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Better late than never for a trio of local bowlers

April 24, 2012
By STEVE BROWNLEE - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

Let me show you the slides from my recent vacation. Oh, I know you'll love them. It was a bowling trip, after all.

Naw, scratch that.

I've got lots more important things to share today.

Article Photos


You might remember two weeks ago when I said that Mike Musolf was ending the season with a bang when he shot a perfect 300 game in an 813 series at Superior Lanes.

Scratch that idea too.

I've got not one, not two, but three bowlers who accomplished some amazing things on the lanes since I wrote that last column.

Last week, Greg Michels, 41, of Marquette found his Tuesday Night Mixed League playoff round at Superior Lanes a good time to make lanes history.

This National Weather Service senior forecaster told me that in the past, he has run into some high-pressure systems - or would it be some of that thundersnow they had out east over the weekend? - trying to bowl a 300 game, getting as far as the first nine strikes just a week earlier.

"Last week I got nervous and messed up my shot," he said about the first shot in the 10th frame. "I read what you wrote about 'Moose' (Mike Musolf) saying that the first ball in the 10th is the toughest one, so I concentrated really hard on that one.

"I figured if I got that one, it'll be my highest game ever."

He did a lot more than that, using his 15-pound Storm Anarchy reactive resin ball to complete the first-game 300 and finishing the night with 31 strikes in 35 attempts, giving him games of 246 and 279 for 825, a tie for the ninth-highest league series ever bowled in Marquette County.

"I wasn't even thinking about 800 at the time," he said about the third game. "I was just trying to beat my old highest series (742)."

Of the four shots that weren't strikes, three were 10-pins, two that he spared in back-to-back frames in the middle of the second game, and one he missed to start the third game. The other errant shot was the 1-2 combination in the 10th frame of game two, another spare.

A week earlier in the same league - in the position round to end the regular season - Mathew Adams bowled his first 300 game. He also started with perfection, adding 201 and 187 for 688.

He'd rolled the first 10 strikes to start a game last season, with his best this season being the first nine.

Adams, 21, honored the memory of the late Tim McVannel, who died in 2005 and was one of the original bowlers for Marquette Senior High School in the late 1990s. Adams himself bowled for the Redmen, graduating in 2009.

"He was looking out for me," Adams said about McVannel, adding that he considered him his "big brother" while he was growing up.

This lefthander had an interesting story with the hand-me-down ball he used, a 15-pound Lane #1 Boom'r-ang reactive resin.

"Justin (Stephens) gave it to Andrew (Virch) and he didn't really care for it. I tried it once and I liked it, so I traded it for a plastic ball," he said about the two righties, one who is among the area's best bowlers, Stephens, and a current member of the MSHS bowling team, Virch.

So of course the ball had different holes punched in it for each owner, right?

"Naw, Andrew didn't have it long enough, and Justin's hand is close enough that it works for me," Adams said.

Without getting too technical, usually lefties and righties have the holes drilled in different places to take advantage of a ball's inner-core dynamics.

Instead, Adams found the righty drilling keeps his lefthanded throws from getting too wild on the lane, sometimes a problem for this hard-throwing, big-revving, but still smooth bowler.

Finally, there's Heather Sandberg, 22, of Palmer, who shot 707 in the Wednesday Trio League at Country Lanes on April 4.

She joins Amber Buckmaster as the only women to bowl a 700 series in the area this season, and each of them has two. Sandberg also shot 708 in the same league in January.

This time, Sandberg rolled 223, 277 and 207 using her 14-pound Storm Anarchy. Her 10-strike middle game was interrupted only by a 10-pin she spared in the fifth frame and an eight-count on the third ball in the 10th.

Sandberg surprised herself with the big set after struggling to break 200 in the first half of her usual Wednesday night double shift in Ishpeming.

She may have found a secret to success, however - chase away her teammates, specifically another of the area's top bowlers, Steve Windahl.

"Steve was off that night," Sandberg said. "Both times he was gone when I shot 700. Hmm, maybe that means something."

She did laugh as she was kidding, since she credits the 230-average Windahl and her other regular teammate, 215-average Clay Sandberg, her father, for pushing her to keep up despite carrying one of the area's highest women's averages in the 190s.

I'm going to save The Mining Journal Bowlers of the Week for next week, which will be my last bowling column until fall. That way I'll catch any stragglers and leave everything neat and tidy for the summer.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.



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