unday started slow for the Brookings-Harbor High School bowling team as they began competition in their only home match of the season against nine other league teams from all over Southern Oregon.
The Bruins weren’t shooting well from the start and sat in third place overall when the break for lunch came around.
The Bruins used the break to good advantage, getting their bellies full and their game back on track to cruise to a second-place standing after the round of baker games concluded. (A baker game is one where each of five bowlers on a team bowls twice in sequential order.)
With the second-place standing at the end of the baker games, the Bruins qualified for the final playoff and got to rest while Grants Pass High School (third place) quickly beat South Umpqua High School (fourth place).
Just as the Cavemen polished off the Lancers in short order, the Bruins didn’t waste any time, or extra effort, in beating the Cavemen 375-280 to advance to the finals against Roseburg High School.
According to Head Coach Randy Scruggs, Roseburg has been a powerhouse in the district and, while they haven’t won state every year, they’ve been contenders for the past many years.
“Roseburg in the finals. Doesn’t get any bigger than that,” he said. “They’ve ruled the roost for years.”
The Bruins faltered in the first half of the final and lost the 10-frame game 147-174 to head into the second game down by 27 pins.
“We played pretty good,” senior Ryken Nelson said. “We should have played better, but we’ll practice and get there.”
The second game started out along the same lines as the first, with Denny Bench missing an opening strike, but picking up the spare to keep the Bruins in the game.
In the fourth frame, the Roseburg bowler hit a strike sending the Bruins into a get-a-strike-or-lose situation. Nelson refused to be daunted and bowled a perfect 10-pin shot.
The next three bowlers for Roseburg nailed strikes and tried to pull away but the Bruins answered strike for strike. In the eighth frame the Roseburg bowler faltered, missing a strike and settling for a spare.
Senior Dayton Grenert didn’t falter though and nailed a fifth straight strike for the Bruins, keeping them in the hunt for the victory.
The ninth-frame bowlers for both teams traded spares setting up a 10th-frame showdown.
Morris rolled a first-ball strike, allowing himself two more balls while the Roseburg bowler rolled a nine-pin ball and needed a spare and a strike to finish out the game but missed the lone pin on his second ball handing the victory to the Bruins.
Morris, undaunted, rolled a second-ball strike to stretch the victory total even more.
On Morris third and final ball he released early and appeared to miss the strike, but as he turned and began to walk away in disgust one of the toppled pins rolled over the knocked the lone standing pin down for the third strike and a turkey for Morris.
“It was the best thing ever,” Morris said. “It sets the tone for the rest of the year.”
For Scruggs, it was nice to finally get a home win as they took the 373-353 win.
“It was really impressive,” he said. “The final strike was just icing on the cake, and it was amazing. That’s the first time we’ve won in our own house. I was really happy.”