Last month Maryland State YABA conducted its third annual 600 Club tournament at Brunswick Crown Lanes in Baltimore. Forty youth bowlers from the Baltimore, Western Maryland, Eastern Shore, Mid-Maryland and Cecil-Harford YABA associations competed for a $200 scholarship and plaques.
Bill Little of Brunswick Columbia produced a six-game qualifying total of 1,362, an average of 227; that made him second seed to Adam Brodie's 1,375 total pinfall.
The three other tenpin bowlers to make the stepladder finals were: J.M. Sites of Western Maryland (1,361), Justin Lewis of Brunswick Perry Hall (1,285) and Ryan Linkous of Country Club (1,244).
L In the first roll-off game, Linkous defeated Lewis, 193-182.
Sites defeated Linkous, 245-185 to meet Little. Sites bowled a 277 game to Little's 237.
L In the championship game, Sites fired a 238 to Brodie's 187.
In the qualifying round, Little started with a 165 game; in the next five games he averaged 239.4 to achieve his second-seeded spot, just 13 pins behind the leader.
Little, 16, lives in Columbia and bowls in the Saturday morning YABA league at Brunswick Columbia lanes.
He carries an average in the 190s; his career high game is a 279 and he's already eligible for the 700 Club with a 710 series.
One of the things that make bowling a great sport is the simple fact that with the handicap system beginners can excel.
Team No. 3 in the Prep Division (9-11 years old) of the YABA league at Columbia lanes put together a nearly impossible record before winning its league.
The team -- Noam Kowitt, D.J. Damron, Amber Parlett, Erika Pierson and Tabitha Lanning -- was the last team assembled from bowlers who were not assigned to teams.
The last-minute collection of young tenpin bowlers stepped onto the lanes and won 44 games without a single defeat.
And every single player on Team No. 3 was a first-time league bowler.
One Brooklyn too many
Reggie Cornish came close to the elusive perfect game.
"And I had the 700 set in my hands," he said. "My first game was in the 240s, then I had the 298 and all I had to do was hit my average for the 700."
That happened in the Summer Thursday Doubles league at Brunswick Normandy last month. Before that night, Cornish had a 266 game for his career high.
"I don't power the ball," the right-hander said. "I hit about the 9 or 10 board, so mostly I'm down and in."
Throwing a 16-pound Purple Rhino, Cornish hit eight strikes.
"Then in the ninth I crossed for a Brooklyn [strike], got lucky in the 10th frame with a bad Brooklyn, got another Brooklyn for the 11th strike and, with the last ball, crossed the head again," Cornish said. "That time I didn't get lucky and two pins stood."
The result: 298 and a great chance for the 700 set.
"That last game I just fell off the table I guess," he said. "And I really wanted that 700."
For now, Cornish will have to settle for a career high series of 696.
Carole Malinowski, manager at Brunswick Normandy, wants to remind everyone that the new tenpin season is approaching rapidly.
"Many bowlers, even old-timers, don't seem to realize that they don't have to be part of a team to sign up for league play," Malinowski said. "If an individual wants to bowl all they have to do is drop in and talk to us. We'll get them on a team for the coming season."