. "And that night I didn't even want to bowl."

That was understandable, because as a postal carrier during the holidays his workdays were long.

But his wife, Joann, a 176-average bowler, talked him into going down to Fair Lanes Kings Point in Randallstown that December night for the matchup between his team and the first-place team in the Tuesday Spice league.

"I finished with five strikes in the first game," he said.

"Then I threw 12 more for the 300 game, struck in the first frame of the last game, then opened in the second frame and then threw eight more [strikes]. It's probably Joann's fault that I didn't have a second perfect game. The second [open] frame of the last game is the only frame that she wasn't sitting behind me watching and rooting."

When the last pin had fallen Butcher was looking at his jTC career-high series, games of 238, 300 and 269 for a 807 set.

Vece wins Barger Open

The Barger Women's Open at Pinland Lanes drew 58 women duckpin bowlers to the Dundalk center.

The five-game scratch singles event carries the name of Baltimore bowling legend Elizabeth "Toots" Barger and was marked by the outstanding bowling that has become a hallmark of the tournament.

Only four pins separated the winner and the runner-up at the end of the five games.

Bernie Vece, born, raised and still living in Canton, never faltered in her quest for the title.

"I've been bowling ducks for 22 years," she said. "And this is the first title for me."

A former member of the women's pro tour, she now bowls in two leagues -- the Monday Mixed and the Friday Foursome at Pinland. She carries a 136 average, and her career high game and set are 209 and 528, respectively.

Vece was the model of consistency. Her five games were within a 14-pin span -- 155, 154, 151, 141, 144 for a solid 745 series.

"The only thing different for me is that I'm using a heavier ball," she said.

"Last year I used a 3-pound, 8-ounce ball, and I was splitting and chopping a lot, so this year I started using a 3-pound, 12-ounce ball [the heaviest legal weight]."

The runner-up, Karen Smith, threw a series that highlighted the unpredictability of duckpin bowling. She had games of of 145, 112, 194, 112 and 178.

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