Amsterdam native Nick Miseno is one of the most accomplished bowlers in the Capital Region, but unlike many other elite scratch bowlers, he prefers not to know where he stands in the final game of a major tournament.
Sunday was different, however.
The 44-year-old special education teacher asked if he had any chance to win during the fifth and final game of the Towne Scratch Challenge, and then he fired seven strikes in a row for a 259 that vaulted him from eighth place to first.
Miseno, who had to move from his customary outside line to much deeper on the lane to be competitive on the tough “Shark” oil pattern, finished with a total pinfall of 1,054, and earned $760.
Former PBA touring pro Brian LeClair of Athens was second with a 1,038 and $370, while Utica regional pro Ray Cyr rallied with a 288 finale to finish third with a 1,034 for $180.
Eleven players cashed in a banner field of 53. Towne Bowling Academy proprietor Marty Capullo Jr. said he originally had more than a full field of 60 bowlers registered, but many pulled out at the last minute.
Still, it was an excellent turnout for the first big tournament of the season, and Capullo said he was pleased with the results.
“I would have been happy with 40 or so,” he said. “This turned out great.”
Miseno began the final game 58 pins behind leader Bob Faragon, whose 257 in the fourth game put him 12 pins ahead of John Pulver, 22 in front of Jay Diamond and 43 ahead of LeClair, who rolled a 228 finale and thought he had a solid chance to win.
But LeClair had his eye on Faragon and Cyr, who were both bowling a few lanes to his left. Cyr could have surpassed LeClair with a perfect game, and Faragon struggled with a 149 final.
That left Miseno, who suddenly found the line and moved well up the leaderboard.
“I was trying to see what Ray Cyr was doing in the final game. I wasn’t sure where he stood,” said Miseno.
“This is a very tough condition, and I didn’t repeat many of my shots. I had to move inside with a weaker ball to get the reaction I wanted.”
Miseno has close to 20 Northern Bowlers Association titles and a handful of Huck Finn tournament wins to his credit, but he wasn’t sure how he would fare in a challenging tournament this early in the season.
“This is sweet,” he said. “I can really use the money, with a 2-year-old baby at home.”
Cashers — Nick Miseno 1,054, $760; Brian LeClair 1,038, $370; Ray Cyr 1,034, $180; Dan Furman 1,021, $100; Tim Banta 1,008, $90; John Pulver 1,003, $85; Bob Faragon 1,002, $80; Jeff Voght 1,00, $75; Jon Van Dyke 998, $70; Nunzo Manuli 984, $65; Jay Diamond 984, $60.
Other top bowlers — Ken Smith 981, T.J. Rock 99, Rob Gogulak 978, Ed Gumm 974, Shawn Morrison 967, Matt Fazzone 965, Steve Rock 964, Mike Miseno 963, Craig Smith 958, Mike Drexel 955, Joe Mazuryk 951, Steve Wagoner 946, Dan Ahl 945, Laura Rotter 939, Jim Geiger 929, Jamie Diamond 927, Roy Vanderbogen 927, Bill Pulver 922, Dan Rotter 922, Craig Young 919, Matt Barkman 919, R.J. Martinez 908, Marissa Martinek 906, Jake Shank 906, Rick Bogholtz 899, Mark Ross 896, Alex Weglarz 877, John Davis 869, Tony Palumbo 865.