Carroll County native Tom Aldridge finally reached a bowling milestone -- after trying for a quarter-century.
Aldridge rolled a 711 three-game set recently to go with his 173 average and 279 high game. That 711 is just 10 pins below the Thunderhead Westminster house record.
"I've been looking for a 700 series for 25 years," Aldridge said."That's about how long I've been bowling."
Aldridge lives in Westminster with his wife, Elaine, and bowls in the Tuesday Mixed League (where he rolled his high series) and Wednesday Night Men's Late League at Thunderhead Westminster.
"I started bowling duckpins when I was a kid, but I switched to tenpins and stayed with that game," Aldridge said. "I've been bowling at Thunderhead Westminster since they built the center."
Ironically, Aldridge was thinking about switching from his 16-pound Purple Angle ball after an especially bad Tuesday-night performance.
"On Tuesday night I shot a 444 series, and I wasn't very happy about it," said Aldridge, owner of Tom Aldridge Builders. "For the Wednesday night league, I used tape in the finger holes for the very first time. In the past, I had used tape in the thumb hole but never in the finger-holes."
The rest of this story is going to sell a lot of tape.
The first game he rolled a 200, came back with a 266 and finished with a 245 for that elusive big series.
John Estanich and Sherry Main lead in the Mount Airy Lanes CoorsCutter qualifier tournament. Winners of the local Coors qualifiers will compete for the $3,000 first prize in the $25,000 event at T-BowlLanes in Newington, Conn., in May.
Estanich bowls in the ThursdayMixed League at Mount Airy and carries a 126 average with a high game of 192 and a high set of 459.
"I like duckpins better than tenpins," Estanich said. "It's more of a challenge."
You got that right.
Estanich threw games of 120, 172, 138, 142 and 146; with his handicap that worked out to an 894 five-game series.
Estanich, who works at Fort Detrick in Frederick County, is married to Cathy, a duckpin bowler with a 105 average. He seldom enters tournaments -- maybe one or two a year -- and he knows how fickle duckpins can be.
Aftershooting 718 scratch series for the five-game qualifier, John came roaring back in his regular Thursday-night league with a 342 for the three-game set.
Sherry Main, originally from Baltimore, lives in Mount Airy with her husband Donnie and two children, Heather, 13, and Joshua, 8. The customer service representative for the National Geographic Society started bowling about eight years ago and currently competes in the Monday Ladies League at Mount Airy, where she has a 115 average and a high series of 434.
Her career high game is 182, the second game of her five-game 679 series in the Coors Cutter qualifying round. With her handicap she totaled 899 to lead, for now, at the Mount Airy center.
"I think that duckpins is just a wonderful sport," Main said. "What other sport can I, my husband, my kids and my brother and my mom all participate in together?"
Guy Johnson of Finksburg will represent Maryland in the Bowling Proprietors Association of America's U.S. Open in Canandaigua, N.Y., April 5-12. He won the qualifying tournament at Fair Lanes Kings Point in Randallstown, Baltimore County, Jan. 18-19.
Johnson shot a 1,566 scratch in the the seven-game event and with his handicap qualified first for the final game of the position round. Johnson beat Tim Criss, 287-247, to advance to the finals.