Earl Bawgus of Bel Air has been bowling tenpins for about 15 years, and over the years he has had good luck and bad luck.
On Friday the 13th he had both.
He was bowling in one of his four weekly leagues, the Friday State at Harford Lanes in Aberdeen.
"I was using my new ball, the Quantum," he said. "I've had it for about two months, and I've had some good games with it."
On the 13th, Bawgus came out of the pit with a 205 game, added a 234 and in the third game had a shot at his career-first perfect game.
"I've shot two 298s," he said, "but never the 300."
He fired his career-high individual game that night, but he's still looking for the 300.
"I had the 11 in a row and the last ball was in the pocket," the right-hander said, "but I didn't get any mix."
And that lack of mix left the seven-pin standing for a 299 game.
New balls, new highs
Jim Crowl of Abingdon works part-time at Forest Hill Bowling Center and bowls in two leagues there, the Friday Foursome and the Monday Men's. On Wednesday and Thursday nights, he competes at Brunswick Perry Hall.
Bowling for four years, he carries a 202 average.
On successive Fridays, May 6 and 13, he pounded out his career high game and set, respectively. On both nights he used a new bowling ball.
"In the Friday league, I was using my new Rhino Pro Gold," he said. "After I threw the 300 game, I kind of fell apart."
That was the third perfect game for Crowl.
The next Friday, using a new Piranha, he put together games of 221, 268 and 246 for his career high series of 736.
Just how many bowling balls does he own?
"I guess I've got about 15 or 20 bowling balls," he laughed. "I know it's a bunch."
Equipment change pays off
Robert McFadden of Edgewood splits his league competition between Friday night's Bill Snavely league at Harford Lanes and the Tuesday Independent Men's at Forest Hill Lanes.
He has bowled "for a long while, a long time," and carries a 208 average. His career-high series is 787, thrown last year at Country Club Lanes in Middle River.
His individual high game is 300. He has five of them, four this year and the last one thrown on May 12 at Harford Lanes in a snow-day make-up session.
When he was asked what the other two games were in the series, he answered, "Oh, boy, do I have to mention them?"
They weren't really that bad. The first game was 187, the next was the 300 and he finished with a 172.
What's most important is that after the first game he switched to another ball to throw the 300.
"The lanes seemed to be a little extra oily that first game," he said. "So I stopped using the [16-pound] Power Torq and got out the Pro Hook Extreme."
Tournaments in Aberdeen
Bobby Marshall at Harford Lanes in Aberdeen is playing host to a series of tournaments this summer.
"Every Friday there'll be a handicap double-elimination event here at Harford Lanes," Marshall said.
The event will begin at 9 p.m., and the entry fee is $15. Information: (410) 272-3555.