Joe Sennett Jr. had a simple explanation for recent success.
"I was throwing a pretty good hook that day," he said.
Sennett, who won two tournaments in in less than a month, lives in Sykesville with his parent, Kim and Joe Sr., and his brother, Brian.
Joe Jr. bowls in the Saturday morning Young American Bowling Alliance (YABA) league in the prep division; preps are 9 to 12 years old.
Joe Jr., 10, coached by both his father and his mother, throws a 10-pound Hammer Lite bowling ball. Mother and father are YABA coaches at Brunswick Normandy. Joe Sr. averages 199, Kim carries a 155.
Joe Jr. and Brian are following a family trend.
"I was a little kid when my father first took me to Normandy to bowl in the YABA," Joe Sr. said. "As soon as they were able to throw a ball, I started bringing my sons."
The early start is paying off; Joe Jr., on the strange -- to him -- lanes of Country Club lanes in Baltimore County was faced with the daunting task of bowling with three Professional Bowlers Association touring players in the Greater Baltimore Open PBA Provident Bank Youth Pro-Am.
How nervous would you be if you had to bowl with PBA stars Don Moser, Danny Wiseman and Brad Hoffman?
Joe Jr. calmly fired games of 169, 237 and 232 to win the event and take home the trophy.
Just a few weeks earlier, at the Coca-Cola tournament at Brunswick Columbia, Joe Jr. shot games of 144, 25 and 160 to capture the Prep Division first-place trophy in that event.
Brian Sennett, almost 8, is a Bantam Division player with almost three years' experience on the tenpin lanes and is emerging as a superior bowler.
On Week 21 of the 1994-95 season, Brian posted scores that were 26 pins over his average to be crowned the Bowler of the Week at Normandy lanes.
Bowler of the Week
Matt Shaw, 13, started bowling tenpins at Brunswick Normandy in the YABA Saturday morning league last fall.
"My friend at school, Adam [McDonald] asked me if I wanted to bowl with him on Saturday mornings," Shaw said. "So, I said 'OK, I'll try it,' and my parents said okay and that's how I got started."
He lives in Sykesville and with his parents, Robin and David Shaw -- both non-bowlers -- and is a seventh-grader at Sykesville Middle School.
"It's really been a positive experience for him," Robin Shaw said. "And I think it's wonderful, the friends he's made, the sportsmanlike conduct of the other bowlers. It's wonderful. I never realized that bowling was so much fun for the youngsters. It's great the way that they all root for each other. And, it's great, that nobody has to sit out -- they all play."
And Matt is playing well.
"When i first started, I had a hard time just keeping the ball on the lane," he said. "Now it keeps geting easier."
Matt began his tenpin career with a 60 average. In a few months that's been increased to 80.
In Week 21 of the season, he had games of 98, 110 and 105 for a three-game series that was 70 pins over his average at that time. On that day, his 110 game and series of 313 were career-highs. That was good enough to make him the Division II Bowler of the Week. Not bad -- from novice to champion in less than a season.
Guess what? Matt's sister, 9-year-old Emily, can't wait to get on the lanes on Saturday mornings at Normandy.
Bowling and betting
Brunswick Columbia will be starting The Casino League shortly. It will be on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
At the end of the summer, the league goes on a day trip to Atlantic City.
For information: 381--7750.