Some friendly competition never hurt anybody, right? Certainly not when it comes to teammates Tom Seeke and Andy Pool during the Tuesday Night Mixed League at Superior Lanes.
Seeke matched his teammate and longtime friend this season by bowling a perfect 300 game during the Tuesday league two weeks ago on Dec. 10, matching the one Pool had in a Country Lanes league on Nov. 20.
Seeke, 47, got his fourth career perfecto right out of the gate in the opening game before he tacked on lines of 225 and 258 for 783, which was actually not even 100 pins over his 231 average at the time.
Despite missing back-to-back spares early in the second game, Seeke also had a shot to hit 800 going into the 10th and final frame of the third game. He needed two strikes, he told me, but left either a 2-pin or 4-pin on a slightly light hit to end that bid. The 800, like 300, is a U.S. Bowling Congress honor score.
"It's a ball I bought for $20 from Jeff Miller," Seeke said about his 15-pound Morich Ravage reactive resin ball he used that evening. Miller runs the Superior Lanes pro shop, selling and drilling balls and carrying other equipment bowlers need.
"The ball is about 10 years old, and it was one that was left unclaimed in his shop. I just had it plugged and redrilled when I got it."
He said it's a ball that works best on "middle to heavy oil," even though he credits some of his success this year on Superior putting a "shorter shot out."
The oil is the conditioner applied to the lane, which not only protects it from heavy, hard bowling balls, but changes the amount a ball will hook, the heavier the oil the less it hooks.
The "shorter" shot is related to how far down the lane the oil is applied from the foul line. That oil is almost never applied end to end, otherwise a ball wouldn't get the hook at the tail end of its path that provides power to knock lots of pins down.
Though he didn't tell me on Monday when I talked to him on the phone from Ohio, where he's spending the holidays with his wife Sarah's family, I know from having bowled with Seeke over the years that he throws one of the straightest balls for a high-average bowler in this area.
Generally, it helps him be consistently accurate, though he's more apt to leave a pin behind on quality shots. A little "shorter" oil gets his ball hooking earlier and a bit more, just perfect to keep up with all the big cranking youngsters around today.
Now on to the Mining Journal Bowlers of the Week, two weeks worth to catch up from Nov. 29-Dec. 5 and Dec. 6-12:
First off, I have to admit my embarrassment as I've been successfully able to avoid mentioning myself here for 2 1/2 years worth of weekly columns.
No longer as of today - I shared men's BOW honors for Dec. 6-12, when John LaFountain and myself each rolled 131 pins over our average in Country Lanes leagues.
LaFountain used a 182 average and shot 677 on games of 183, 255 and 239 in the Friday Nite Mixed League, while I came in with a 184 mean and put together 683 on games of 243, 215 and 225.
Much to my chagrin, you may be hearing more about that series next week, just as a little teaser to come back then - or not come back?
Tied for third for the men and close on our heels were Brandon McCormick, who shot 129 pins over his 214 average with 771 and a 278 top game in the Friday 800 Mixed at Superior; and Andy Goldsworthy, who was also 129 over his 192 average with 705 in the Tuesday Major at Country.
For the ladies, Sandy Hebert beat us all with 149 pins over her 125 average with 524 on games of 180, 142 and 202 in the Tuesday T&T Ladies loop at Country.
Next were two Thursday Night Ladies bowlers from Country - Jessica Ayotte was 120 over her 184 average with 672 and 241 best, while Tina Henson was 98 above her 127 mean with 479 and a 180 tops.
For Nov. 29-Dec. 5, Joel Vickstrom won a one-pin race for the men, shooting 163 pins over his 180 average with 703 on games of 243, 257 and 203 in the Monday Northern Electric Automotive Industrial League at Country.
Close on his heels was Dennis Ombrello at plus-162 in the Friday 800 Mixed with a 191 average and score of 735 that included a 266.
For the women, Wendlyn Pitts of the Wednesday Industrial at Superior took honors at 113 pins over her 118 average with 467 on games of 122, 180 and 165.
Next in an all-Superior Lanes race was Maria Virch in the Friday 800 Mixed at plus-106 from her 177 average with 637 that included a 246, followed by her mom, Hope Virch, at 102 over her 192 mean with 678 and a 253 best.