R.J. Martinez was chasing perfection, but he was also taking dead aim at the Schenectady Bowling Association’s most cherished record.
In the end, the 25-year-old Ballston Spa native got neither, but he came pretty close.
Martinez came within two shots of a perfect 900 triple and finished four pins short of the SBA mark for highest triple, when he recorded an 885 Monday night in the DV Greco Insurance City League at Towne Bowling Academy.
Martinez opened with a 297, fired a 288 in his middle game and finished with a 300. He left a 3-6-10 on his last toss of the opener and a 4-7 on his 11th pitch of the second game.
“I just about buried every shot in my third game,” Martinez said. “I had a couple of good breaks early on. I wasn’t thinking about the record or anything like that until about halfway through the final game. Then, it started to get to me about just how good I was bowling.”
But after falling 15 pins short of perfection in his first two games, Martinez already knew that the SBA record was out of his reach, even with a 300 finale.
Bob “Goose” Faragon, a SBA Hall of Famer, owns the SBA record with an 889, also rolled at Towne Bowling Academy.
“He was looking on the whole time,” said Martinez of Faragon. “In fact, he was bowling the next pair down. My previous high triple was an 847 earlier this year on the same pair, lanes 17 and 18. I like that pair.”
Martinez, a lane mechanic at Tippy Bowl in Ballston Spa, was a little surprised with his near-record performance, but he knew that some recent hard work would eventually pay off.
“I fixed a few things recently with my timing. I was working with Marty [Towne proprietor Marty Capullo Jr.], and got some things straightened out for me,” said Martinez. “Plus, I just got a new ball, a Storm Hi Road. I didn’t touch the ball. I kept it just the way it was, right out of the box. I’ve had it for a few weeks now.”
Martinez said he moved in just a little bit on his pair, rolling over the 15th board out to about the seventh or eighth board.
“I had a great shot,” he said.
Martinez is averaging 233 in the high-powered City League. That average is only 14th.
“I’ve been bowling pretty well lately,” he said. “I bowl three times a week now, plus tournaments. I bowl Tuesday nights in the Towne Majors, and I also bowl Saturday nights in the Vitalo Classic.
“This is the right time of the year for me to be bowling well. Marty has been a huge help to me. He’s helped my timing, and he also helps sponsor me in tournaments. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be bowling in a lot of tournaments.”
Martinez has appeared in the Huck Finn “Capital Region Bowling Show” TV finals five times, with three victories. Although he’s never won a Northern Bowlers Association title, he did finish second twice.
One of his biggest accomplishments so far was winning a the Six-Game Marathon in Buffalo in 2009.
Congratulations to the Schenectady County Community College men’s bowling team, which won its first National Junior College Athletic Association national championship last week in Buffalo by edging 18-time champion Vincennes by 157 pins.
All-Americans Tyler Mochrie (Colonie) and Jeff Karabin (Scotia-Glenville) led the Royals by finishing second and fourth, respectively, in the all-events standings. Mochrie averaged 206.3, while Karabin averaged 196.8. Corey Buckley (Colonie) was 10th with an average of 193.2.
Hudson Valley CC was 10th in the men’s competition, while the SCCC women and HVCC women were fifth and 10th, respectively.
SCCC head coach Ray Ross was named the national Coach of the Year.
Colonie High School’s boys’ team won its second championship in the last three years at Syracuse’s AMF Strike-N-Spare lanes.
Justin Carl rolled a 1,389 six-game series, and Ricky Rovelli added a 1,350 for the Garnet Raiders, led by first-year coach Billy Carl.
The Section II boys were third, behind Section XI and Section VI. Jovanni Scaccia was fifth (1,370), Pat DeVoe was 11th (1,313) and A.J. Indovina was 12th (1,312) to lead the area contingent.
The Mohonasen girls, led by Rebecca Brown’s 1,244, were eighth.
CITY TOURNEY UPDATE
To avoid a conflict with the Joe Donato Scratch Singles tournament, the Schenectady USBC Bowling Association’s 80th annual Championship Tournament has made some adjustments in its schedule at Towne Bowling Academy.
The first of two Scratch Team Challenge events has been shifted from Sunday, March 17, to Friday, March 29 at 9 p.m. That still leaves the second Scratch Team Challenge set for Monday, April 29 at 6:30 p.m.
Other squad dates are 2:30 p.m. March 16, 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on March 17, 3:30 on April 7, 6:30 on April 23, 6:30 on April 25 and 6:30 on April 26.
The SBA is looking for sponsors to help make this anniversary edition of the tournament special. Lane sponsorship is $75, while wall-poster sponsorship is $45. To get your business card included in the sponsorship booster book, it will cost $20. Boosters can also get their name in the book for $10.
This year’s SBA Awards Banquet will be June 4 at the Water’s Edge Restaurant.
HUCK FINN CORNER
Qualifying for this week’s scratch show will be Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Hi-Way Recreation and Sunday at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. at Spare Time Latham. That is a switch from Town ’N Country because of a scheduling conflict. Entry fee will be $35 on Saturday and $45 on Sunday. Call Jeff Segel at 439-7628 for reservations or more information.
The TV taping for this scratch show will be Sunday at Middleburgh Lanes.
There was a bit of controversy at last week’s Huck Finn qualifying, as some bowlers felt someone was cheating by allegedly scuffing up a bowling ball, which is illegal during competition. Nobody stepped up to report this possible violation during the qualifier, so Huck Finn officials couldn’t take any action. Accusations were rampant on Facebook and local blogs.
Just so there is no confusion on this subject, it is definitely illegal to scuff your bowling ball during competition, but if it is not reported to tournament officials immediately during competition, there is no recourse. Remember, even though many of us hate being whistleblowers, it is your responsibility to protect the field, just as in golf.
In-house qualifying for the next handicap vs. scratch show continues at area bowling centers all this month.
STRIKES AND SPARES
u Qualifying continues for the 11th annual Joe Donato Scratch Singles Tournament. Dan Furman qualified at Saratoga Strike Zone, while Frank Calca and Marcel Lessard qualified at Silver Lanes in Hartford, Conn. Faragon, Mike Drexel, Jim Geiger and Craig Schoonmaker qualified at Towne Bowling Academy. Other qualifiers will be tonight at both Playdium (7 p.m.) and Saratoga Strike Zone (9:30 p.m.), Saturday at Sportman’s Bowl (6 p.m.), Sunday at Spare Time Latham (5 p.m.), March 12 at Hi-Way Recreation (9 p.m.), March 13 at Sunset Lanes (9 p.m.), March 14 at Imperial Lanes (9 p.m.), March 16 at Sportsman’s Bowl (1:30, 4 and 6:30 p.m.) and March 17 at Sportsman’s Bowl (9:30 a.m. and noon, followed by the semifinals and finals, respectively. Call Tom Donato (496-7812) or Tommy Donato (788-0771) for more information.
u The Schenectady/Scotia USBC Women’s Bowling Association will hold its annual membership meeting March 23 at 4 p.m. at Sportsman’s Bowl’s party room. On the agenda will be adoption of the budget, the election of delegates and alternates to the national and state conventions, various reports from the local clubs and other business. Refreshments will be provided.
u C.J. Leisenfelder of Sunset Lanes ripped a 279-835, and Nick Peckowitz, also out of Sunset, fired a 300 game and an 811 in the senior boys’ Eastern division of the Joey Schmidt Capital District Junior Pro-Scoring League at Del Lanes last weekend.
u The USBC Open Championships finally move to the east when Syracuse plays host for the 2018 event at the Oncenter Convention Center. The last time we had this event this close was when Syracuse hosted it in 1999.
u Elisha and Mark Taylor shot a 1,613 and won the A Division of the Schenectady/Scotia 500 Club Mixed Doubles last weekend at Boulevard Bowl. Leaders in the B Division included Dolores Rogers and Joy Hall (1,617), Andrea Gaffney and Rick Lombard (1,613), Cheryl Dalton and Matt Simmons (1,599), Joan Cipriano and Jim Moorhead (1,597) and Maria and Dan Barnum (1,552).
u The 18th annual Blizzard Bowl kicks off Saturday night at 9:45 at Boulevard Bowl. Entry fee for the team event is just $60 per four-person team. Other squads are March 16 at 9:45 p.m., March 24 at 11:45 a.m., April 7 at 11:45 a.m., April 14 at 11:45 a.m. and April 20 at 9:45 p.m. Singles and Doubles will be held at Burnt Hills Lanes with an entry fee of $15 per event. Squads are March 23, April 6, April 13 and April 20, all at 12:30 p.m.
u Junior program leaders are reminded that the Gazette Junior Team Championship will be held April 21 at Sportsman’s Bowl. Each local center can send as many four-person teams as they wish to compete. Each team consists of four bowlers from the majors, juniors and preps divisions. There must be at least one girl on each team. Most teams will have two majors, one junior and one prep bowler, but coaches can mix up their squads any way they like. Handicap will be 100 percent of 720. Entry fee is just $20 per team. Pizza and soda will be provided. The members of the winning team will receive plaques, and the winning team will also get possession of the permanent trophy, named in honor of the late Hal Buell, for one year.