Approximately 18,000 bowlers are in the Greater Baltimore Bowling Association. Figures for the 1991-92 season show that 126 of them had 11 strikes in a row.
So, what are the odds of having two bowlers throw 11 strikes in a row in the same center? In the same league? On the same night? Bowling against each other? In the same spot, fourth, on their individual teams?
It happened -- on the 34th week of the season at Brunswick Normandy.
In the Friday Gas & Electric league at Brunswick Normandy, Tony James and Tom Sandusky locked into a duel that their teammates will not soon forget.
It's a given that the four bowlers who were tied for high individual game in the league with 279 will not forget the match. When the smoke had cleared a new mark had been established for that category.
James lives in Baltimore and bowls in the Friday league and a Tuesday night league at the same center.
"I started bowling about two, three years ago," James said. "That night I threw games of 168 and 209, and then in the third game I threw a strike in the first frame and just kept on throwing 'em."
James, using a new 16-pound Teal Rhino bowling ball, never had been close to a 300 game, but after 11 strikes in row, he needed only one more.
"I pulled it across my body," James said of his final turn. "Itcrossed the head pin and left three pins."
That was good enough for his career-high game, 297.
James carries a 185 average. Two weeks after posting the 297 game he threw his best set -- 714, with the same ball.
Sandusky started bowling when he was 9.
"Then I quit for about 12 years," Sandusky said. "Last fall I decided to give it another try."
His old average was about 200. This year he's averaging 209. A Columbia resident, he bowls in three leagues at Brunswick Normandy -- the Tuesday Doubles, Wednesday Anytime Funtime and the Friday G&E.;
"I'm pretty much a down-and-in bowler," Sandusky said, "But the new bowling balls and the new lane conditions still allow me to strike a lot."
The night he locked into the duel with James, he spared in the opening frame. Then he matched James strike for strike for a career high single game of 290. He has bowled a 739 series, but the 290 is the best game he's ever posted.
212 pins over average series
David Whiters threw games of 256, 228 and 247 and then left town. He left because the Army Reserve required his presence in Germany for two weeks.
The Woodlawn resident bowls in three leagues at Normandy -- Tuesday Mixers, Wednesday Specials and the Saturday Cougar Mixed.
A sergeant in the reserves, Whiters never had shot a 700 set before.
That Wednesday night, throwing a 16-pound Blue Hammer, the 173-average tenpinner pounded out a series that was an incredible 212 pins over his average series.
Bowler of Year tournament
Brunswick Normandy will play host to the Bowler of the Year tournament on Saturday.
Information: (410) 465-0355.
Junior leagues at Normandy
Two junior leagues are being formed at Normandy.
The adult/child league on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. starts May 27.
The Junior Friendship league begins June 23 at 11 a.m. Every bowler in this league will receive a slice of pizza and a small soda each week of bowling.
, Information: (410) 465-0355.