Ultimate perfection, a feat not yet accomplished in Capital Region bowling, was within Dan Kryzak’s reach last week.
The 25-year-old Amsterdam native rolled 32 consecutive strikes before a stubborn 4-pin in the ninth frame of his third game ended his attempt to become the first local bowler to roll a 900 triple in the Hilltop Doubles league at Hilltop Bowl in Speigletown. He finished with an 879.
Although he has been bowling well lately, Kryzak, who now lives in Clifton Park, wasn’t expecting such a breakout performance, especially after struggling in practice.
“I was lost in practice,” he said. “But my last two shots, I made a move and tried a different ball. I moved five boards right and switched to my Total NV. That’s my go-to ball. I’ve thrown a lot of good series with that ball.”
Kryzak mowed down the pins for back-to-back perfect games, and came so close to locking up the perfect triple.
“I knew when I threw the ball in the ninth frame that I didn’t hit the mark I was looking at. I missed in just a little bit,” said Kryzak. “I was kind of hoping it would carry. I almost left the 4-9 split, but I got the 9-pin out.”
Kryzak was mobbed by his leaguemates after his performance, and some observers thought he had broken the Troy Bowling Association record for high triple.
“To me, I don’t keep track of that stuff,” said Kryzak. “At first, somebody said it was a new association record, but then I remembered Steve Smith’s triple last spring, so I knew that wasn’t true. At least I got the house record. It was a little disappointing that I didn’t get the record, but it’s the best bit of bowling I’ve done in my life.”
Smith, the proprietor of Hometown Lanes in Mechanicville, shot an 886 triple, including games of 299, 298 and 289, during the TBA City Tournament last spring.
“I was truly locked in, and I made 32 great shots in a row. I didn’t strike on that one shot, but I didn’t hit what I was looking at, so I can’t complain. That’s the best I’ve bowled in my career.”
What made Kryzak’s performance even more memorable was that he was bowling with his wife and against his father-in-law’s team. His doubles team also solidified its hold on first place in the league standings.
“It was the week before the end of the first half, and we were leading our division,” he said. “I wanted to make sure we had a decent lead going into the final week, and both of us needed to bowl well. My wife shot a 635 triple, and we won enough points to have a comfortable lead.
“To bowl so well with my wife there, and my father-in-law there, was great. Even though we were bowling against each other, I got great support. It was a lot of fun. It wasn’t an awkward feeling at all. We were all talking together the whole night. In both of my first two games, all 10 pins were in the pit on every shot.”
Kryzak grew up bowling at Super 30 Lanes in Amsterdam, where he worked with Lew LaBahn in the pro shop.
“He was my mentor,” Kryzak recalled.
After becoming a standout in the Amsterdam junior bowling program, he competed for the Amsterdam High School team and then went to Western New England College, where he majored in sports management.
“I won 12 Junior Bowling Tour
titles in college, and I won the Junior Classic in New Jersey in 2000. I was second in that same tournament in 2002,” said Kryzak. “That used to be a really good junior tournament that drew the best junior bowlers from 10 or 12 different states. They used a pro-style format.”
After two years of bowling in college, Kryazak scaled back his participation the sport to devote more time to his studies.
“I didn’t bowl much as a junior, and I didn’t bowl at all my senior year. I wanted to finish school well,” he said. “Once I graduated from college, my wife and I were living in Massachusetts. I started to bowl in some Huck Finn tournaments back in this area, and we eventually moved back here to Clifton Park two years ago.”
Before Kryzak moved back to the Capital Region, he decided that he wanted to bowl again. But he didn’t know where.
“I was working for BallMaster bowling supplies at the time, and Tommy [proprietor Tommy Walsh] was one of my customers. Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy seemed like a good fit at the time. It was only an hour and a half away from home.”
When Kryzak’s wife also decided to start bowling again, the pair looked for a league where they could bowl together.
“We found the Hilltop league, and it has worked out great for us, especially with having other family members in the league,” he said.
Kryzak, who works for Berkshire Bank in Clifton Park, said he’s had some peaks and valleys this season.
“I started off the year really well, but for the last month, I was throwing the ball horrendously,” he said. “I was in quite a slump. Either my timing was off or something else was off. I thought I had figured something out in my Tuesday night league [at Uncle Sam Lanes], but then I lost it in practice.
“But overall, it’s been the best season that I’ve had as an adult bowler. I’m averaging 239 at Hilltop, which is second-best in the league, and I’m averaging 236 in the Latham Ford Classic at Uncle Sam Lanes.”
Kryzak has rolled 19 perfect games and 12 800 triples. He hasn’t won an NBA or Huck Finn title yet, but he’s been runner-up five times in Huck Finn “Capital Region Bowling Show” competition.
“I haven’t been able to close the deal for a title, but I’ve been close. That’s my next goal,” he said.
STRIKES & SPARES
u One of the top Huck Finn/Northeast Bowling Proprietors of New York “Capital Region Bowling Show” events of the season will be held Sunday with the mixed
doubles tournament 10 a.m. at Boulevard Bowl. The tournament will be limited to the first 80 teams. All bowlers roll three games of qualifying, after which the top eight teams advance to a one-game match to determine the final four teams for the TV finals. Top prize is $1,000 per team. According to tournament director Jeff Segel, 68 teams are
already signed up. Reservations are recommended. “This should be the biggest mixed doubles event we’ve ever had,” said Segel. Call 439-7628 for more information.
u The next Western Diner Northern Bowlers Association tournament will be held at HoBo Catskill Lanes Dec. 21. Entry fee is $50.
u Don Mennillo Sr., 73, made a memorable return to the lanes last week. After having shoulder surgery over the summer, he returned to league competition for the first time in the Sportsman’s Senior league and rolled a 300 game in his first match of the season.
u Sophomore Francesca Brown shot a 268-698 to lead the Shenendehowa boys’ varsity bowling team to its first win of the season recently over Saratoga Springs.
u Spare Time Latham will host the 19th annual Capital District 600 Club Tournament Jan. 18 at 1 p.m. Entry fee is $20. Entry forms are available at the lanes or by calling Marianne Hogle at 393-8907.
u The Karl Wolf & Warren Guernsey Pro Shop Qualifying Open will be held Jan. 10 at 11 a.m. at Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy and Jan. 11 at Ballston Spa Lanes. First place is $1,000 guaranteed and an entry into the 2009 U.S. Open. All participants will bowl eight games across eight pairs. After eight games, there will be a cut to the top eight bowlers, based on total pinfall. The next day, those eight qualifiers will roll eight more games of round-robin match play, with the final game a position round. There will be 30 bonus pins for each win and 15 bonus pins for a tie. Pins carry over from qualifying. Entry fee is $85. Accepting the entry into the U.S. Open is optional. Call Segel (439-7628) or Marv Sontz (439-2224) for more information. The 66th U.S. Open will be held at Brunswick Zone Carolier, in North Brunswick, N.J., March 29 through April 5.
u Carm Luciano, a 22-year-old graduate of Schenectady High School, rolled his first 800 triple last Friday night in the Galaxy Men’s league at Boulevard Bowl. Luciano rolled games of 258, 267 and 277 for an 802.
u Bill Buell rolled his 11th career 300 game in the Boulevard Classic league Tuesday night.
u Sportsman’s Bowl will offer three second-half leagues beginning Jan. 11. The Adult/Child league rolls at 10 a.m. and will cost $12 per team. The Muny Grille Casino league competes at 6 p.m. It has a $12 entry fee per week. The Pee Wee Bumper league competes at 9:30 or 11:30 a.m. Two games cost $5 per week. Call 355-4330 for more information.
u The second Towne Bowling Academy Scratch Challenge will be held Dec. 21 at 6 p.m. The format will be five games rolled on five different oil patterns. One in five bowlers will cash, and the field will be limited to the first 60 paid entries. Entry fee is $50. Top prize is $500. Call 355-3939 for reservations.
u The 84th annual New York State USBC Open Championship Tournament will be held April 18 to May 24, 2009, at AMF Pin-O-Rama lanes in Utica. Entry fee is $175 per team, and handicap will be 100 percent of 220. Call (800) 404-6501 for more information. Also, the 19th annual New York State USBC Bowling Association’s Masters Championship Tournament will be held at the same site May 16. Call (315) 735-7543 for more information.
u The Albany USBC Association 2009 Good Sport Trio Tournament begins Jan. 17 at Sunset Recreation and continues weekends through Feb. 1. Handicap is 100 percent of 675 per team, and first place is $1,500, based on 50 entries. Entry fee is $60 per team. Call 438-6404 for more information.