There was a time when every athletic endeavor he ever tried came easy for Brian Brown, one of Mont Pleasant High School’s all-time great multi-sport stars.
The former teaching assistant at Ballston Spa High School excelled at baseball, basketball and football among the major team sports at MP, and rolling a bowling ball in his spare time came just as naturally.
Now 62 years old, his body slowed by 14 surgeries on his knees, back, elbow and wrist, Brown can no longer count on his raw athleticism to carry him through on the lanes. He needed a little help, and fortunately, good friend Bob Tedesco Jr. came to the rescue.
Tedesco, who bowls with Brown in the Sportsman’s Major league Monday night at Sportsman’s Bowl, also runs the pro shop there, and he surprised Brown with a new bowling ball last month. Since using the new piece of equipment, called the Storm Match, Brown has been on a tear and is bowling a lot more like his old self.
He fired a 712 triple recently in the Sportsman’s Major, shot a 768 triple while filling in as a sub in the Capital District All Star League and also shot four-game series of 997, 1012 and 937 in the Vitalo Classic, which bowls Saturday nights at Sportsman’s Bowl.
In the Vitalo, Brown has raised his average from 205 to 222 in just a month. His streak of 35 consecutive years of averaging 200 or better in that league will be a record when the season concludes, and he owns a composite career average of 220.
Brown’s exploits on the lanes have been well documented over the years. He’s a member of both the Vitalo and the Schenectady Bowling Association Hall of Fame.
“I’ve been struggling quite a bit lately with my bowling game,” Brown said. “I’ve been using a 14-pound ball because I can’t generate enough speed with a heavier ball. Since Bob drilled up that new ball for me, I’ve got my confidence back. I can move a little more to the right on the approach, like I used to, and my carry has been great.”
Brown once averaged as high as 232 for an entire season. He’s won numerous league championships in the Sportsman’s Major with Tedesco, Mike Smith and Fred McMahon as his teammates. He’s also been a multiple champion in the Vitalo with Earl Lawrence Jr. and John Leone as his teammate.
“I’ve been fortunate to have such great guys on my teams,” Brown said. “I’ve slowed down a little in the last few years, but the guys still want me on their teams, and we have a great time.”
Before his recent retirement, Brown was a teacher assistant in the wood shop at Ballston Spa High School for the last 25 years. He also coached bowling there for 11 seasons, as well as modified baseball for another eight seasons. He was also the assistant bowling coach at Schenectady County Community College for many years.
At Mont Pleasant, Brown was a sensational baseball player, leading the Red Raiders to the Class AA-A championship over previously unbeaten Colonie in 1971. He was a first-team All-Area quarterback in 1971 and was also an excellent guard on the basketball team. He earned a scholarship to play baseball for Division II University at New Haven.
“After I stopped playing baseball, I turned to bowling,” Brown said. “My athleticism in the other sports always carried me through on the bowling lanes. I could always get away with being athletic on the lanes. I didn’t have to think about the game very much.”
Brown has recorded 16 300 games and 16 800 triples over the years, but it’s a lot harder to dominate on the lanes when your body doesn’t do what your brain tells it to.
“The new technology in bowling is a lot like hitting a baseball with an aluminum bat,” Brown said. “As I’ve gotten older, I can’t throw the ball like I used to. But the new balls can help, if you get the right one.”
Brown, a lifelong New York Yankees fan, admits that getting Tedesco’s help was essential for him to remain competitive on the lanes, but his good buddy, a devout Boston Red Sox fan, pulled quite a prank on him a few years ago.
“Bob told me I needed to get a spare ball because I couldn’t throw the ball hard enough to use my one strike ball for both strikes and spares,” Brown said. “He told me he would pick one out for me. I get to the pro shop, and I opened up the box, and I almost died. It was a Red Sox ball with Dustin Pedroia’s name on it. I told Bob that I wasn’t going to pay for it, but that I would use it any way. I’ve used it for the last eight years.”
STRIKES & SPARES
Jenna Lemke of Delmar and Hunter Kempton of Buzzard’s Bay, Mass., capped off a wire-to-wire victory by defeating Cody Faggiano of Queensbury and Michael Boyce of Gansevoort 615-596 in the finals to win the Capital District Youth Scholarship Tour’s first Doubles Classic at Sportsman’s Bowl.
Angel Stein shot a 967 four-game series, including handicap, and earned $120 for winning the Women’s Capital District 700 Tournament Saturday at Hometown Lanes. Women from the Troy, Albany and Schenectady Bowling Associations competed. Pam Bertrand (937, $65) and Stephanie Malette (905, $40) also cashed. Nayomi Yando (888) and Diane Morrell (880) rounded out the top five.
The Troy Bowling Association will conduct a Baker style team handicap tournament at Hilltop Lanes Dec. 3-4 with two squads each day. There will be three divisions: youth, adult/youth and adult only. Cost for the first two divisions is $25 per team. Cost for the adult only division will be $50 per team. Contact Michael Hodlik at 225-0694 for more information.
Capital Region junior bowlers excelled at the third annual Michelle Shafer Scholarship Tournament last weekend. Billy McGaffin finished second in the boys’ division, and Jordan Byrnes was the runner-up in the girls’ division. Kenny Livengood and Brandon Wolf also finished among the top six for the boys, and Lauren Piotrowski finished among the top six in the girls’ division.
Brian Boghosian defeated Sonny Dorstek 278-202 in the championship match of the New Era Senior Tournament’s tournament at Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy. Boghosian earned $400, and Dorstek took home $220. Artie Hoffman and Craig Schoonmaker rounded out the top four and earned $170 each.
The next tournament on the Huck Finn “Capital Region Bowling Show” schedule will be the Super Scratch Singles at Towne Bowling Academy Dec. 4. This Sunday’s televised show on MY4 TV at 10 a.m. will be the Over/Under 50 Scratch Doubles event from Middleburgh Lanes.
With Brandon Wolf rolling a 279-813 triple — his third career 800 — Mohonasen won the Rotterdam Invitational Monday with a 3,304 team total at Sportsman’s Bowl.
Dominick Favata rolled his first 300 game en route to a 763 to win a singles tournament at Spy’s Bowl.
The seventh annual Handicap Team Tournament continues through Jan. 22 at Towne Bowling Academy. Top prize is $4,000. Contact Towne BA at 355-3939 for more information.