An old friend to scratch bowling is making a reappearance this Sunday when the Northern Bowlers Association returns in the form of the Stockade Open at Boulevard Bowl.
Once a season-long series that produced a tournament every month or so, the NBA is now running just two events.
The good news is that Sunday’s tournament will now be joined by a special holiday tournament Dec. 23 at Olympic Bowl in Menands, with divisions for both men and women. But more on that later.
This weekend’s five-game sweeper, always one of the most popular on the old NBA schedule, should draw most of the area’s top bowlers. Starting time is 10 a.m.
“I’d like to see at least 50 bowlers,” said tournament director Karl Bieber. “We used to get 80 in the old days, but 50 would be a nice number. I’m coming out of retirement, as far as tournaments are concerned, to run this, but it should go fine. It’s just like riding a bike.”
Bieber said he wasn’t sure what the lane condition would be, but added that it wouldn’t be a typical house shot.
According to NBA president Bill Buell, top prize will be $800, based on 50 bowlers.
“The NBA is looking forward to having the opportunity to provide a scratch event for the Capital Region’s best bowlers that not only offers a great prize fund, but also raises money for a great cause, the Joan Nicole Prince Home in Schenectady,” said Buell, who revitalized the NBA after it went dormant a few years ago.
Frank DePalma and the late Cuby Fiorillo began the NBA originally, and Joe Marro took it over for many years. Until the Huck Finn “Capital Region Bowling Show” began nine years ago, the NBA was the only regular outlet for local scratch bowlers.
“We hope to make this an annual event, and with the continued support of Schenectady-area businesses, we will do that,” Buell said. “Hopefully, it will continue to grow, both in terms of entries and money raised for the Joan Nicole Prince Home. There are many great bowling events in the area, and we hope to keep the Stockade Open among the best of them.”
There is about $600 in added prize money, and the NBA is hoping to contribute more than $500 to the Joan Nicole Prince Home.
One of the early favorites has to be Nick Galusha, who is on a hot streak lately. The 30-year-old Galusha recently won the General’s 2-Star Challenge at Towne Bowling Academy and Uncle Sam Lanes. He also teamed with Kenny Hall to win the Over-50/Under-50 Huck Finn championship at Spare Time-Clifton Park.
Two-time defending champion Matt Sherman won’t be competing, however, as he hurt his wrist playing basketball. He won’t return to the lanes until late next month.
Other former champions include Dan Keenan of the Binghamton area in 2009, Bob Faragon in 2008, Gary Bingham in 2007, Joe Mazuryk in 2006 and Nick Miseno, in both 2004 and 2005.
You can expect most of the area’s premier keglers to give this event a shot. Don’t be surprised to see former touring pros like the recharged Hall and Brian LeClair there, as well.
According to both Buell and Bieber, the NBA will also host a holiday tournament next month that will feature separate divisions for men and women for the first time.
Top prize in the open division will be $840, based on 60 entries, while first place in the women’s division will be $550, based on 30 entries. The women can choose to bowl in the open division instead.
Entry fee for both Sunday’s tournament and the Dec. 23 event will be $50.
Guilderland native Joe VanDerLinden is no stranger to big numbers on the lanes.
After all, he came close to setting a national scoring record for highest league average two years ago, when he averaged an astonishing 253.1 for the entire season, just missing the record by six-tenths od a pin.
But he was nearly perfect Monday night with an 878 triple in the DV Greco Insurance City League at Towne Bowling Academy, where he fired two 300 games sandwiched around a 278 middle game that included a pair of 10-pins.
“It was quite the effort,” said the 49-year-old VanDerLinden. “My dad asked me the other day if I was nervous, and I had to tell him that even though that was my highest triple, it was also the best I’ve bowled. My timing was so good that I wasn’t nervous at all. The only problem I had was that toward the end of the second game, my thumb swelled, and I had to take a piece of tape out. One of my shots went a little high because of it.
“To be honest, I was more focused on the last game because my team needed me to strike in the 10th just for us to win the game.”
VanDerLinden, who used a Track 716 for his superb performance, has 41 perfect games and 40 800 triples, but he was just as happy with some other family news this week, as his first grandson, Aiden Joseph, was born the day after his big triple.
“It’s been a great, memorable week,” he said.
“It’s funny, because my teammate, Rich Strath, told me that I kept hitting the exact same board on every shot the other night, and I told him I was able to do it because my timing was finally perfect. I had struggled with my timing earlier in the year, but everything is going right now.”
By the way, VanDerLinden’s second game included the first five strikes before he left a 10-pin. His fill ball in the 10th frame was also a 10-pin.
Speaking of big numbers, Steve Ragone uncorked a whopping 876 triple in the Guilderland Men league at Town ’n Country Lanes. That
series included a pair of 299 games and a 278.
STRIKES & SPARES
u Qualifying for a special Huck Finn scratch event with a $2,000 top prize begins this Sunday at 6 p.m. at Towne Bowling Academy. Other qualifiers will be Dec. 1 at 3 p.m. at Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy, and then both 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. Dec. 2 back at Towne Bowling Academy. The same-day TV finals will follow. Entry fee will be $55, plus $10 membership if not already paid, for this Sunday’s qualifier and the Saturday qualifier at Uncle Sam. The two qualifiers on Dec. 2 will have $65 entry fees. Contact Towne Bowling Academy (355-3939) or Jeff Segel (439-7628) for reservations.
u Speaking of Huck Finn events, the popular Huck Finn Mixed Doubles tournament will be held Dec. 9 at Boulevard Bowl. Reservations are strongly recommended, because this event fills up fast.
u Nick Peckowitz of Colonie High School shot a 265-734 to lead the boys, and Erika Bullock of Mohonasen fired a 279-700 to pace the girls in the Rotterdam Invitational at Sportsman’s Bowl Monday afternoon.
u Colonie’s Marissa Martinek won the Huck Finn Women’s Scratch Tournament last weekend at Sunset Recreation. This event has become the area’s unofficial women’s championship, although overall entries were disappointing.
u Drew Smarro of Cohoes won the Huck Finn Non-Winners tournament last weekend, also at Sunset Recreation.
u Ron Gardner of Troy won this week’s New Era Senior Tour event at Towne Bowling Academy.
u Ron Skibinski rolled his first career 300 game in the Ups & Downs Mixed league this week.
u Park Building Supplies and Towne TV Audio and Appliances will be major co-sponsors for both the inaugural Uncle Nick Doubles tournament Dec. 16 at Sportsman’s Bowl and the Donato Scratch Singles event, set for March. Tom Donato, who is now coaching the Christian Brothers Academy team, picked up Park Building Supplies as a sponsor just this week.
u The second annual NEST Digger’s Doubles tournament is set for Dec. 15 at 11 a.m. at Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy. The format will be an over-50/under-50 doubles tournament.
u Towne Bowling Academy’s third annual Handicap Team Tournament begins Dec. 7 and runs through Jan. 27. Top prize will be $4,000, and second place is worth $2,000. There will be a $800 bonus for first place mixed team.
u Twenty invited PBA Tour players will join a field that includes more than 100 Japan and Korean PBA members for the renewal of the Round 1 Japan Cup in Tokyo Nov. 30-Dec. 2, the final tournament of the calendar year. After a two-year absence, the Japan Cup returns twice in the extended 2012-13 PBA Tour season. The second Round 1 Japan Cup of the expanded season is scheduled for Nov. 28-30, 2013. As of Jan. 1, 2014, all PBA competition returns to a calendar year schedule. Round 1 of Japan Cup 2012 will feature invited PBA Tour players Chris Barnes, Dom Barrett, Jason Belmonte, Josh Blanchard, Parker Bohn III, Ryan Ciminelli, Norm Duke, Mike Fagan, defending champion Tommy Jones, Mika Koivuniemi, Wes Malott, Amleto Monacelli, Bill O’Neill, Rhino Page, Osku Palermaa, Sean Rash, Ryan Shafer, Pete Weber, Stuart Williams and Walter Ray Williams Jr. Williams will make his 26th Japan Cup appearance, keeping his streak alive as the only bowler who has competed in every Japan Cup. PBA fans can follow the action through “live scoring” on pba.com. The finals will be taped for airing on ESPN on Sunday, Jan. 20, at 3 p.m. The winner will earn roughly $75,000 along with a PBA International Tour title.
u Veteran PBA Northwest Region competitor Russ Hunt of Kennewick, Wash., became the first PBA Northwest player to win titles as a right-hander and a left-hander after teaming up with PBA Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III of Jackson, N.J., to win the Northwest Region Doubles title at Stardust Lanes in Walla Walla, Wash.