Stevenson, St. Charles East put team first at Bear Invitational
A season on the upswing continued in that direction on Saturday for Stevenson's boys bowling team.
The Patriots had already rolled past their competition in the Northern Illinois boys bowling conference, winning the title for the first time this past week. Stevenson won 14 matches against the seven other schools in the league while losing only one game all season. The Patriots won 124 out of a possible 126 points.
On Saturday, the Patriots took part in the Bear Invitational at Brunswick Deer Park. Stevenson qualified for the five-team stepladder finals in the 18-team field with 5,180 pins along with St. Charles East 5,258. The others to qualify were tournament leader Hononegah (5,363), Harlem (5,218) and Freeport (4,971).
The Patriots finished in the fifth spot after falling by 1 pin to fifth-seeded Freeport 388-387 in two games in the opening match.
"We're never satisfied with anything but first," Stevenson coach Barry Lapping said. "We made a late charge, but we couldn't pull it out. This was a solid tournament and we bowled well. Overall, we're on a good roll and just continue on."
Taking part in the format certainly provided a different perspective on the team aspect of bowling.
"I do like the Baker system a lot," said Stevenson's Richy Zenner. "Baker shows what the team is about, not just individually. Some people don't like it, because they want to see their score. The best thing is that it brings the team together."
Second-seeded St. Charles East lost its match to third seed Harlem 391-379 but gave a strong team effort in reaching the top five.
"It's a another building experience," said St. Charles East coach Steve Dessauer. I really wanted to see us do well here. These guys came through as a team. All of them, one through five, gave it 110 percent. We faced a top-ranked team (Harlem) and we belong."
The championship went to Harlem over Hononegah 376-339.
This was the fifth year of the Bears Invite, which marks the end of the regular season before regionals begin next weekend.
The tournament began with each team in the field throwing three games in the morning.
Then the teams were seeded by the team scores for the Baker format in the afternoon. They each bowled nine more games to determine the top five teams that took part in the stepladder finals.
The Baker format has each bowler from a team take turns for individual frames, putting an emphasis on each frame toward the team's score.
Individually, Mitch Norris of Grant was the runner-up with a 753 series. He finished right behind the tournament leader Trey Arnold of Hononegah (760). Norris threw a final game of 275 after games of 257 and 221.
"I was just feeling it and the ball was coming off my hand well," Norris said. "I just had a good day. In the last game I was trying not to get a split. I did have nine in a row, and it was a little nerve-wracking at the end. I did get a split a the end."
Dom Strauss of St. Charles finished third with games of 243, 233 and 256 for a 732. Fenton's Kris Schimpf was right behind with a 724.
"I ended up bowling pretty well," Strauss said. "I thought I carried pretty well and it surprised me that I didn't leave too many 10 or 7 pins. I picked up all my spares and went 30 clean, which usually doesn't happen to me too often."
Stevenson was led by Zenner, who shot a 697 series good for seventh place. He also had games of 224, 205 and a 268.
"On the third pair, I wanted to shoot a big score and I did," Zenner said. "The team was feeding off each other and we all wanted to keep striking to get big scores. We came back with a big team score (1,179)."
Grant's Jake Lostroscio finished eighth with a 685 and a high game of 244, while Donny Gross of Lake Zurich rolled in 10th with a 672.