As a professional photographer at Metroland Photo, Mike Gallitelli specializes in capturing special moments for others to enjoy and savor later.
But he was the one who performed his own memorable achievement last weekend when he won his first New Era Women’s and Senior tournament in dominating fashion at Spare Time-Latham Bowl.
The 60-year-old left-hander not only led the qualifiers with a 954 four-game series, but he then knocked off several of the area’s top senior bowlers on the way to picking up his first major win.
Gallitelli started off by ousting tournament director Jim Burton, 270-180, before beating local regional pro and co-Section II bowling tournament coordinator Bill Neumann, 259-204. He then polished off John Nieckarz, 279-226, to pick up a check for $550. He shot a career-best 808 triple during the finals. Gallitelli’s effort was especially noteworthy, because the other 10 finalists averaged only 202.
“I don’t bowl in that many area tournaments because I’m a photographer, and I shoot a lot of weddings on weekends,” said Gallitelli. “As an example, I had a bridal show on Sunday, so I bowled in this tournament on Saturday.”
Although he’s busy on the weekends, Gallitelli finds the time to squeeze three bowling leagues into his schedule. He competes in the City Catholic league and the Boulevard Classic at Boulevard Bowl, and he also bowls in a league with some old friends at Westlawn Lanes. He averages between 224 and 227 in all three.
But Gallitelli gave up the sport for 30 years before picking up a bowling ball again about five years ago.
“In high school, I bowled for Colonie, and we won the Suburban Council championship in my senior year,” he said. “I was also a member of the all-star sectional team that went to Long Island. Ever since that weekend, I became good friends with Bob Tuttle, who was also on the that sectional team.”
Remember that name, because it was Tuttle who finally got Gallitelli back into bowling after three decades away from the game.
“Back in the day, I grew up working at Redwoods Lanes, and Skip Vigars was my neighbor,” Gallitelli said. “I ended up getting into a few classic leagues and some money leagues. Back in the 1970s, if you averaged 200, you were pretty good. But it got so competitive, and it became all about the money. It wasn’t fun any more, so I flat-out quit bowling.”
Fast forward to five years ago, when Tuttle called his old friend.
“He told me we were going to Reno to bowl in the tournament out there. He bought me a bowling ball and signed me up for a league, which wound up being the City Catholic league. We then starting bowling in some tournaments together,” Gallitelli said.
Among the tournaments Gallitelli entered was the Schenectady Bowling Association’s City Championship, and he and his buddies won the team title two years in a row.
“One of those years, I also won the singles and doubles division, as well,” he said. “It was a lot of fun. I also bowled in the Blizzard Bowl with my friends. Now, I enjoy bowling more than ever.”
Gallitelli honed his skills with the help of local regional pro and pro-shop operator Karl Wolf, former owner of Imperial Lanes and Hi-Roc Bowl, which is now Saratoga Strike Zone.
“I was bowling in a Huck Finn tournament at Sunset Lanes, and Karl was bowling about two pairs to the right of me,” Gallitelli said. “After the fourth game of qualifying, Karl came over to me and said that he was watching me bowl, and that he had something for me to try. He ended up drilling a couple of balls for me, and it really helped.”
Wolf has drilled several balls for Gallitelli to use recently, and he also re-drilled one ball that didn’t feel just right.
“He matched me up with my Modern Marvel ball. I’m not into the technical aspects of bowling, but Karl knows me as a bowler, and he knows how I throw the ball. He has a computer that matches up the way you throw the ball with the equipment,” Gallitelli said.
Gallitelli said that bowling equipment has changed just about as much as photography equipment has.
“I love photography, but I had to change from film to digital, just like all the new balls have changed from what I used to use,” he said. “When I went to Reno for that tournament, I had an old Don Carter ball. It was either an old plastic ball or an old rubber one, and the guy that weighed the ball just kind of laughed at me.”
Also cashing in the NEWS tournament Saturday were Nieckarz ($320), Don Herrington ($200), Neumann ($200), Burton ($140), Terry Ray ($140), Ron Gardner ($140), Ed Gumm ($140), Jack Scaccia ($80), Chris Fedden ($80) and Janean Bailey ($80).
STRIKES & SPARES
Dan Furman of Schenectady, Dan Rowe of Wynantskill and Alex Weglarz of Schaghticoke qualified for the third Huck Finn “Capital Region Bowling Show” Morris
Cramer King of the Hill match over the weekend at Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy. Weglarz will meet Furman in the opening match of the TV finals, with the winner taking on Rowe. The winner of the semifinal meets current king of the hill Joe Mazuryk.
Qualifying for the Huck Finn Joe Donato “Senior Scratch Classic” will be held Saturday at 3 p.m. at Sunset Recreation and Sunday at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. at Spare Time-East Greenbush. The TV taping will be Jan. 19 at 4 p.m. at Playdium, and it will air on MY 4 TV Feb. 2 at 10:30 a.m. Call Jeff Segel for reservations at 439-7628.
Ricky Rovelli of Albany won the last Capital District Youth Scholarship Tour tournament at Alpha Lanes in Troy by defeating Justin Carl of Albany, 50-28, in the roll-off after both shot 204 in the championship match. Rovelli earned a $300 scholarship, and Carl won a $175 scholarship. Other scholarship winners were Chad Sutliff of Valatie ($125), Jonathan Bowman of Peru ($90), Patrick DeVoe of Delmar ($60), Corey Buckley of Albany ($50), Kyle Peck of Antwerp ($40), Michael Hartman of Earlton ($30) and Casey Schoonmaker of Albany ($30). Natasha Bidwell of Schenectady finished eighth, but was unable to claim her scholarship because of NCAA regulations.
The Dick Peckham inaugural Memorial Tournament will be held Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. and Jan. 25 at 9 p.m. at Rolling Greens Lanes. The tournament will be a 9-pin No-Tap event, and handicap will be 75 percent of a five-person 1,100 team average. Prizes will be returned in a ratio of one in 10. Entry fee is $60 per team. Multiple participation will be permitted, but no more than three entrants can bowl together again. Call Rolling Greens at 381-4848 to reserve a spot.
The $4,000 Towne Bowling Academy Team Tournament continues Saturday. Top prize is $4,000. Other squads are Jan. 17, Jan. 18 (double squad), and Jan. 19. Call Towne at 355-3939 to make a reservation.
uThe annual Uncle Nick Over/Under 50 Doubles tournament will be held later this month, with the finals at Towne Bowling Academy. Qualifying squad times will be Jan. 22 (7 p.m. at Olympic Lanes), Jan. 25 (3 p.m. at Towne Bowling Academy) and Jan. 26 (9 a.m. and noon at Towne Bowling Academy).
A tournament to help defray medical costs for Northville High School student Tim Monette through Sacandaga Helping Hands will be held Sunday, Jan. 21 at Arterial Lanes in Gloversville.
The tournament will be held from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. for three games, and the cost is $15 per person. There will be prizes and a 50-50 raffle.
To sign up, call 863-2100 or go online at www.sacandagahelpinghands.com.