It’s no surprise that Mike Neumann is a quick study on the lanes.
After all, the 29-year-old Schenectady resident is not only a teacher at Doyle Middle School in Troy, but he’s also part of one of the Capital Region’s premier bowling families.
Neumann’s ability to read the lanes properly and remain calm under pressure helped him win the first Northeast Bowling Proprietors of New York Huck Finn “Capital Region Bowling Show” of the season last Sunday night at Playdium Center.
Neumann is from a spectacular bowling predigree. His father, Bill, is the Section II bowling co-coordinator and a coach at Columbia High School, where he recently retired as a teacher. The elder Neumann, who bowls quite often in PBA pro regionals, recently rolled his 60th career perfect game.
Meanwhile, Neumann’s brother, Tim, was a standout at Schenectady County Community College, and his sister, Suzie, is one of the area’s premier women’s keglers.
Almost his entire family, including his fiance, Christie Owens, was rooting him on during the TV finals.
“I probably had two-thirds of the crowd behind me. I felt a lot of people giving me support,” said Neumann. “That was probably a huge advantage for me. It was like having a homecourt advantage.”
A power player who loves to hook the ball, Neumann learned the game from his father, who is much more direct to the pocket these days.
“He [Bill Neumann] works with me a lot, but when I was a kid, I didn’t listen to him quite as much, because after all, I was just a kid, and what kid wants to listen all that much to his father,” he said with a laugh.
“But I started working with Kenny Hall for quite a while, and recently, I’ve started to work a little with [former PBA touring pro] Brian LeClair over at Del Lanes. He’s been drilling balls for me.”
Neumann said all of his family members have always been great bowlers and all-around athletes.
“Two of my uncles, Gary and Jim, were great bowlers, just like my dad, who played baseball when he was younger. Suzie played softball, and I played both baseball and football. But we always bowled,” he said. “Heck, my grandmother is 82, and she still bowls every week.”
Although Neumann is comfortable hooking the ball, he also throws with quite a bit of natural speed.
“I try to throw it about 191⁄2 miles [per hour]. That’s my goal when the shot is there. I had to keep up my speed on Sunday, or the ball would have hooked too much,” he said.
“I knew the scores would be high, and I knew what shot I would play. I’ve gotten a lot better reading the lane conditions in recent years. I was in the pocket with all of my bowling balls. It was just a matter of which one would drive the hardest. I picked one and went with it.”
Neumann’s resume is now one of the best in the Capital Region. He not only won the 2010 Huck Finn Jack Scaccia Memorial championship, but he also captured a Huck Finn mixed doubles event with Jennifer Strom.
Neumann has 14 perfect games, 10 800s and a high triple of 836.
“It feels really good to win on TV again, and especially in front of all my family and buddies,” he said. “I was very comfortable on the lanes during the finals. My goal is not to intimidate anybody. I want everyone to be at their best. I just keep working on my game. I really enjoy the competition.”
Neumann is planning to wed in June, and he and his fiance are looking for a new home. With his teaching job, that cuts into his bowling time a little, but don’t expect him to miss much time on the lanes.
“My girlfriend has been very supportive of me and my bowling. I still get a chance to compete most weekends,” he said.
FREE BOWLING BALLS
Speaking of the Huck Finn tournaments, the NEBPONY has beefed up both its promotions and its sponsorships this year in order to make a better experience for the bowlers on the lanes and in the stands.
There will be a special ball promotion every week during the TV finals where spectators can win a free ball. Spectators fill out a card when they arrive, and there will be a drawing during the third game of each show. You must be present at the TV taping to win.
Member center employees are not eligible. If your name is picked, you will have your name announced on TV, and your picture will also be shown.
Balls featured will be from Storm, Brunswick, Ebonite and Hammer.
There is also a special promo throughout all NEBPONY centers, where you can pay $8 a week for eight weeks of bowling and get a free bowling ball at the end of the program.
Meanwhile, the Huck Finn tournament officials are trying to beef up the prize fund by adding sponsors.
Sponsors so far include Awards by Walsh, Strike & Spare ProShop, New York State Corrections Officers, Hammer International Ball Company, Patricelli’s Deli, The King of Credit.net, Ron Gardner Excavation, Sky Line Diner, DeCrescente Distributing, Pepsi Cola, the title sponsor, Huck Finn Warehouse and More, and NEBPONY. For more information on how to become a sponsor, call sponsorship director Paul Dumas at 527-5026.
TEAM BOWLING RETURNS
The Professional Bowlers Association will introduce an exciting new concept that is a tribute to its past.
Team bowling, featuring PBA stars as “franchise” players, will make its debut during the Detroit PBA Winter Swing Jan. 19-27 at Thunderbowl.
The new PBA League will consist of eight five-player teams, each representing a city to be named later. Each team will be headed by a franchise player who will draft players to fill his team. The franchise players will be the top eight players from last year’s point list: Sean Rash, Jason Belmonte, Mike Fagan, Pete Weber, Osku Palerma, Norm Duke, Bill O’Neill and Chris Barnes.
The PBA draft will be held Nov. 9 and air live on Xtra Frame, the PBA’s online bowling channel.
At the same time the bowlers compete in qualifying rounds for their various events this season, they will be bowling for their teams. Scores for all five players after each qualifing round will be added together to determine the team seeding positions for the Baker format stepladder finals.
STRIKES AND SPARES
u The Northeast Bowling Proprietors of New York Huck Finn Capital Region Bowling Show’s next event will be the Over 50/Under 50 Doubles tournament, with qualifiers Saturday at 3 p.m. at Spare Time-Latham and Sunday at 9:30 and 11:45 a.m. at Spare Time-Clifton Park.
u Casey Schoonmaker of Albany won three matches in the stepladder finals, including a 258-213 victory over tournament leader Austin Van Buren of Altamont to win the Capital District Youth Scholarship Tour event at Towne Bowling Academy last weekend. A tournament-record field of 39 bowlers competed. Schoonmaker picked up a $300 scholarship, and Van Buren earned a $175 scholarship. Also taking home scholarships were Michael Hartman of Earlton ($125), Jacob Rivers Jr. of Albany ($80), Chris Hanson of Ballston Lake ($55), Amber Dominic of Latham ($45), Zachary Doty of Nassau ($40), Justin Carl of Albany ($35) and Vernon Billington II of Hartford, Conn. ($30). The next event will be Nov. 10 at Hometown Lanes in Mechanicville.
u Marissa Martinek of the Schenectady-Scotia Women’s Bowling Association shot a 751 to win the Class A division of the New York State Women’s Bowling 700 Club recently at Boulevard Bowl. Jodi Musto and Laura Rotter shot 738 and 693, respectively, to take second and third. Nancy Yakush won Class B with a 647. In doubles,
Musto and Rotter combined for a 1,431 to win the Class A event, followed by Robin Fredenburgh and Martinek with a 1,368. Yakush of the SSWBA combined with Auburn’s Joan Ashby for a 1,244 to take Class B, while Anne Torak of the SSWBA combined with Columbia-Greene’s Connie Canfield for a 1,258 to win the senior division.
u The Town ’N Country Scotch Doubles tournaments begin Nov. 10 at 9 p.m. Entry fee is $25 for the four games. Handicap is 90 percent from 450. Town ’N Country also has a Bakers Tournament scheduled for Nov. 11 (entry fee $95 per five-person team) with a 90 percent handicap from 1,125. TNC’s Adult/Child league starts Nov. 4 and runs through Dec. 4. Entry fee is $20 per team per week and includes tow games of bowling, shoes, pizza and soda. Call 456-1113 for information.
u The New York State Women’s 600 Bowling Club will hold its annual regional tournament on Nov. 10 and Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. at Olympic Lanes. You must be a member of the New York State Women’s 600 Bowling Club to bowl in this tournament. Contact Anne Torak (356-3281) or Marianne Hogle (393-8907) for an entry blank.
u The Uncle Nick Doubles Tournament, held in honor of the late Nick Donato, will be held Dec. 16 at Sportsman’s Bowl. There will be two squads, and the winning team will earn $2,000. One in five teams will cash. Call Sportsman’s Bowl at 355-4330 or Tom Donato Jr. at 788-0771 for more information.
u The Menagerie league, which bowls Friday nights at 6:15 at Boulevard Bowl, still has seven openings, including one team with two openings and five others with a single vacancy. Dues are $15 a week. Call Paul O’Brien at 421-5427 for more information.
u Dan Rotter rolled a pair of perfect games Monday night in the DV Greco Insurance City League at Towne Bowling Academy. He finished with an 836 triple.
u Towne Bowling Academy will host two major Huck Finn events in the next two months. The Women’s Huck Finn Scratch Championship will be held Nov. 18, with a same-day TV taping at Sunset Recreation. Top prize will be $1,000. On Dec. 2, Towne will host a Huck Finn event for the men with a special top prize of $2,000, rathern than the usual $1,000.
u Also at Towne Bowling Academy, the third annual Handicap Team Tournament will begin qualifiers Dec. 7 and run through Jan. 27. Top prize will be $4,000, with second place worth $2,000. There will be a bonus of $800 for the top mixed team. A special singles event, where you can use your team score, is also included, with $450 for first and second place and $350 for third.
u Chris Barnes won his 22nd career PBA regional title in the PBA Southwest Region Dallas Open.
u Speaking of PBA regionals, the PBA East Region will conduct its annual Dom DiCicco Memorial senior Open at Glassboro (N.J.) Bowling and Entertainment today through Sunday.
u Since no player accepted Mike Edwards’ challenge for a renewal of the PBA All-In Showdown, that event has been cancelled.
u The third annual Al Heins Tournament will be held Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 3 at 9 p.m. at Rolling Greens Lanes. It’s a 9-pin, no-tap event, with five bowlers on a team. Cost is $60 per team, and prize payout will be one in 10. Handicap will be 75 percent of a 1,100 team average. Call Rolling Greens at 381-4848 for more information.
u The PBA World Series of Bowling will boast a full field of 240 players representing a record 17 countries when the world’s top professional players converge on the South Point Bowling Center Nov. 2-11 to kick off the 2012-13 PBA Tour season. Countries represented this year include Australia, England, Bahrain, Mexico, Sweden, Germany, Denmark,
Korea, Venezuela, Colombia, Finland, Canada, the U.S. and first-time participants from Costa Rica, Iceland, The Philippines and Saudi Arabia.
International players dominated the 2011 World Series, winning seven of eight titles. Leading the list was Jason Belmonte of Australia, who won three titles in 2011. Other international title-winners were Dom Barrett and Stuart Williams of England, Andres Gomez of Colombia and Osku Palermaa of Finland, who won the PBA World Championship. Only PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke and Wes
Malott of the U.S. prevented an international sweep by winning the Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship.