Malthan's career takes another record turn


September 04, 1994|By DON VITEK

Pat Malthan fooled a lot of people.

"When she was very young, the doctors at special education said she wouldn't have enough coordination to play any sports," said her mother, Eleanor.

"What did they know? Now she's bowled in the Ladies Pro League for over 20 years!"

Pat Malthan is now, and has been for years, a dominant force in the duckpin world.

"She learned to bowl in the Fair Lanes youth program at the Joppa center," said her father, Bud. "That first time she was about 8 years old."

The Malthan family lives in Baltimore County, and Pat bowls in four leagues -- Sunday at Fair Lanes Joppa in the Crazy Crowd league, Monday at Middlesex, Wednesday in the Pro Ladies Traveling league and Friday back to Joppa.

Last year, Malthan was ranked sixth in average by the Baltimore Duckpin Bowlers Association.

Her career high game and set are 243 and 578, respectively.

In 1987, at Greenway East, she was part of the mixed-quad team that pounded out a three-game total of 1,837, a world record.

In 1989, Malthan fired 1,421 for nine games (that's a 157.8 average) to set the women's world record.

This year, she was inducted into the National Duckpin Hall of Fame.

Last month, at Southside Lanes in Hagerstown, she became the second female duckpin bowler to win nine pro stop tournaments.

That tied her with Diane Sicca of Laurel, a legend in women's duckpins, a Hall of Famer and holder of four world records.

Sicca carries a 143 average and has a high game of 233, a high set of 586.

In the Hagerstown tournament, both women were in the stepladder finals.

On Saturday in the eight-game qualifying round, Malthan was struggling; her first seven games totaled 936. That 133.7 average was not going to make the cut for the finals on Sunday.

"She knew she needed a big, big game," Debbie Shipley said. "At that point, she was just out of it."

Shipley knew exactly what Malthan needed because Shipley was hammering the pins at a 149-average pace for the third high qualifying set for the day.

Malthan never blinked. At one point in the last game of the qualifying round, she strung six strikes in a row -- the result: a 228 game, a total of 1,164 for the eight-game set and entry into the finals.

Sunday morning play called for the top 24 qualifiers to battle it out in four divisions of six duckpin bowlers each. This is match play, bowling at its toughest.

Malthan never slackened her pace; in the five match games (four victories, one loss) she averaged 152.

Seeded second behind Janet Sauter (won 4 1/2 , lost 1/2 ), Malthan met Sicca in the semifinal game. Malthan won a squeaker, 155-153, to face Sauter for the championship.

That game was never in doubt; Malthan pounded out a 168 game to Sauter's 111 for her ninth pro tour stop victory.

Shipley, who had bowled so well on Saturday, averaging 149, woke up Sunday with a stiff back.

"I thought I could bowl OK," Shipley said. "But the very first game, I rolled a 94 and the stiffness never left my back. I'm glad Pat won, but I would have liked to have had a shot at the title."

The stiff back meant that Shipley had to withdraw from the event.

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