Nault’s 300 comes out of nowhere

The Mining Journal's reporter Steve Brownlee receives a Good News Awards from Bishop James Garland during a lunch and awards ceremony Wednesday at the Landmark Inn in Marquette. (Journal photo by Dave Edwards)

Nobody, and in particular Eric Nault, saw his historic performance coming at River Rock Lanes last Monday night.

The 38-year-old Ishpeming resident bowled his first perfect 300 game during the Road Machinery Supply Industrial League, a game after he began the night with a less-than-impressive 182.

He tacked on 205 to finish off a 687 series using his 15-pound Roto Grip No Rules Exist reactive resin ball.

“It actually ended up being 16 in a row,” Nault said about his 12-striker that was a continuation of the final four strikes of the opening game.

“I had to move right,” the right-hander said about a targeting move to get him closer to the gutter, “because I kept leaving 2-pins, 2-8’s and a 2-10 (split). “And once I made that move, I had a pretty good line — a little room inside (to the left) and outside (closer to the gutter at the right).”

An Ishpeming native, he’s been a regular league bowler at the long-closed Miracle Bowl and at the now-named River Rock for just about three decades — “since I was about 9 or 10” — except for a four-year stint in the Army in his mid-20s.

But he just moved back to Ishpeming in May after living for four years in Kalamazoo.

“It was tougher down there, all the lanes are synthetic, and I guess I just never got used to them,” he said, adding that while he’s only averaging 189 on Monday he’s at 204 in River Rock’s Tuesday Major League.

He also got the No Rules Exist ball in September around the start of the season.

His old high game was 289 and most strikes to start a game was 10.

It was the 10th one this time, too, that he said was the hardest to execute.

“That first one in the 10th, I just missed inside, but it held,” he said about the ball staying away from a dead-center hit on the head pin.

“The last two (strikes) were pretty darned good.”

A few frames before that, he said he tripped a 9-pin on another shot a bit high on the head pin.

Finally, he said that since 300 had always been his No. 1 goal, he had to come up with a replacement.

“The next goal would be to shoot an 800,” he said about the three-game series that like a 300 is also a U.S. Bowling Congress honor score.

His current high?

“I had a 790 once,” he said.