Gordon, 79, is no ‘flash’ in the pan

Photo providedJoe Gordon shot a 702 triple in the doubles event at the New York State Senior Championships last weekend in Utica.

Photo provided
Joe Gordon shot a 702 triple in the doubles event at the New York State Senior Championships last weekend in Utica.

Categories: -The Daily Gazette, Sports

Joe “Flash” Gordon looks at life a little differently than many bowlers who appear in this space. The 79-year-old retired postal employee is still conquering several new challenges at an age when most of us would be slowing down, not speeding up.

He’s been a martial arts student and instructor in several disciplines for 60 years, and was a member of the Professional Bowlers Association Senior Tour, now the PBA50 Tour, for a couple of seasons. He once raced stock cars and motorcycles, was a three-time all-star in the Sportsman’s Fast Pitch Softball League, competing against the famed Eddie Feigner’s King and His Court twice, and also founded a tri-state basketball league for local community centers. He also competed in the Senior National Basketball Tournament.

The multi-talented Gordon was born in Troy, but was a longtime Schenectady resident until moving to Latham recently. His skills aren’t restricted to athletic endeavors. He was both a professional singer and a mobile disc jockey, a part-time job he still enjoys today. He was involved in the New York State Special Olympics for more than two decades and has been an avid spokesman promoting intergroup and interracial understanding in numerous platforms, including chairing the Equal Employment Opportunity and Employee Involvement Program while working for the United States Post Office.

Gordon, who recently took his daughters and granddaughter skydiving to face their fears — yes, skydiving — is even training to get his pilot’s license and estimates he could have it next spring.

Those are just a few of the challenges Gordon has met over his long and successful string of careers, but his recent bowling performance is just another example of his tenacity and dedication to one of his passions.

Last weekend, the Linton High School graduate fired a 702 triple in the doubles event at the New York State Senior Championships in Utica. Not bad for a near octogenarian.

But the real story is that he recently changed his entire game around after almost giving it up completely.

“It’s a process I’m going through,” Gordon said. “I’ve been bowling a certain way for a very long time, but I recently changed my delivery just this year. I’ve been working on it for four weeks. Last Saturday was very interesting, because I was throwing the ball very differently than I have my entire life.”

Gordon explained that he was in a tremendous slump with his game and felt it was time to try something different.

“I was going to quit bowling,” Gordon admitted. “For as long as I’ve been bowling, I always thought I was staying behind the ball with my release, but I really wasn’t. I was pulling my fingers up and not staying behind it. I started watching the pro bowlers on TV this summer, and I started paying attention to their hands. I started thinking about changing my game.”

Gordon said it took a couple of weeks to figure out his new release, and it finally all came together in Utica while bowling with good friend Steve Fawcett.

“It finally all fell into place after about four weeks,” Gordon explained. “I told Steve that I hoped I wouldn’t throw him in, but that I had to give this new release a try. Last year, it took me until February to get my first 200 game. This year, I’ve already thrown seven.”

Gordon hopes his effort was good enough to cash in the ongoing event.

He credits his long association with the martial arts for his athletic ability even at his advanced age.

“It’s because of martial arts that I can make this change,” he said. “It’s a matter of being better. Putting age aside, it’s something I can do.”

Gordon has competed in his share of major leagues down through the years, including the Action Lanes Classic, the ABC Classic and the Playdium Classic in the Albany USBC Bowling Association, as well as the Sportsman’s Majors (his current league), the Tuesday Night Classic and the Vitalo Classic in the Schenectady USBC Bowling Association. While in the Vitalo Classic, he created a league website. He still enjoys organizing group trips for tournaments involving many of his friends.

He’s recorded three perfect games, owns a high triple of 797 at the now-defunct Revere Lanes and posted a career-best 217 average in his youth.

Gordon dabbled on the PBA Senior Tour, and despite struggling, learned a lot about the game.

“[Former PBA standout] Teata Semiz once told me to throw out all of my equipment because it wasn’t any good,” he recalled. “I was a league bowler trying to bowl with the pros. My equipment wasn’t geared to that level of competition, so I went and got all new equipment.

“Was I successful? No, not financially when it came to making money or making cuts, but if you’re talking about what it did for my game and how it changed me from that point on, then I would say that whole process was a success. I was around a lot of great bowlers, and I learned a lot from them. Being able to talk to them and get their advice after we got done bowling was definitely a success.”

Gordon stressed once again how martial arts have shaped all the successes in his life, including in bowling.

“Martial arts have been my life,” he said. “I trained in the East, and I competed there, as well as in the United States. I’ve also taught many students. It’s kept me fit, and has done so much more for me. People don’t understand martial arts. They see all the kicking and punching, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. It’s really about the development of the individual. Your goal in martial arts is to perfect yourself. In reality you are never going to perfect yourself. But it’s about the journey. It’s the same thing in bowling. I never thought I would be a 300 bowler, but the goal is to keep trying to get better at everything you do.”

Gordon isn’t afraid of much in his life, except maybe one thing.

“I have a fear that I will become complacent with everything in my life,” he said. “That’s why I’m so grateful and blessed to do the things I have done. For me, I’m just an average guy, but I’ve done things in my life that are a blessing.”

STRIKES & SPARES

Savannah Swiatocha won her first JSBC junior title at Auburn Lanes in Auburn, Massachusetts, last weekend. She led qualifying in the under-15 girls division, and then won the stepladder finals.

Bill Treadwell shot a handicap four-game series of 1,094 to beat a field of 50 in the first Town & Country sweeper of the season. Kevin Billetts Jr. was second with a 1,049, which also was the top scratch score. The next event in the series is Nov. 15.

The next Sportsman’s Bowl Sweeper/Eliminator is set for Nov. 7 at 2 p.m. Entry fee will be $30, and first place will be $350, based on 40 entries. There will be a three-game qualifier, followed by another game that will cut the field in half. The field will continue to be cut in half until there are two bowlers remaining for the finals. For more information, contact Sportsman’s Bowl at 518-355-4330 or Chris Fawcett at 518-852-9372.

Sportsman’s Bowl will be hosting a series of singles and doubles junior scholarship tournaments called the Empire State Youth Open. Entry fee will be $40 per event. They will begin at 10 a.m. each day. The schedule will be this Saturday, Nov. 8, Nov. 29, Dec. 20, Jan. 10, Jan. 31 and Feb. 21. For more information, contact Sportsman’s Bowl at 518-355-4330. Checks can be mailed to Empire State Youth Open, c/o Steve Fawcett, 1321 Princetown Road, Schenectady NY 12306.

The Albany TNBA’s Trio Tournament will be held Saturday and Sunday at Towne Bowling Academy. Bowlers must be Albany TNBA members to compete. Entry fee is $90 per team. First place is $1,500, based on 80 entries. There will be optional singles, both handicap and scratch, for $10. The average cap per team will be 690. Squad times will be 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, contact Robert Danzy (518-507-2218) or Joyce Cade (518-424-2848).

Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy will host a Halloween Match Play Tournament Oct. 31 at 9 a.m. The 64-bowler bracket event will have a $90 entry fee. In the first round, bowlers square off in a three-game total pins match, with the winners moving on. Win one match and you receive half your entry fee back. In the remaining matches, you must win two of three games to advance. For information, call Uncle Sam Lanes at 518-271-7800.

The Frantic Junior Scratch Challenge will be held Nov. 15 at Sportsman’s Bowl. The format for this youth event will be five games of qualifying and three games of match play. More information about the tournament will be coming out shortly.

The first Amateur League Bowlers Association of New York tournament of the season is scheduled for Nov. 1 at Sportsman’s Bowl. Entry fee will be $50 ($35 if received by Monday). Only bowlers with averages less than 215 are eligible. So far, 68 bowlers have established averages in the A.L.B.A.N.Y. data base. Tournament organizers intend to add singles tournaments in January, March and April, and a doubles tournament is planned in December at Spare Times Lanes in Latham. There will be a $10 membership fee that will be waived for the first event but will need to be paid by the second tournament. Send checks to Jeff Segel, P.O. Box 11093, Loudonville NY 12211. For more information, contact Jim Burton at 518-209-4748.

MAJOR BOWLING

Tom Earl shot a pair of perfect games en route to an 817 triple and a 1,117 four-game series, Scott Rogers ripped a 299 game, an 827 triple and a 1,061 series, Chuckie Schissler recorded a 300 game and an 814 triple during a 1,009, Cliff Ruth banged out a 280-1,007 and Janelle Irwin hammered a 279-955 on a high-scoring Reis Group Kim Brown Memorial Mixed Doubles league card Wednesday night at Towne Bowling Academy. Nick Barnes and Joe Wolf also had 300 games.

Joel Donato ripped a perfect game during a 799 triple, Marty Capullo Jr. fired a 277-795 and R.J. Martinez rolled a 300 game in the Reis Group Kim Brown Memorial City League Monday night at Towne Bowling Academy. Liz Kuhlkin led the women with a 256-708.

Jay Diamond delivered a 269-762, Doug Semerad recorded a 279-757, Fred McMahon shot a 265-757 and Mike Guidarelli rolled a 278-751 to pace the Sportsman’s Majors Monday night at Sportsman’s Bowl.

Ryan Karabin produced a 279-1,018 four-game series to edge P.J. Derenzo (279-1,004) for the featured performance in the Frank DePalma Boulevard Classic Tuesday night at Boulevard Bowl. Spark Derenzo fired a 279-983.

Dave Pangburn hammered a 1,022 four-game series to pace the Amsterdam Men’s City League Monday night at Kelly’s Imperial Lanes. Dan Bryk added a 299 game en route to a 966 series.

REIS GROUP KIM BROWN MEMORIAL CITY LEAGUE

Standings

J&F Lawn Care 13-2, DeCrescente Dist. 11-4, 20 North 11-4, Vito Sindoni 10-5, Syron’s Meat Market 9-6, TSS Printing & Awards 9-6, Towne Bowling Academy 8-7, Team 4 8-7, Downs Roofing 7-8, Team 5 4-11, D&D Lawncare 4-11, Action Bowling Supply 4-11, Home Tech Elect. 4-11, Rollarama 3-12.

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Match summaries

Action Bowling Supply (0)

Rit Fazzone 122-124-180 — 426, Bob Messick 227-227-234 — 688, Natasha Bidwell 195-208-245 — 648, Matt Fazzone 184-268-218 — 670. Totals: 728-827-877 — 2,432.

Vito Sindoni (3)

Scott Chastenay 192-207-206 — 605, Mike Dicerbo 216-224-217 — 657, Rich Strath 258-194-235 — 687, Joe VanDerLinden 145-279-236 — 660. Totals: 811-904-894 — 2,609.

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Downs Roofing (3)

Chris Tinkle 237-230-169 — 636, Jeremy Clute 203-198-207 — 608, Ryan Karabin 190-264-211 — 665, Billy Wigand 241-235-237 — 713. Totals: 871-927-824 — 2,622.

Rollarama (0)

Ryan Gahan 199-234-213 — 646, Keith Lawyer 203-223-204 — 630, Dan Rotter 179-223-201 — 603, Tony Palumbo 236-211-170 — 617. Totals: 817-891-788 — 2,496.

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TSS Printing & Awards (3)

Dwayne Coonradt 257-226-257 — 740, Paul Dumas 216-227-225 — 668, Rick Speckhardt 190-224-267 — 681, Steve Wagoner 245-279-236 — 760. Totals: 908-956-985 — 2,849.

Home Tech Elect. (0)

Austin Zullo 220-229-226 — 675, Chuck Schissler 212-203-175 — 590, Ronnie Zadrozny 178-233-243 — 654, Gabe Criscuolo 209-244-179 — 626. Totals: 819-909-817 — 2,545.

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D&D Lawncare (1)

Karrie Blake 246-202-193 — 641, Laura Rotter 212-190-159 — 561, Tom Rogers 197-193-193 — 583, Patti Tenyenhuis 221-247-197 — 665. Totals: 876-832-742 — 2,450.

Team 5 (2)

Nick DiCerbo 194-191-194 — 579, Vinny Struffolino 236-224-191 — 651, Jackie Malone 257-193-196 — 646, Bob Faragon 202-213-219 — 634. Totals: 889-821-800 — 2,510.

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Syron’s Meat Market (0)

Ken Wilkins 213-232-226 — 671, Brandon Wolf 235-185-212 — 632, Don Herrington 245-256-198 — 699, Ken LaBelle Jr. 247-234-221 — 702. Totals: 940-907-857 — 2,704.

J&F Lawn Care (3)

Jason Brown 236-223-259 — 718, R.J. Martinez 300-233-189 — 722, Nick Stricos 230-248-229 — 707, Steve Hallenbeck 258-227-245 — 730. Totals: 1,024-931-922 — 2,877.

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DeCrescente Dist. (1)

Jessica Aiezza 244-218-223 — 685, Mark Kuhlkin 259-259-248 — 766, Scott Rogers 235-221-158 — 614, Liz Kuhlkin 224-228-256 — 708. Totals: 962-926-885 — 2,773.

Towne Bowling Academy (2)

Tom Earl 205-259-245 — 709, Tom DiBell 217-202-246 — 665, Marty Capullo Jr. 266-277-252 — 795, Debbie Capullo 234-222-238 — 694. Totals: 922-960-981 — 2,863.

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Team 4 (1)

Marc Fowler 134-246-185 — 565, Cassius Boyd 203-236-242 — 681, Chris Jones 267-194-245 — 706, Chad Propper 237-259-192 — 688. Totals: 841-935-864 — 2,640.

20 North (2)

Tommy Donato 213-256-244 — 713, Kenny Livengood 224-267-246 — 737, Joel Donato 268-231-300 — 799, Chris Radliff 224-129-227 — 580. Totals: 929-883-1,017 — 2,829.

SPORTSMAN’S MAJORS

Standings

Next Level Detailing 17-3, Muny Grille 15-5, Mike’s Hot Dogs 14-6, Rollin’ Smoke BBQ 13-7, Metroland Photo 12-8, Universal Auto Parts 11-9, Café One-Eleven 10-10, Bob’s Pro Shop 10-10, IDID 8-12, Klonowski’s Pro Shop 6-14, The Appliance Specialist 4-16, Team No. 12 0-20.

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Match summaries

Klonowski’s Pro Shop (0)

Ted Klonowski III 249-232-201 — 682, Jason Lott 191-233-223 — 647, Jackelynn Noble 171-170-209 — 550, Jim Petronis 258-224-199 — 681. Totals: 869-859-832 — 2,560.

Next Level Detailing (4)

Mike Guidarelli 278-236-237 — 751, Tom Siatkowski 225-279-246 — 750, Jim Parker 256-200-213 — 669, Matt Swiatocha 202-259-230 — 691. Totals: 961-974-926 — 2,861.

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Muny Grille (3)

Jay Diamond 237-269-256 — 762, Dave Bingham (absent) 213-213-213 — 639, John Musto Jr. 256-259-217 — 732, Jamie Diamond 192-222-28 — 632. Totals: 898-963-904 — 2,765.

Bob’s Pro Shop (0)

Fred McMahon 234-258-265 — 757, Earl Lawrence Jr. 268-186-215 — 669, Bob Tedesco Jr. 237-211-171 — 619, Mike Smith 216-191-185 — 592. Totals: 955-846-836 — 2,637.

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Rollin’ Smoke BBQ (1)

Bill Carl 259-206-214 — 679, Kalynn Carl 180-191-216 — 587, John Leone 263-212-222 — 697, Justin Carl 269-224-236 — 729. Totals: 971-833-888 — 2,692.

IDID (3)

Tony Fernandez 159-267-171 — 597, Flash Gordon 150-203-220 — 573, Mike Liberatore 215-186-217 — 618, A.J. Perone 183-233-214 — 630. Totals: 707-889-822 — 2,418.

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Mike’s Hot Dogs (1)

Doug Semerad 256-222-279 — 757, Tammy Sader 193-278-204 — 675, Rich Rogaski 204-232-257 — 693, Kevin Palmer 257-257-183 — 697. Totals: 910-989-923 — 2,822.

Universal Auto Parts (3)

Andy Smith 203-191-225 — 619, Bill Heaphy III 234-248-223 — 705, Chris Smith 248-224-2334 — 706, Chris Fedden 217-237-238 — 692. Totals: 902-900-920 — 2,722.

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Café One-Eleven (4)

Joe DiBiase 226-191-208 — 625, Joe O’Toole 203-202-168 — 573, Cory Buckley 195-209-216 — 620, Tyler Mochrie 227-223-258 — 708. Totals: 851-825-850 — 2,526.

Team No. 12 (0)

Jason Deitz 214-159-178 — 551, Ernest Laduke Jr. 151-140-178 — 469, Connor Shoemaker 191-199-187 — 577, Christian Chiarito 256-201-245 — 712. Totals: 822-699-788 — 2,309.

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The Appliance Specialist (0)

Melissa Bogholtz 202-191-197 — 590, Steve Fawcett 171-153-208 — 532, Zach Gravell 262-242-204 — 708, Chris Fawcett 279-235-235 — 749. Totals: 914-821-844 — 2,579.

Metroland Photo (4)

Lee Quivey 278-256-183 — 717, Steve Renzi 246-216-238 — 700, Mike Gallitelli 259-279-201 — 739, B.J. Smith Jr. 202-216-233 — 651. Totals: 985-967-855 — 2,807.

FRANK DePALMA BOULEVARD CLASSIC

Standings

Downs Roofing 27-3, Derenzo’s Tax Service 17-13, Masons Automotive 17-13, D.A. Parisi & Co. 15-15, Boulevard Bowl 10-20, Kalpro 5-25.

Match summaries

Kalpro (0)

Keith Lawyer 200-243-247-243 — 933, Cliff Ruth 223-167-223 — 613, Kyle Wilkins 190, Joe Carusone 176-199-221-170 — 766. Totals: 566-665-635-636 — 2,502.

Downs Roofing (5)

Ryan Karabin 278-279-245-216 — 1,018, Tony Bianchi 236-223-189-224 — 872, Phil Kilmartin 278-204-226-215 — 923. Totals: 792-706-660-655 — 2,813.

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Boulevard Bowl (0)

Mike Scaccia 225-211-201-181 — 818, Brian Hart 172-248-225-236 — 881, Cory Bennett 206-200-201-200 — 807. Totals: 603-659-627-617 — 2,506.

Derenzo’s Tax Service (5)

P.J. Derenzo 279-256-245-224 — 1,004, Spark Derenzo 231-225-279-248 — 983, Bob Tuttle 212-214-161-205 — 792. Totals: 722-695-685-677 — 2,779.

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Masons Automotive (3)

Mark Hansen 212-208-248-191 — 859, Robin Fredenburgh 213-199-214-237 — 863, B.J. Smith Jr. 180-226-225-213 — 844. Totals: 605-633-687-641 — 2,566.

D.A. Parisi & Co. (2)

Lee Quivey 245-219-204-235 — 903, Jeff Williams 199-222-170-197 — 788, Ken Wilkins 181-257-225-195 — 858. Totals: 625-698-599-627 — 2,549.

REIS GROUP KIM BROWN MEMORIAL MIXED DOUBLES

Standings

Team 19 86-34, Team 11 80-40, Boulevard Bowl 74.5-45.5, Team 13 73-47, Next Level Detailing 72-48, Revolutions Pro Shop 68.5-51.5, TSS Printing & Awards 68.5-51.5, Team 15 4.5-55.5, Team 20 60.5-59.5, Rogers MotorSports 60.5-59.5, Team 9 59.5-60.5, Towne Bowling Academy 56-64, Team 3 52-68, 15 Church 52-68, Team 10 51-69, Team 4 51-69, Team 8 48-72, Team 17 47-73, Team 12 46-74, A-Plus Heating 29.5-90.5.

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Match summaries

Team 19 (15)

Liz Kuhlkin 235-235-246-223 — 939, Joe VanDerLinden 226-268-225-217 — 936. Totals: 461-503-471-440 — 1,875.

Team 13 (5)

Kate Clark 257-181-201-186 — 825, Jamie Duncan 208-225-219-127 — 779. Totals: 500-441-455-348 — 1,604.

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Team 11 (15)

Kris Impellizzeri 212-227-203-188 — 830, Scott Rogers 265-263-299-234 — 1,061. Totals: 495-508-520-440 — 1,963.

TSS Printing & Awards (5)

Jackie Malone 146-204-192-238 — 781, Paul Dumas 191-248-200-226 — 929. Totals: 368-483-424-495 — 1,770.

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Boulevard Bowl (12)

Lisa Rathbun-Read 203-205-203-258 — 869, Cliff Ruth 267-235-225-280 — 1,007. Totals: 495-465-453-563 — 1,876.

Revolutions Pro Shop (8)

Lindsey McPhail 244-192-217-248 — 901, Don Herrington 199-268-224-225 — 916. Totals: 458-475-456-488 — 1,817.

———

Next Level Detailing (14)

Jessica Aiezza 223-212-237-244 — 917, Matt Swiatocha 268-255-213-242 — 978. Totals: 496-473-455-491 — 1,915.

Team 9 (6)

Kaitlyn Barnes 199-201-198-183 — 781, Nick Barnes 221-300-194-256 — 971. Totals: 442-523-414-461 — 1,840.

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Rogers MotorSports (7.5)

Kelly Chrzanowski 237-226-165-205 — 833, Tom Rogers 243-207-226-236 — 912. Totals: 517-470-428-478 — 1,893.

Team 20 (12.5)

Chris Allen-Valenzuela 237-186-235-234 — 892, John Askew 226-248-288-237 — 999. Totals: 486-457-546-494 — 1,983.

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Team 17 (1)

Ursula Pasquerella 235-190-193-188 — 806, Joe Venduro 190-182-217-193 — 782. Totals: 467-414-452-423 — 1,756.

Team 15 (19)

Amber Dominic 205-192-225-212 — 834, Vinny Struffolino 225-225-235-235 — 920. Totals: 482-469-512-499 — 1,962.

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Team 4 (7)

Erika Poje 165-213-207-144 — 729, Joe Wolf 230-214-149-300 — 893. Totals: 442-474-403-491 — 1,810.

Towne Bowling Academy (13)

Debbie Capullo 212-214-238-279 — 943, Marty Capullo Jr. 159-262-211 — 632, Ryan Gahan 202. Totals: 444-389-516-506 — 1,855.

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15 Church (12)

Aliyah Liberatore 126-204-192-148 — 670, Ben Empie 201-201-183-184 — 769. Totals: 394-472-442-399 — 1,929.

Team 8 (8)

Elizabeth Criscuolo 219-165-146-121 — 642, Gabe Criscuolo 172-150-190-196 — 708. Totals: 466-399-420-401 — 1,686.

———

Team 12 (7)

Janelle Irwin 237-233-279-206 — 955, Steve Irwin 201-222-213-246 — 882. Totals: 481-498-535-495 — 2,009.

Team 10 (13)

Renee Earl 181-185-217-214 — 797, Tom Earl 279-238-300-300 — 1,117. Totals: 502-465-559-556 — 2,082.

———

Team 3 (17)

Jenn Schissler 224-196-257-247 — 924, Chuckie Schissler 247-300-267-195 — 1,009. Totals: 520-545-573-492 — 2,129.

A-Plus Heating (3)

Michelle Largeteau 150-139-118-115 — 522, Zach Porter 202-234-279-225 — 940. Totals: 448-469-493-436 — 1,846.

AMSTERDAM MEN’S CITY LEAGUE

Standings

JLD 46-8, Skyview Lounge 37-17, Excellent Autos 31-23, Team Majewski 27-27, Imperial Lanes 26-28, RJ Sheetmetal 26-28, Team Bryk 25-29, Team Mason 20-34, Team Schultz 19-35, Liberatore Electric 13-41.

Leaderboard

Dave Pangburn 278-1,022, Dan Bryk 299-966, Jeremy McGaffin 269-943, Larry Banta 255-934, Justin Lansing 241-918, Bill Schmidtmann 240-915, Billy McGaffin 268-910, Bob Minery 245-904, Mike Bellinger 277-904, Chad Chiara 257-884.

Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected].

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