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Buckmaster rolls 748 while pregnant

January 31, 2012
By STEVE BROWNLEE - Journal Sports Staff ( , The Mining Journal

This is getting to be a regular habit for Amber Buckmaster - not just bowling 700 series, but bowling them while she's pregnant.

The 31-year-old Marquette resident carries the only 200 average of any woman in the area - 204 in the Wednesday Industrial League at Superior Lanes - and it will only go up after the nice 748 she shot in that league last week.

The series is believed to be the sixth highest ever by an area woman, a list that includes her own 767 when she was still Amber Lancour almost seven years ago to the day in a different Superior Lanes league.

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That score she bowled on Jan. 23, 2005, is No. 2 on the all-time women's list to the 779 bowled by Diana Windahl at Country Lanes in Ishpeming in December 1996.

Buckmaster, who now has 11 700s, bowled a trio of them about three years ago when she was expecting her son Sean. But each of those came earlier in the pregnancy, the last when she was about six months along.

Now she's 7 months pregnant, and she told me after bowling on Wednesday that she might bowl another week or two - or this might've been her swan song for awhile.

"I'd like to see if I can get enough games in to be eligible for the high-score awards in our league, since I'm close," she said.

Wednesday's bowling would make that worth it. She started modestly enough a pin under her average with 203, then blew the doors off with 266 and 279 using her 14-pound Ebonite NVD reactive resin ball.

She started the second game with six straight strikes, then threw back-to-back spares before striking out, at least to the last "fill" ball in the 10th frame.

And the final game included an opening spare, nine consecutive strikes through the first ball in the 10th and another spare. Both those spares were 7-pins.

"I only had two unlucky shots all night," she said, adding that both came in the first game - including probably the unluckiest of them all, a pocket 7-10 split in "the fourth or fifth frame."

"I had to move two boards on the approach," she said about having to allow for more hook from her ball as the lane oil conditioner starting wearing out.

She said that while this later stage of her pregnancy doesn't really hurt her actual bowling, what it does is limit the adjustments she can make.

"I have to move on the approach because I can't speed the ball up," Buckmaster said. "If I try to speed it up, I lose my balance."

She agreed that's helped make her a better tactician on the lanes, trying to figure out exactly what kinds of moves to make with her feet and her lane target when the oil pattern changes.

Not surprisingly, Buckmaster is the Mining Journal Bowler of the Week, shooting 136 pins over average with her big score.

Second on the ladies' list is Kaye Garrow, who went 77 pins over her 167 average in the Tuesday Night Mixed at Superior with a 578 series that included a high game of 200.

The men had a pretty good race, won out by Greg Rosten at Country Lanes in the Tuesday Miller Genuine Draft Major League. He shot 154 over his 166 average with 652 on games of 257, 192 and 203.

Close behind was a teammate of mine, Fred Nees in the Wednesday Industrial at Superior - yes, the same session that Buckmaster had her 748. Using a 198 average, Nees hit 742 on games of 246, 259 and 237.

And then came Richard Vanderschaegen, whose name I'm actually learning to spell with all of his appearances here, including that plus-277 he had the second time I put out BOW winners back in October. This time he was 145 over with 673, including a 232 top game.

It's also neat to see his improvement - he was using a 176 average this week, 20 pins higher than his average was back in his first big week in October.

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



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