When teams gather next July in Reno for the finals of the Brunswick World Bowling Team Challenge and a crack at the $25,000 first-place prize, Harford County will be represented by three members on the five-man team called Team Champion.
Karl Schmidt of Bel Air, Brian Bever of Belcamp and Bruce Hollen of Upper Falls, will join teammates Lee Brosius of Anne Arundel County, and Mike Wheeler of Dundalk, to try to continue their winning ways.
"We've been bowling together for a while," said Hollen, anchor on the team and the only left-hander. "So we're used to each other and know what each of us can do on the lanes. And, what is so important, we're able to adapt to most lane conditions quickly. In the Baker format, that's really important because each team member only shoots two frames a game."
In the Baker format, the first bowler rolls a frame, then the second member bowls the second frame, the third member bowls the third frame, etc.
This month, 71 teams from seven states met at ABC Lanes West in Harrisburg, Pa., to vie for the regional championship and the trip to Reno.
At Mechanicsburg, the qualifying format was brutal: On Saturday afternoon and evening, the 71 teams bowled six regular games with total pinfall cutting to the top 10 teams. On Sunday, the top teams met in a round robin, bowling each competitor two games, with a victory counting for 15 bonus points plus 20 points for the two-game high total.
After bowling 18 games on Sunday (two games against each of nine opponents), Team Champion stood atop the heap with a 7-2 record.
That record made it the top seed of the three teams (Trophies Unlimited and Hoinke Classic were the other two) that would meet, again in a Baker format, for the televised finals.
"The final scores showed just how tough the lane condition was," Bever said. "There was a reverse block laid down, and the scores showed it."
Bever, bowling for most of his 26 years, knows bowling from a unique prospective. He's operation manager for a Baltimore bowling ball manufacturer, so his knowledge of equipment is extensive.
"I know I had to shoot between the four and five arrows and hope to get something I could make," he said. "Karl, Lee and Mike throw a pretty straight ball, so we kept filling frames. There weren't many doubles thrown by anybody."
The final two games against the youthful Trophies Unlimited (their leadoff man was 16 years old, the anchorman 24) showed (( TC just how tough the lane condition was. The first game went to Trophies Unlimited, 175-170.
In the last game, with the championship on the line, Trophies Unlimited was defeated. In the ninth frame, Trophies Unlimited held a 12-pin lead. Its anchor, Tip Roberts, needing a mark to ice the game, opened in the 10th.
When Hollen stepped onto the lanes for the final frame of the final game he held victory or defeat in hands. He also held a 16-pound bowling ball that he slammed into the pocket for a strike and victory for Team Champion, which won the trip to Reno and a check for $2,900.
Pick your lanes
On Lanes 25 and 26 at Bel Air Bowl, Chris Courtney and Jerry Lehr pounded out perfect 300 games just a few days apart. If you're looking to shoot a 300 game, drop in and ask for Lanes 25 and 26.
Help the less fortunate
The Golden Agers and the Golden Swingers, senior leagues at Fair Lanes Edgewood, will be collecting food and money to fill Christmas baskets for the needy.
Last year Bill Wolferman, with the help of Cindy Lowrey, manager at Payless Shoes, was able to give 50 pairs of shoes for children at Christmas. This year he would like to double that number.
More than $300 worth of food has been collected, and Lil Ryan said, "We'll continue to collect indefinitely."
The third annual Senior Singles No-Tap tournament will be conducted at Bel Air Bowl over two weekends: Saturday-next Sunday and Nov. 26-27.
L Reservations and information: Jane Newman at (410) 879-8255.