Schenectady’s Jodi Musto has been one of top female bowlers in the Capital Region for several decades, but despite all of her accolades, she never tried to qualify for the Huck Finn Barb Leicht Bowers Ladies Classic until this season.
Now, she wishes she hadn’t waited so long.
The 45-year-old left-hander made some key adjustments in the finals and captured the unofficial area scratch women’s championship Sunday at Towne Bowling Academy with a 228-197 victory over Colonie’s Marissa Martinek.
Musto was clean in the finals, and used a three-bagger in frames four through six to build a comfortable lead over Martinek, who left a big split in the second frame.
But Martinek, a former NCAA All-America at Morehead State and Arkansas State, rolled three straight strikes in the same frames as Musto to remain in contention.
Martinek couldn’t make up the difference, however, and Musto’s double in the 10th closed the door.
“I was struggling a bit on the right lane. My ball was going long. On the left lane, I had a pretty good shot,” she said.
“I was concerned about going long on that lane, and I made the right adjustment, but then I made a poor shot. At least it didn’t hurt me that much.”
The internal auditor for the Golub Corporation said she’s happy that she finally gave the Huck Finn women’s scratch event a try.
“This is my first time. I had some conflicts before, like a knee injury one year, and I was going back to school [at Siena] another time,” she said.
“This tournament has a great field, and you can’t let up on any shot. It was especially tough because they didn’t use a house condition. Being the only left-hander can help you sometimes and hurt you other times. I just tried to make the right moves.
“I think I need some newer equipment the way I was leaving some of those 7-pins, “ she said. “Maybe I can use some of this money [$1,000 first-place check] to buy some.”
Musto averages 226 in both the City League at Towne Bowling Academy and a classic league at Town ’N Country Lanes. She said her season has been OK, but nothing spectacular until this week.
But Musto has been one of the most decorated female bowlers around. She not only won the New York State Queens title but was also a national high-average champion.
Martinek, 24, was a student of the late Barb Leicht Bowers, an area legend in women’s bowling who won on the Ladies Professional Bowlers Tour.
Martinek was a member of the 2005-06 New York state champion Colonie High School team. She has five 300 games and two 800 triples. Musto, one of the nation’s leaders in perfect games for women, has more than 40 300 games and nine 800 triples.
In the semifinals, Musto defeated 21-year-old Devan Hodlik of Watervliet, 224-216, while Martinek stopped 31-year-old former Huck Finn women’s champion Kate Messemer of Troy, 237-210.
Also taped Sunday night was the Huck Finn Over-Under 50 doubles championship. John Riozzi of Catskill and Ed Czyzewski from Philmont defeated Scott Rogers of Rensselaer and Paul Dumas of East Greenbush, 269-237.
The Barb Leicht Bowers Ladies Classic will be televised Nov. 27 on WXXA Fox23 at 11 a.m. The Over-Under 50 doubles championship will be televised Nov. 20.
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