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300 game helps McHenry leave struggles behind


Steve McHenry bowls in three leagues, the Wednesday Pro/Am at Fair Lanes Edgewood, the Thursday Mixed at Country Club and the Friday Industrial at Brunswick Crown.

Last season, he averaged 209; his high set is 793, and recently at Brunswick Crown he fired the second 300 game of his career.

"That 793 came at Country Club last year," he said. "I remember that I needed a strike in the last frame to lock up the 800 series and I buried the ball. When the pins stopped falling I was staring at a seven-pin."

And he's a right-hander.

"I've been struggling in that league," he said. "And I just wanted to make good shots, to be consistent, maybe throw deuces. But I got lined up early and started striking."

The first game was a fair 244; in the second game he started striking in the first frame and never let up.

"I'm the kind of bowler who doesn't fight the lanes, I just play what they give me," he said.

"I couldn't go out to the ditch that night so I played deep inside, between the second and third arrows and that was working just great. But after I threw the 11th strike my ball got hung up and I had to wait a couple of minutes to get it back."

That kind of delay is enough to throw anybody off their game, but not McHenry.

When he finally got his hands on the 16-pound Pro Rhino, he casually pounded it into the pocket for the 12th strike and the perfect game.

Service is the key

"Customer service," Scott Lage says, "That's what it's all about, keeping the customer happy."

The Long Island native lives in Perry Hall now and six weeks ago became the general manager at Brunswick Crown Lanes in Middle River, a 40-lane tenpin center.

Lage, a seven-year veteran with the Brunswick corporation, last worked at Brunswick Country Lanes on Long Island. Bowling at that center, he carried a 218 average last season.

Owner of several 300 games and a 800 series, Lage's first priority is the comfort of his bowlers.

How serious is he about it?

"We reopen the center at 2 a.m.," Lage said. "Because we have the GM Truckers League that wants to bowl at that hour. 'D Sometimes they don't get through until five o'clock. But that's OK, whatever will keep them happy."

Down to the last ball

In the Cecil-Harford 700 Club's Strikeline Pro Shop tournament at Forest Hills Lanes, Bruce Hollen and Greg Maggard once again proved the value of never giving up.

Hollen and Maggard qualified first and second, respectively, and met in the championship match. And that's where it got exciting.

"In the last frame I knew I could lock it up with a strike," Hollen said. "I had a double in the eighth and ninth frames, and another strike would put it away but I left the seven-pin, spared it and counted nine for 214. That meant that Greg could tie with a triple."

And Maggard plastered the pins with the both the first and second ball for strikes.

"I thought that I needed a double to win," Maggard said, "but when I turned around after the second strike, I saw John Kanenik [a bowling buddy] holding up 10 fingers."

The last ball of the match was a tad high and left the baby split -- final score: Hollen 214, Maggard 212.

Maggard stayed away from bowling for a while and returned to the lanes three years ago. The Bowley's Quarters resident carries a 207 average and owns a 300 game and an 805 set.

"I'm really self-taught," he said. "I was never really coached but my dad helps me with my game and I sub whenever I get the chance."

Hollen of Upper Falls started bowling young.

"I was 2 1/2 when my dad drilled holes into a duckpin ball for me," he said. "As soon as I was big enough I started bowling tenpins [at Brunswick Crown lanes]."

It was in the Crown Doubles league in 1987 that he put together back-to-back 800 sets.

"The first set was 801," he said. "And the next week I shot 803, I'm pretty proud of that."

And that's from a guy who's notched 14 300 games.

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