BJ Rucinski knows the ins and outs of ball drilling as much as anyone, so when he finds the right weapon with the right shot, look out.
Using a new Roto Grip Hyper Cell that he just recently drilled up, Rucinski fired back-to-back 800s last week at Sportsman’s Bowl.
Filling in for Hugo McGroty in the Sportsman’s Majors on Monday night, he fired a 262, 277 and a 300 for a career-high 839. He followed that up with a 278, 258 and another 300 in the Sportsman’s Tuesday Nite Classic the next night.
Rucinski, 38, who is employed as a print/copy center salesman during the day, also works part-time with co-proprietor Bob Tedesco Jr. at the Sportsman’s Bowl pro shop several evenings.
“I used the same ball for both of the 800s. I didn’t want to put it down,” said Rucinski. “I just recently switched to Roto Grip equipment after using Track equipment for several years. I made the switch after talking to [two-time Joe Donato Scratch Singles champion] Mike Rose before going to nationals.”
On Monday night, Rucinski bowled on lanes 13 and 14 against Tedesco’s team.
“That made it a little more interesting,” he said. “Bobby and I have been working together in the pro shop for about eight years now. We’re basically partners. I love working in the pro shop. That’s the fun part, checking the layouts and drilling the ball up different ways. I do it for a hobby.”
On Monday night, Rucinski recorded the final 20 consecutive strikes, while the next night, his 278 included a pair of pesky 10-pins.
“I had to bowl more inside Tuesday night, because we were bowling the second shift,” he said. “I usually roll the ball from the 15th board out to the ninth or 10th board. I’m usually in around the third arrow, but sometimes I have to move in around the fourth arrow.”
Rucinski, who also bowls Friday nights at Sunset Recreation with his father, Bill, has 17 800 triples and 21 perfect games to his credit. He also has 18 299 games and two 298s, along with a 295, 296 and 297.
“I’m averaging about 229 at Sunset and 239 at Sportsman’s,” he said. “The ball hooks a lot more at Sunset, so I can’t even use my newer stuff there. I’ve got to use lower-end equipment with a weaker drill pattern.”
Rucinski, who coaches the Mohonasen High School junior varsity team and helps out Tedesco with the sectional champion Warriors’ varsity, dabbles in tournaments, but family obligations prevent him from competing every weekend.
“I travel with Hugo [McGroty], Mark Hilton, Billy Carl and a bunch of other guys to the nationals, and this week we’re going to the Green Mountain Open. There’s about 10 of us guys who travel together,” he said. “I’ve also competed in some Huck Finn tournaments. I bowled with my 86-year-old grandmother in the Huck Finn mixed doubles. But I’ve got a little 5-year-old girl, so I don’t want to be gone every weekend.”
STRIKES & SPARES
This week’s Huck Finn “Capital Region Bowling Show” qualifiers will be Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. at Spare Time-Latham. There will be no Saturday squad. The field is limited to the first 48 entries in both squads. Also, there will be no additional two-game roll-off after the three-game qualifier. One in five will advance, with the top six moving on to the finals. Entry fee is $45, and re-entry is $35. First place will be worth $600. Reservations are mandatory because of the limited fields. Call Jeff Segel at 439-7628. There will be same-day TV taping at Spare Time-Latham at 6, and that show will air April 6 at 10:30 a.m. on MY 4.
The final handicap division in-house qualifying for the Huck Finn show continues through March 30. Just use your league scores. Entry fee is $10.
Olympic Lanes will host the Northern Bowlers Association March 30 at 9:30 a.m. for both men and women. Entry fee is $55. The format will be the usual five-game sweeper.
Sportsman’s Bowl co-proprietor Paul Adkins rolled a 300 game en route to a program-best 761 triple in the Sportsman’s Tuesday Nite Classic.
Jessica Aiezza slammed a 719 to win the Open division in the 40th annual Electric City tournament last week at Sportsman’s Bowl. Crystal Slater (648) won the A division, Barbara Hutchings (554) took the B division, Jenn Parker (569) triumphed in the C division and Elisha Taylor (572) captured the D division.
Gloversville’s Devon Davis received a $1,000 “Gift For Life” scholarship from the USBC.
Rolling Greens Lanes is hosting a no-tap tavern tournament, followed by a full buffet, on April 6 at 1 p.m. Handicap will be 75 percent of a five-person 1,100 team average. Entry fee is $100 per team. Call Rolling Greens at 381-4848 for more information.
Connor LeClair of West Coxsackie and Tim Banta of Amsterdam will square off in the final Huck Finn Morris Cramer “King of the Hill” show, which has a three-game match-play format, unlike the regular scratch shows. It will air March 30.
The annual Charlie Bechard Memorial senior handicap tournament continues Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. at Green Island Lanes. Entry fee is $23. Call Green Island Lanes at 273-2322 for reservations.
Boulevard Bowl hosts the 20th annual Blizzard Bowl Sunday at 11:45 a.m. Entry fee is $80 per team. A Continental breakfast is included. Other squads are March 30
(11:45 a.m.), April 6 (11:45 a.m.) and April 12 (9:45 p.m.). Optional singles and doubles are available by using your same team event scores. Call Boulevard at 374-4171 for reservations.
Todd James, 31, from East New Market, Md., became the 23rd bowler to record a perfect 900 triple Tuesday night at Bryan’s Bowling Center in Laurel, Del.
The Robert Guild Trio tournament continues at Alpha Lanes in Troy tonight at 9:30, Saturday at 1 and 3 p.m. and Sunday at 1. Entry fee is $60 per team. Call 235-4941 for reservations.
Sportsman’s Bowl is the site for Saturday’s Capital District Youth Scholarship Tour event at 1:30 p.m. It’s also a Junior Gold qualifier. Contact Sportsman’s Bowl or 982-0035 for more information.
Town ’N Country’s Bar and Tavern tournament will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. Entry fee for the four-person handicap event is $100. Call 456-1113 for more information.
The 76th annual Schenectady/Scotia USBC Bowling Association’s Women’s Championship Tournament will be contested April 28 through May 10 at Boulevard Bowl. Entry fee will be $16 per event. Average caps for the doubles will be Class A (371-480), Class B (311-370) and Class C (310 of lower). Average caps for singles will be Class A (186-240), Class B (156-185) and Class C (155 or lower). Handicap for each event will be 100 percent. Entries close April 15. Squads will be April 28-May 2 at 6:30 p.m. for teams; May 5-9 at 6:30 p.m. for singles and doubles; May 3 at 11 a.m. for singles and doubles and May 10 at 11 a.m. for singles and doubles. Make all checks payable to the Schenectady and Scotia USBC Women’s Bowling Association.
Reserve your spot for the 81st annual Schenectady USBC Bowling Association’s City Championship, to be contested April 5 through April 25 at Boulevard Bowl. Top prize for the four-person team event will be $1,200. There also will be a special team scratch competition, with the top prize worth $600, plus 100 percent of the money collected on the special scratch squad April 21 at 6:30 p.m. Handicap for the handicap events will be 90 percent of 240. Entry fee will be $20 per event, and $5 for all-events. The squads will be April 5 (11 a.m. and 2 p.m.), April 6 (3:30 p.m.), April 12 (11 a.m. and 2 p.m.), April 19 (2 p.m.), April 21 (9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.), April 23 (9:30 a.m.), April 24 (6:30 p.m.) and April 25 (6:30 p.m.). For more information, contact Keith Lawyer (300-0209).