In the Pocket: Sager treats her juniors like family

Sharon Sager considers the thousands of junior bowlers she’s coached over the years to be part of


Sharon Sager considers the thousands of junior bowlers she’s coached over the years to be part of one big, happy family.

Sager currently runs the junior program at Boulevard Bowl, but she’s been a junior coach in this area for nearly 25 years, and she doesn’t know what she’d do without her “kids.”

“I love working with the kids. I try to be a mentor and a role model,” she said. “It’s important for me to give back to the sport. It’s dominated Doug’s [her husband] and my life for years. I also do a lot of community work. Being involved in bowling is a lot more than just throwing the ball down the lane for me.”

Sager started coaching the jun­iors at Sportsman’s Bowl after Jan Allen got her involved. After more than 10 years at Sportsman’s, she moved over to the original Rolling Greens on Hamburg Street. When the roof collapsed and that establishment was forced to close, Sager swiched to Boulevard, where she’s been for the last nine years.

“I try to be really involved with our junior program, and I love it,” Sager said. “I send cards to the bowlers, and I try to be a cheerleader. I’m there when they hit some bumps in the road and don’t succeed the way they want to. But nothing beats a smile on a kid’s face when they finally get a strike.”

Sager said she’s been coaching so long that even her kids are bringing their kids for her to coach.

“Sometimes, we get them when they are 5 years old, and some stay until they’re 21,” she said. “It’s special when you’re part of their journey. It really is like a big family for me. The kids feel secure when they’re bowling with us.”

An executive secretary for Global Research, Sager also is heavily involved with numerous charitable organizations around the area, including the City Mission, SAFE, a youth-oriented organization that helps keep area youths off the streets, and the Carver Comm­unity Center.

“We’re able to do some things to help the kids, and that’s always been very important to me,” she said.”

When she’s not helping the jun­iors at Boulevard, Sager enjoys competing. She originally threw a backup ball until her husband taught her how to turn the ball correctly.

“Doug got me started about 35 years ago,” she said. “I can’t believe that I used to throw a two-step backup ball until Doug got me straightened out. It took a lot of work.”

Sager has averaged better than 200 for more than 10 consecutive seasons and owns five 300 games. Her high triple is a 792, and her best average is 218.

“I’m still trying to get my first 800,” she said.

Sager used to bowl in the Women’s City league, but now competes in the City Catholic league Thursday nights at Boulevard.

A Schenectady-Scotia Women’s Bowling Association Hall of Famer, Sager was the local association secretary for the Junior Bowling

Association for eight years. She was part of the SSWBA City Tourn­ament championship team five times and owns six singles and all-events titles to go along with four doubles championships. She also teamed up with Carol Crandall to win a state doubles crown.

“My passion is coaching,” she said. “It’s extremely important for me to give back to this sport.”

Sager said she wouldn’t be able to do as much with the junior program without the help of Boulevard proprietor Mike Scaccia.

“What Mike and the Scaccia family do for the sport of bowling is unmatched,” she said. “I can’t thank Mike and his staff enough for all of their support to our juniors.”

Sager also credited her husband with teaching her the game and helping her to move to another level.

“My bowling accomplishments wouldn’t have been possible without all of the hard work that Doug did over the years with my game,” she said. “I wouldn’t have been able to spend so much time away from home or so much time doing paperwork for the junior bowling program without his support.”

Vikings in nationals

Although it’s somewhat rare for two-year schools to battle with the elite four-year programs, both the Hudson Valley Community College men and women will be competing in the U.S. Bowling Congress Intercollegiate Team Championships in El Paso, Texas, April 14-17.

The HVCC men, led by senior Alex Weglarz of Schaghticoke, finished fourth in the sectionals at Allentown, Pa. They were runner-up in the NJCAA Championships. Other bowlers on the locally dom­inated team are Bill and John Pulver of Colonie, Tom Egan of Colonie, Dan DeRizzo and Will Coons of Guilderland, Albany’s Brandon Davis and Steve Black of Lansingburgh.

This will be the first time since 1987 that the Vikings compete in the nationals.

The HVCC women, who won the NJCAA Championships, will be making their fifth trip to the nationals. They finished seventh in the sectionals.

The HVCC women’s roster includes Watervliet’s Devan Hodlik and Lansingburgh’s Alicia Brisson, the only two seniors, along with freshmen Megan Mormino of Niskayuna, Stephanie Schabheti of Lansingburgh, Nicole Sheldon of Columbia, Rebecca Duncan of Voorheesville and Megan Caswell of Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk. Joe Prest is the program’s bowling coach.

Strikes and spares

* The eighth annual Joe Don­ato Scratch Singles tournament winds up this weekend. There will be qualifiers tonight at 10 at Pin-O-Rama Lanes in Utica, Saturday at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. at Redwood Lanes and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at Redwood, followed by the semifinals at 3 p.m. and the finals at around 5. Entry fee is $50, and top prize is $3,600. One in five bowlers advance to the semifinals. Call Tom Donato at 496-7812 for reservations or more information.

* The 77th annual Schenectady Bowling Association City Champ­ionship continues April 3 at 2 p.m. at Sportsman’s Bowl.

* The 15th annual Blizzard Bowl continues Sunday with an 11:45 a.m. squad at Boulevard Bowl. Entry fee for the four-person team event is $60 per team. Bowlers can compete in optional singles ($5) or optional doubles ($10 per team). Top prize for the team event is $2,000. A continental breakfast is included in the entry fee. Call Boulevard at 374-4171 for more information.

* Ursula Pasquerella fired a 720 to win the Open Division in the Electric City 600 Club last week at Sportsman’s Bowl. Robin Fredenburgh (700), Pat Boguzski (695) and Laura Yager (633) rounded out the top four. Michele Merritt took Div­ision A with a 638, while Crystal Slater (642), Tabetha Fredenburgh (635), Melissa Crandall (609) and Chris Knutti (567) excelled in Div­ison B. The top three in Division C were Sandra Bowden (547), Glo Perryman (523) and Joy Hall (512), while the best three in Division D were Mary Kavanagh (499), Connie Nagy (483) and Marion Champagne (451). Forty-three women competed.

* The Schenectady-Scotia USBC Women’s Bowling Association will hold its annual meeting March 28 at 1 p.m. at Sportsman’s Bowl. All leagues are requested to send a representative. On the agenda will be the election of officers and directors, the election of delegates and alternates to the state and national conventions, and the adoption of the budget, as well as other assoc­iation business. Light frefreshments will be served.

* John Layou fired his first 700 triple, a 265-702, in the Gazette league at Sportsman’s Bowl last week.

* Doug Hopkins tossed his 10th career 800 series, an 807, at Imper­ial Lanes in Amsterdam Monday night.

* Kate Messemer fired a 752 scratch triple to win the A Div­ision of the Troy Women’s 600 Club tournament at Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy. Misty Yando (589 in Division B), Tracey Cancilla (564 in Division C) and Carol Aldrich (481 in Division D) rounded out the scratch winners. Kelly Bristol shot a 616, with handicap, to win the 500 Club title, while the 1,100 Club team crown went to Bristol and Messemer, who combined to shoot a 1,227 with handicap.

* Albany’s Chris Fedden earned $950 and was the top local finisher at the PBA East Region Mount Greylock Open. Former PBA touring pro Brian Leclair of Athens took home $700, while Tom Yadanza of Saratoga Springs, Nick Miseno of Amsterdam, Bob Kavanagh of Clifton Park and Jeff Voght of Canaj­oharie each earned $400. Len Reyngoudt of Catskill earned $250.

* Schenectady’s Brendan Horan (seventh place, $500) was the top local competitor at the annual Super Bud Bowl in Oswego. Also cashing were R.J. Martinez of Ballston Spa ($300), Joe Mazuryk of Duanesburg ($250), Dan Furman of Glenville ($200), Nick Galusha of Schenectady ($200), Nunzi Manuli of Albany ($200), Jeff Young of Delmar ($200), Steve Wagoner of Broadalbin ($150) and Dustin Paupst of Scotia ($150).

* The Menagerie league will hold the USBC Bowl for the Cure/Susan G. Komen tournament March 26 at Boulevard Bowl. Bowling will be from 6-9 p.m., with participants bowling for dollars in pledges. There will be raffles and several prize drawings. Call Marie Taber at 765-9177 for more information.

* The annual Schenectady-Scotia Women’s Bowling Assoc­iation City Championship will be held at Boulevard Bowl April 26-30 and May 4-7. Entry forms were sent to each league secretary. If you did not receive your envelope, contact Anne Torak at 356-3281. Payment must be in by March 31.

* The Capital District Youth Scholarship Tour Kickoff Tourn­ament will be held May 15 at Town ‘n Country Lanes. Entry fee is $25. Qualifying will consist of four games, with one in three bowlers advancing to the semifinals, where they will bowl three match games. The top four bowlers then advance to a stepladder final. Call 393-8296 for more information.

* The 18th annual Charlie Bechard Memorial Tournament finishes up at Green Island Lanes Saturday with squads at 1 and 3 p.m. Entry fee is $20, and handicap is 100 percent of 220. The tournament is open to all male bowlers 50 and over. There will be three divisions: Class C (50-59), Class B (60-69) and Class A (70 and over). Call 273-2322 for more information.

* Towne Bowling Academy will hold a Saturday Sport Classic next season with three-person teams competing on four challenging lane patterns. The league will bowl for 28 weeks and is limited to the first eight teams that register. Entry fee will be $23. Call 355-3939 for more information.

* Sportsman’s Bowl will conduct a 10-week PBA Experience league beginning May 13 at 7 p.m. Entry fee is $10 per week. Call Sportsman’s at 355-4330 for more information.

* The Burnt Hills Lanes Tavern Tournament will be held Sunday at 1 p.m. Entry fee is $125 per five-person team. First place is $500, based on 20 teams. A hot and cold buffet will be included. Call 399-8421 for reservations or more information.

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