Ten-pin bowling leagues returned to Hood River’s venerable Orchard Lanes last week after being shut down six months ago pursuant to orders from Gov. Kate Brown because of the coronavirus pandemic. We could not see the smiles on their faces because everyone wore a mask as required, but it was easy to tell there were a lot of happy bowlers who missed league action and were glad to be back! We were doubly excited to see everyone. Real bowling is a big-time game that is both recreation and sport. Leagues add to that because a little friendly team and head-to-head competition makes everyone try harder. It really helps to do better when a little something is on the line. It sure feels good to win those battles and doing better is always more fun. 

Jeff Miller, Bill Pullum and Bernie Keys starred last week. They are a formidable trio of talented bowlers who are charter members of the elite in local bowling. All have been long-time regulars on the lanes. You want to see a bowling ball hook, come on up and catch Jeff and Bill in a pin spilling session. These two powerful right-handers roll the rock using nearly the entire lane from way on the left side out to the right side and back left into the pins. They hook the ball at least two feet! It is awe inspiring watching them use their big hook balls to literally demolish those poor three-pound, six-ounce pins. Clearly, they are darn good at what they do as together they have resumes that include 15-20 perfect 300 games each! Jeff just nosed out Bill for top scoring honors last week.

Jeff racked up a nifty scratch 704 three-game series and Bill finished with 690, both in the power-packed Wednesday night Fraternal league. Jeff’s prowess powered his team to a 16-9 win in a tight, hard-fought match with Mt. Hood Barbecue. Bill brought out his inner Reggie Jackson by being the stick that stirs the drink along with the help of teammate George (no-tap champ) Buck whose easy going game paralyzed the pins with a fine scratch 605 set (which became a whopping 722 with handicap!) keying their Orchard Lanes team to a swamping of their opponents 23-2. It is hard to beat that action.

Now, here is what really makes bowling a great game. Bernie Keys scattered the sticks to the tune of a super scratch 672 three-game series in the Thursday afternoon senior Lads & Lassies league. That is a pro-like 224 average! This is special because our seniors are over 50 years of age and Bernie, who is clearly a heck of a player, has improved so much in the past few years that she is now a force to be the top female bowler in town. By the way, Bernie took high scratch game honors last week with a gaudy 277 that she notched in her 672 set. 

Folks, a game that good is literally only one strike away from a perfect 300! And she also beat all the men in the single game department in league action for the entire week. That is some mighty fine bowling! Here is another important point to ponder. Bernie, who is also a right-hander, plays down the boards, which means she rolls her ball on the right side of the lane more direct toward the pins with a small but effective hook that turns the sticks into sawdust. Her style is textbook and really should be implemented by all women because playing the lanes down and in like she does, provides the maximum angle for the ball to hit the pins which results in piles of strikes. Her style proves you do not have to hook the ball out of the building to knock down those pins.  It also proves seniors and women can bowl and bowl well. So, let us stop with those old excuses that you cannot bowl because you are a woman, or you are too old. We have an amazing number of senior bowlers who are in their 70s, 80s and even 90s! Go bowling!

 Last weekend, Orchard Lanes hosted the NW Bowler Association seven-game scratch tournament that attracts some of the best bowlers in the region because they enjoy top competition and challenging lane conditions. The pattern used for this event was The Great Wall of China, which is 48 feet in length with 25 ml. of oil per lane. It is very slick and there is only 12 feet of lane left after the ball comes out of the oil to get to the pins. Lefty Darren Stanley, who qualified second, won the tournament and $390 by beating the qualifying leader Ryan Conner in the required 2 game roll off, 248 to186 and 235 to 174. Ryan was the qualifying leader at 321 pins over 200 which is a classy 245 average. Darren averaged 217 in qualifying. The tournament paid the top six and it took a 207 average to cash. Four of our locals tested their skills in the tournament with Jeff Miller doing the best, finishing ninth at a 202 average.


Wednesday afternoon senior Colts & Fillies:

Lynn Spellman, 225 game; Bernie Keys, 212 game; Mike Parke, 203 game; Rick Sherrell, 203 game

Wednesday night Fraternal:

Jeff Miller, 257 game and 704 series; Bill Pullum, 252 game and 690 series; Roger Montavon, 256 game; Lynn Spellman, 246 game; Ken Kramer, 245 game; Bryan Mason, 236 game; Jeff Olson, 235 game

Thursday afternoon senior Lads & Lassies:

Bernie Keys, 277, 204 games and 672 series

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