In 50 years of competitive bowling, Schenectady resident Sonny Dorstek still hasn’t lost his competitive edge.
Known for being one of the toughest one-on-one match-play bowlers in Capital Region history, the 67-year-old manager of Green Island Lanes hasn’t slowed down much at all.
Saturday at Town ’N Country Lanes, Dorstek won his first New Era Women and Senior singles title by beating Al Roth, 259-243, in the championship match. The victory was worth $450.
A day later, Dorstek finished second in qualifying with a five-game series of 1,158 at Sportsman’s Bowl and then defeated Nick Galusha, 241-237, to earn a berth in the finals against Bob “Goose” Faragon in the second Huck Finn Morris Kramer King of the Hill match of the season. Dorstek and Faragon will roll a two-game match on television, with the winner meeting current King of the Hill Joe Mazuryk for the title.
Last month, Dorstek teamed up with longtime partner John Walther III to capture the Digger’s Doubles Over 50/Under 50 tournament.
He’s definitely on a roll.
“I’ve been bowling well,” said Dorstek. “My work responsibilities recently got cut down from five to four days, and I’ve been a little fresher. Now, I’m not as tired when I’m bowling on weekends. In 50 years of working all week long, when it comes to Saturday and Sunday, you can get a little wiped out. Now, I’m off on Fridays, and I’m definitely a lot fresher. I’ve also been practicing on a few things.”
Dorstek didn’t want to get into too many details, but suffice it to say that he’s been tweaking both the follow-through of his delivery and the drilling parameters for his equipment.
“Saturday at Town ’N Country Lanes, I wasn’t bowling that well in the first two games, so I switched to a shined up Hammer Taboo that I had just drilled up,” he said. “I got the next two strikes, and I leaned over to Ron Gardner and told him that if I could make the finals, I could win this thing. Sure enough, it turned out to be the right switch.”
Dorstek ended up shooting 895 to qualify for match play, and he knocked off Jim Patricelli (236-234), Ed Gumm (263-195) and Art Van Buren (277-158) to reach the championship game.
“That was definitely the right switch to make over there,” said Dorstek. “When I throw it well, I can still get lined up and repeat my shots. I was sharp on Saturday.”
Sunday, Dorstek tried something different.
“When I went over there on [Sunday], I had a good look on the lanes. I was lined up with the ball I was using,” he said. “I took a different drilling out of a magazine. For me, it worked very well. The drilling, I think, would also work for a lot of guys who don’t throw it that hard anymore. It doesn’t flare a lot. When you’re down on the back ends of the lane, it doesn’t snap left so much, and that turned out very good for me. I put that same drilling into three different balls. One was really shiny, and it went down the lane quite a bit. The other was a lot duller, and it hooked early. The third drilling, I haven’t used yet, but I think it will be OK, too.
“I’ve definitely been bowling sharp lately. My speed is still not that quick, but I don’t get that tired after five or six games any more. I bowled 10 games on Saturday between qualifying, practice and the finals. Then on Sunday, I bowled eight more games.”
Dorstek, who has 66 300 games and 12 800 triples under his belt, is undoubtedly one of the top-10 local bowlers of all time, and he’s still competitive as he pushes toward 70 years of age.
Perhaps his most impressive accomplishment is winning 10 PBA regionals against some of the best professionals in the Northeast.
He also holds the record for the most Northern Bowlers Association titles with 37.
“When I won, they used to have big fields, with 90 to 100 bowlers,” he said. “All the top area bowlers used to bowl in the NBAs.”
He’s appeared on television in the more recent Huck Finn formats about three or four times, but without much luck.
“I’ve been beaten by guys who shoot lights out against me,” he said. “Once, a guy shot 300 at me. Everybody seems to get up to bowl against me on television.”
Dorstek also appeared on the old “TV Tournament Time” show 56 times.
“I’ve been bowling 50 years, so I’ve been around the tournament scene for a very long time,” he said.
“I’ve got a few aches and pains here and there, but if I’m in the hunt, and I feel comfortable, I can get competitive. If not, I go through the motions and go home. I can’t get aggravated. But I can get pumped up when I’m in contention.
“I’ve been throwing the ball very well lately, and for some reason, my wrist and my forearm haven’t bothered me at all. It’s been a good stretch.”
The TV taping for the Huck Finn Morris Kramer King of the Hill match will be Sunday at Iroquois Lanes, and it will air Dec. 15 on MY4 TV. You don’t get many matches more competitive and with more flair than Dorstek vs. Faragon. They may need a lot more seats at tiny Iroquois Lanes for this one.
STRIKES AND SPARES
Other cashers in the NEWST event besides Dorstek were Roth ($240), Van Buren ($170), Jessica Aiezza ($170), Gumm ($120), Jim Burton ($120), Bill Neumann ($120), Bob Northrup ($120), Patricelli ($80), Faragon ($80) and Russ Hunter ($80).
The Northern Bowlers Association’s most popular event, the annual Stockade Open, will be held Sunday at Boulevard Bowl. The five-game sweeper will also include a women’s division. Danielle Manuli of Colonie won the first-ever NBA women’s event last year at Olympic Lanes, defeating Patti O’Connor by 21 pins to win $350. The winner of the first NBA event of the season, at Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy, was Matt Sherman. Bowling begins at 9:30 a.m. Entry fee is $50, plus an NBA membership fee. Top prize for the men’s division will be $750, based on 40 entries.
The Huck Finn Mixed Doubles will be held Dec. 8 at 10 a.m. at Boulevard Bowl. Entry fee is $100 per team. The women receive 100 percent of 220 handicap, while the men bowl scratch. One in five teams cash, with the top eight teams rolling off head-to-head to determine the four teams for the TV finals. The winning team is guaranteed $1,400. Call Jeff Segel at 439-7628 for reservations.
Casey Schoonmaker of Albany won three matches in the stepladder finals, including a 197-195 victory over tournament leader Jonathan Bowman of Peru, to win the Capital District Youth Scholarship Tour tournament at Sportsman’s Bowl on Saturday. Schoonmaker won a $325 scholarship, while Bowman won a $175 scholarship. Other scholarship winners were Jacob Rivers Jr. of Albany ($125), Andrew Marcotta of Ballston Spa ($90), Jovanni Scaccia of Schenectady ($65), Michael Hartmann of Earlton ($50), Austin Van Buren of Altamont ($45), Zachary Porter of Schenectady ($40) and Christopher Radliff of Schenectady ($35). The next CDYST event will be Dec. 14 at 1 p.m. at Del Lanes.
Mohonasen knocked down 4,197 pins en route to a 25-7 victory over Colonie in a Suburban Council boys’ bowling match Tuesday at Sportsman’s Bowl. Peter Konrad (747), Jovanni Scaccia (746), T.J. Marr (739) and Zach Porter (721) all hit the 700 mark for the Mighty Warriors.
In a Big 10 match between CBA and Bishop Maginn Tuesday, Chris Radliff rolled a 300 game for CBA, which won, 7-0.
The next Schenectady Bowling Association board of directors meeting will be held Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. at Boulevard Bowl.
The Scotia-Glenville Cheerleading no-tap tournament will be held Dec. 6 (7 p.m.) and Dec. 7 (9 p.m.) at Rolling Greens. Handicap will be 75 percent of a 1,100 team average. Multiple participation will be allowed, but no more than three entrants can bowl together on another team in the five-person event. Prizes will be returned on a one in 10 ratio. Entry fee is $60 per team. Call Rolling Greens at 381-4848 for more information.
The PBA Tour finally returns to ESPN television this Sunday at 1 p.m., with the PBA World Series of Bowling from the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas. For the first time, viewers will be able to track the oil pattern that the pros will face, as a blue tint has been added to the conditioner for the television finals. International standout Clara Guerrero of Columbia will be on the TV finals and will be only the third woman to qualify for TV, along with Kelly Kulick and Liz Johnson. Also on the show will be PBA Hall of Famers Pete Weber and Parker Bohn III.