The ultimate perfectionist almost recorded a perfect triple this week.
Amsterdam’s Nick Miseno, a regional pro who has remained among the best scratch bowlers in the Capital Region for the last two decades, rolled an 878 triple Monday night in the City league at Towne Bowling Academy. Miseno’s sparkling effort began with a 279. He continued his memorable performance with a perfect game and then finished it off with a 299. A pair of stubborn 10-pins prevented him from becoming the first area bowler to post a 900 triple.
“Never in a million years did I think I would be the guy who would shoot a score like that. I don’t usually have that kind of carry,” said the 40-year-old Amsterdam High School teacher.
Miseno said it is quite unusual for him to shoot extremely high scores in league conditions.
“One of the biggest things when I bowl league is that my focus isn’t there,” he said. “It gets frustrating from a personal standpoint, because I know I’m better than that. As far as my mental game goes, I’ve always believed that it’s one of the strongest parts of my game, but for some reason, when I’m bowling in the league, that focus isn’t there.”
But Monday night was different.
“I was loose. I just let the ball go,” he said. “I’ve been working on some things to get more consistency with my release, and I guess that they started to click. I’ve been trying to get the ball off my hand clean and solid.”
Almost every shot was perfect for Miseno.
“I started off with the first five strikes in the first game, and then I left a half-pocket 10-pin,” he said. “I struck out for the 279. In the next game, my first nine shots were all 10 pins in the pit. In the 10th frame, I had a long wait, because I’m the anchor bowler on my team. I was fortunate to get a good break on my first shot in the 10th, but the other two shots were buried for the 300 game.”
When the strikes continued in the third game, all Miseno could do was shake his head.
“I didn’t expect that kind of carry to continue,” he said. “But at the same time, I wasn’t really thinking about that. Our team has struggled all year, so all I was trying to do was stay loose and have some fun. It was just one shot a time for me. I got the first six or seven strikes in the third game, and I just laughed. Ed McGaffin gave me a look, and I just shrugged my shoulders. I wasn’t nervous until the 10th frame, and then I was more nervous than I’ve been in years.”
Miseno, whose previous high triple was an 824, took a deep breath and got ready for the final frame of his match.
“The first shot in the 10th frame was my best shot of the game. It was dead solid,“ he said. “On my second shot, I missed in a little. I moved a little left with me feet on the approach, because I know my tendencies. But I caught a half-pocket swish shot. On my last shot, I left a weak 10-pin. That’s all I left the whole night, just two 10-pins. It was amazing.”
Miseno’s teammates — McGaffin, Steve Wagoner and Jim Geiger — kept him loose.
“I had the same demeanor all night. The guys always razz me. I take it for what it is. I always have plenty of fun with those guys, but they also know I’m serious to a fault.
“I admit that I’m a perfectionist when I bowl. I struggle with my game to repeat my shots. I haven’t been that consistent this year, but in the last few weeks, I worked on a few things. I’m more of a feel player, and the things I worked on were pretty simple.”
By dropping the ring finger on his grip, he was able to get out of the ball more cleanly. He also put some protective tape around his ring finger to help get a little more lift.
“I can’t believe the difference after I made those two changes,” he said.
“You know. It’s kind of funny, because Geiger told me that he thought the pins were heavy the other night. I thought they were, too, but they kept falling for me.”
Miseno’s bowling resume is impressive. He has 56 300 games, 14 800 triples and four victories on the PBA East Region tour.
“I take a lot of pride in my regional wins,” he said. “Those wins were against some extremely tough competition.”
Miseno also has 15 Northern Bowlers Association titles to go along with two Huck Finn doubles wins and a pair of Huck Finn singles triumphs.
“I had a lot of fun the other night,” he said. “Geiger mentioned to me that it was good to see me play more of my own game, which is down and in. I was repeating my shots, and my timing was dead on. I used a ball, the Roto Grip Grand Illusion, that doesn’t hit that hard. It goes straighter, and it rolls smoothly. It’s the kind of ball that I could play off the dry area of the lane with and not have it overreact.”
CAMPS ARE COMING
Struggling with your game? Thinking about raising your bowling IQ? Maybe it’s time to try one of the Capital Region summer bowling camps that are endorsed by the Northeast Bowling Proprietors of New York.
Presented by Peggy Were and Marvin Sontz, the 22nd annual Summer Bowling Camps will be divided into three distinct classes to fit your age, ability and desire to improve. All camps are structured and incorporate a progressive teaching system designed to improve bowling skills and increase your knowledge of the game. Programs include pointers on personal timing, how to play a line or angle, spare systems, the mental game, adjusting to lane conditions, equipment and video tape analysis.
The Youth Camp, for ages 8-12, will be held July 6-10 at Sportsman’s Bowl or July 27-31 at Del Lanes. The cost is $150. The camps will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and include lunch.
The 3B Camp, designed for senior, daytime or recreational bowlers, will be held July 21-Aug. 11 at Sporstman’s Bowl or July 16- Aug. 6 at Del Lanes. The four-week classes will be two hours a day. The cost is $80.
The Academy, for bowlers age 12 and up who want an intense training course, will be held May 5 through June 23 at Uncle Sam Lanes, June 8 through July 27 at Del Lanes and June 10 through July 29 at Boulevard Bowl. The eight-week clinic will be held two hours a day from 7 to 9 p.m. The cost is $150.
Were has 40 years of teaching experience and has worked with top bowling instructors like Dick Ritger and Fred Borden. Other instructors include Sontz, the Northeast Bowling Proprietors of New York president, Columbia High School coach Bill Neumann, Denise DeCarlo-Johnson, Towne Bowling Academy pro shop owner Bill Nolan and Albany Bowling Association Hall of Famer Ron Priester.
Call Were (768-2895) or Sontz (439-2224) or clickhere for more information.
Maybe you’ll finally see me at one of these camps. I need all the help I can get.
STRIKES & SPARES
— Jason Baker of Sharon Springs, a left-hander who won the U.S. Open Local Qualifier this year at Tippy Lanes and Spare Time Latham, rolled a 300 in his first U.S. Open appearance last week at Brunswick Carolier Lanes in North Brunswick, N.J. The 33-year-old Baker earned $1,100 for finishing 101st overall, and he also collected an extra $100 bonus for the perfect game. Exempt PBA Tour bowler Brian LeClair of Athens was 70th and took home $1,165, while Troy’s Ron Gardner was the only other local bowler in the field who finished in the top 200 out of a field of 415. He was 138th.
— The first qualifier for the Northeastern Bowling Proprietors of New York/Huck Finn’s Jack Scaccia Sr. Memorial will be Saturday at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at Alpha Lanes in Troy. Only bowlers with six or more Huck Finn tournament credits are eligible. The top prize will be $4,000.
— Redwood Lanes’ annual Tavern Tournament will be held April 25 at 2:30 p.m. Entry fee is $115 per five-person team. One in five teams will cash, with a top prize of $500 guaranteed, based on 24 teams. Handicap will be 100 percent of 220. Call 869-3581 for more information.
— Redwood also announced two summer leagues. A Monday Yankee Stadium Mixed League will run for 13 weeks, beginning April 20, at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $30 per couple. A bus trip to Yankee Stadium on July 18 is included. Redwood’s Adult-Child league will also run for 13 weeks, starting April 22, at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $8 per person.
— The 76th annual Schenectady USBC Bowling Association Championship Tournament will be held May 3-17 at Burnt Hills Lanes. Entry fees are $80 per four-person team, $40 per doubles tandem, $20 for singles and $5 for all-events. Handicap will be 90 percent of 240. Top handicap team prize will be $1,200, based on 120 entries. There will also be a scratch team event with a top prize of $600, based on 120 entries. Call tournament directors Steve Renzi (399-2942) or Lloyd Denny (355-5632) for more information.
— The annual Schenectady Scotia USBC Women’s Bowling Association City Tournament will be held the last week of this month for teams and the first week of May for doubles and singles Contact Anne Torak at 356-3281 for entry forms. Winners are invited to the annual awards dinner set for May 28 at the Elks Lodge on Curry Road in Rotterdam.
— Rolling Greens will host the McPhail Children’s Fund Benefit No Tap tournament April 17-18. Entry fee is $60 per five-person team. Entry forms are available at all local bowling centers. For more information, call Rolling Greens at 381-4848.
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