Schenectady’s Lauren May Piotrowski is extremely serious about bowling. The game may be just a form of recreation for most, but for the former Schenectady High School standout, it could also take her to the next collegiate level and provide her with a way of making a living.
“I plan on continuing to bowl at a four-year school after SCCC [Schenectady County Community College] and hopefully turn pro some day,” Piotrowski said.
The former national high average leader among female juniors is on a hot streak lately. She recently became the first female bowler to win back-to-back Capital District Youth Scholarship Tour tournaments and followed that up with a runner-up finish in the prestigious Michelle Shafer Scholarship tournament.
She credits her father, Michael, with teaching her how to bowl, but she looks up to former Schalmont High School and Nebraska All-American Liz Kuhlkin, who is currently a member of the Professional Women’s Bowling Association. “Liz is a great bowler. I would love to be like her. Plus, she’s been really good to me,” Piotrowski said.
Piotrowski also receives a helping hand from veteran SCCC head coach Ray Ross, who has guided numerous men’s and women’s teams at the school to national championships.
“I think my game is pretty simple,” she said. “I’m a down-and-in player. I play straight up the boards. I don’t try to do too much to the ball. I get the ball to the pocket, and I don’t try to cover too many boards. That keeps me out of trouble,” she said.
Piotrowski’s fundamentally sound game also makes it easier for her to make adjustments on the lanes. “I start off trying to move a board or two. If that doesn’t work, I can make a ball change or move my mark,” she said. ‘I typically carry between 6-8 balls to a tournament, but when we compete in Tier I events [along with Division I programs], we are limited to only 5 balls. That’s when we have to talk to Coach Ross about which balls will work the best.”
Piotrowski prefers using Storm, Roto Grip or Track bowling equipment, and she always carries a spare ball. “Coach Ross makes us all use a spare ball because it’s hard to be accurate on your spares with a strike ball,” she said.
Junior bowling has been ongoing for a couple of months, but the college season begins this weekend. “We are bowling Saturday in Johnstown and then Sunday at Boulevard Bowl,” she said. “I think this year’s team is going to be great. All of the girls are from this area. We all know each other and we are friends. The team chemistry is fantastic.”
Piotrowski, who works 20 hours a week at her part-time job, said that from now through the end of the college season she will bowl four times a week. “We practice on Wednesday and Friday, and we normally bowl tournaments on Saturday and Sunday,” she said. “I’m having a pretty good year so far, and I’m looking forward to bowling the college season.”
STRIKES & SPARES
Steve Black defeated Connor LeClair in the finals of the second Double “J” scratch tournament of the season last Sunday at Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy. Dan Kryzak and Paul Dumas were the other semifinalists. There were 31 entries.
The first Amateur League Bowlers Association of New York handicap singles tournament, part of the Double “J” series, will be held Sunday at East Greenbush Bowling Center. Only bowlers with an average less than 215 are eligible. Top prize will be $500, based on 60 entries. The format will be three games. Handicap will be 100 percent of the difference between your average and 215, with a maximum of 75 pins per game. Entry fee is $45. For more information, contact Jim Burton (518-209-4748) or Jeff Segel (518-496-9700).
Senior bowlers age 50 and older are eligible to compete in the next New Era Senior Tour event Saturday at Playdium Bowling Center in Albany. The tournament begins at noon. The usual format remains in place, with four games of qualifying in the 50-55, 56-66 and 67-plus age divisions. One in four advances to match play, as well as additional wild cards from the non-qualifiers. Entry fee is $65, plus $25 in dues, payable at $5 per tournament.
Towne Bowling Academy will host its eighth annual Team Tournament beginning Nov. 17 at 9:30 p.m. The four-person team event continues over 14 different dates. Two squads will be available on most dates. First place prize will be $4,000. Entry fee is $160 per team. Handicap will be 90 percent of 225, with a maximum of 50 pins per person. There is also an optional singles event ($15 entry fee), using the same team scores. Contact Towne Bowling Academy at 518-355-3939 for more information.
Kingpin’s Alley Family Fun Center will hold its fourth Baker Doubles tournament Sunday. Entry fee is $130 per tandem. First place is $1,000 per team. One in six teams advance to round robin match play. There will be an eight-game qualifier. Bowling begins at 10 a.m. Call 518-793-9606 to reserve your spot.
Boulevard Bowl’s Tavern Tournament is set for Nov. 26 at 1 p.m. Entry fee for the four-person team event is $80 per team. First place is $200. Handicap is 90 percent of a 900 team average. Call 518-374-4171 for reservations.
Town ‘N Country Lanes’ annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Shoot begins at 10 a.m. Competitors roll four game with the low game tossed out. Entry fee is $30. Handicap is 80 percent of 240.
The Capital District Youth Scholarship Tour, in its eighth season, continues Nov. 18 at 12:30 p.m. at Del Lanes.