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In the Pocket: Vitalo records list constantly changing

Friday, January 16, 2009
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The Vitalo Open Classic is one of the premier leagues in the Schen­ectady Bowling Association, and secretary Dave Mennillo makes sure his bowlers understand their place in league history.

Last Saturday, Hugo McGroty’s Adkins Construction team broke the league record for team series by 24 pins.

The three-man team rolled a 3,203, which eclipsed the old record of 3,179 set by Morris Ford.

McGroty, who has been on fire lately, connected for a 1,082

series, including a 300 game. Chris Mazone led the way for his team with a 299-1,089, while Mark Hilton also hit the 1,000 mark with a 279-1,032.

On the same card, Mark Ray became the second Vitalo Open Classic bowler to better 300 career 900 series. He now has 301 900s, second only to Skip Vigars Jr.’s 519.

Another interesting note in the Vitalo league was that Jamie

Diamond rolled his 19th 900

series in a row this season, and 22nd consecutive 900 series over the last two seasons. That broke McGroty’s mark of 21 straight 900s.

McGroty, who keeps busy as both the Schalmont bowling coach and a Section II bowling coordin­ator, is still among the best bowlers in the area, despite a few nagging injuries. He’s one of the few local bowlers to win a PBA regional, accomplished at Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy by defeating PBA Touring pro Dave Ferraro in the finals, and he is most proud of his consistent scoring average in the former ABC Tournament, now the USBCs.

SCHMIDT STILL SHARP

Joey Schmidt may be 96 years old, but he’s still as sharp as a tack, especially when it comes to discussing bowling.

A group of bowling writers and officials met for lunch at Grandma’s last week, and we had a chance to get reacquainted with one of the Capital Region’s legends.

Schmidt, nicknamed the “Old Warhorse,” may not be familiar to many of our readers because of the era he bowled in, but not only was he a great competitor, he was also quite an innovator and instructor. For many years, he ran the junior program at the old Latham Bowl, now called Spare Time Latham. That’s where I first met him.

He went on to form the Capital District Junior Pro-Scoring league, a traveling league for outstanding juniors which still bears his name.

Schmidt used to send in all the scores by hand every week. Now, he’s turned over many of those

duties to others, but he still stays on top of the bowling world.

We had a great lunch with Joe, and I had to ask him about his personal list of the all-time greats. He admitted that he couldn’t

really decide which guy was better, Joe Donato or Skip Vigars Sr., but added that legendary bowlers like Johnny Walther and Morris Cramer weren’t too far behind. Although he was from a slightly different era, Jim Lewis also made Schmidt’s all-star list from the past.

That’s not a bad list at all, but he forgot to put his own name in it. There’s no doubt that any credible list of Capital Region bowling standouts would have to include Schmidt for his work, both on and off the lanes.

He was a mainstay on the old “TV Tournament Time” show, and was never outclassed when he went up against all of the all-time greats in the area.

When I was reading over some of our old press clippings, I found a group of Schenectady Bowling

Association “Bowlers of the Year” for the 1965-66 season. How about this group? Along with Dick Peckham, Larry Cassera, Johnny Walther, Chuck Bellamy and Pete Higgins, there was Joey Schmidt.

Joey can’t roll the ball anymore, but he still loves to watch others bowl, and he’s an avid reader on the subject. I wish him continued good health in the coming year.

STRIKES & SPARES

u The Thursday Night Men’s league at Imperial Lanes in

Amsterdam has had some outstanding scores lately. Dave Tollner, who bowled his first career 300 game in October, collected his second recently on the way to a career-high triple of 812. It was his second 800 triple, the league’s fifth of this season. Dave’s older brother, Paul, recuperating from a broken ankle suffered during the softball season, fired the league’s seventh perfect game this season on the way to a 773 triple. Dave Tollner is averaging 219, while Paul Montenaro is averaging 210.

u According to a report in the Syracuse Post-Standard, former USBC New York State Bowling Association manager Stephen Donahue pleaded guilty to theft Thursday in Oneida Court. Don­ahue embezzeled about $272,000 from the state bowling asociation, and when sentenced in March could go to state prison for three to nine years for second-degree grand larceny.

u Lou Natorella, 88, who carries a 163 average, picked up the 7-9-10 split in the Senior Men’s Classic league at Sportsman’s Bowl.

u Brian Sendzicki, bowling in the Saturday Night Rebel league, rolled his first 300 game at Spare Time Latham. Sendzicki’s previous best game was a 299. He is averaging 211.

u The Western Diner Northern Bowlers Association’s next stop will be Sunday at Towne Bowling Academy. The field will be limited to the first 80. Bowling begins at 10 a.m., but competitors are asked to get to the lanes early to sign in. Entry fee is $50. There will be $400 added to the prize fund. Call Karl Bieber at 368-5539 to reserve your spot.

u The Karl Wolf and Warren Guernsey Pro Shop Qualifying Open, co-sponsored by the Northeast Bowling Proprietors of New York, has switched its dates to Sunday, Jan. 25, at Spare Time Latham at 5:30 p.m., and to Friday, Jan. 30, for the second round at Ballston Spa Tippy Lanes at

7 p.m. At stake will be a top prize of $1,000 and a paid entry to the 66th U.S. Open, to be held at Brunswick Zone Carolier in North Brunswick, N.J. March 29-April 5. Entry fee is $85. The opening round at Spare Time Latham will be limited to the first 48 bowlers. The format will be eight games across eight pairs. The field then will be cut to the top eight, who advance to the round-robin match play. There will be 30 pins awarded for a win and 15 for a tie during match play, and all pins will carry over from qualifying. Call Jeff Segel at 439-7628 or Marv Sontz at 439-2224 for reservations.

u Rit Carney, Sherm Bowman, Russ Hunter and Ron Priester were the qualifiers from last weekend’s Huck Finn Senior Tournament.

u Qualifying for the Huck Finn Handicap show continues through Sunday. Bowlers use their regular league scores. Handicap is based on 100 percent of the difference

between a bowler’s average and 220. Entry is $10. One in eight bowlers cash. After league qual­ifying, bowlers advance to Redwood Lanes on Jan. 24 for two more games, with the top 32 advancing to single-elimination match play. Top prize is $600 guaranteed. The TV finals will be taped at Spare Time East Greenbush at 4 p.m. Feb. 22. Contact Bill Wray at 878-9641 for more information.

u Schalmont’s Natasha Bidwell, 14, rolled a 300 game and a 730

triple in a recent high school match against Cobleskill-Richmondville.

u The Troy Bowling Assoc­iation will hold its first Plastic Ball Tournament Jan. 24 at Hometown Lanes in Mechanicville at 1 p.m. The format will be three games across three pairs of lanes. Entry fee is $22. No sanded balls will be allowed, and no ball cleaners will be allowed during competition. All balls will be checked by the tourn­ament director. Acceptable bowling balls include the Brunswick T Zone, Ebonite Maxims, Columbia White & Blue Dots and the AMF Boogie balls. Applications are available on the Troy Bowling Association Web site at www.troynyba.org.

u Green Island Lanes will host the Troy Bowling Association’s 34th annual 700 Club Tournament Feb. 14. The event is open only to bowlers who have rolled a scratch 700 triple in a sanctioned league or tournament in the TBA. There will be a 10:30 a.m. and a 1:30 p.m. squad. The format will be three games, with the top eight advancing to a stepladder to determine the winner of each squad. Entry fee is $25. Call Mike Hodlik for reservations at 326-4238.

u The annual Albany Bowling Association Trio Tournament, now called the “Good Sport Trio Tournament,” begins this weekend, and continues through Feb. 1 at Sunset Recreation. The tournament, in its 46th year, is open to all certified USBC bowlers. Call 465-4878 for more information.

 
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