Jim Barker of Westminster came close to breaking the Carroll County tenpin three-game series and came close to throwing back-to-back 300 games at the same time.
He's been throwing a tenpin ball for more than 30 years; now he's dropped the weight from his customary 16 pounds to 15 on his current ball, a Critical Mass.
It was the ball he used last month for his second 825 series. The record of 835 was set two years ago by Abey Abend of Taneytown.
"I opened the set with a strike, then I had three solid 10-pin taps in a row," Barker said. "Then someone yelled, 'open your little finger,' I did and took it off the sheet."
L That first game was a 258 with nine strikes, eight in a row.
The second game opened with two strikes.
"In the third frame I was a little off with the first ball, a little light in the pocket," Barker said. "I had to convert the 4-pin for a spare."
Then he threw nine strikes in a row, taking it off the sheet again, for a 279 game; if the 4-pin had fallen, he would have been perfect.
In the third game, Barker pounded the pocket from the opening frame through the 10th -- 10 strikes in a row.
"Then I left the 5-7 split," he said. "That was probably the only really bad ball I threw all night."
He converted the split for a 288 game, again a single frame, a single ball, from a perfect game.
That's 30 strikes of a possible 36, 19 in a row (from the fourth frame of the second game through the 10th frame of the last game).
Barker, originally from central Pennsylvania, knows the tenpin game as an amateur, who "just enjoys the fellowship, the pure fun of team bowling," as a competitor who has carried a Professional Bowlers Association card since 1980, and as a proprietor, owner and operator of a 16-lane tenpin center, the Clinton Bowling Center in Clinton, Pa.
"This year will be the first year since 1980 that I'll be inactive in the PBA," Barker said. "I've had problems with my back and with my right hand and I'm going to take the time to see if the injuries will improve. But I'll continue league bowling, I love the game too much to stop so if I hurt a little bit I'll just live with it and keep on bowling."
Bowling in three leagues at County Lanes, the Wednesday Scratch, on Thursday night and the Saturday travel league, Barker is maintaining a 217 average. He's had eight 300 games, four sanctioned, four unsanctioned. His three 800 sets have been in three different centers.
Rolling in Atlantic City
Dolores Cook of Union Mills finished sixth in the five-game sweeper of the Women's All-Star Association Showboat Classic in Atlantic City, N.J.
Cook, a member of WASA for 12 years, had a five-game sweeper total of 944 pins and collected $120 in winnings.
The 20-year bowling veteran also tied for 62nd place in the Showboat WASA Sweeper. Cook racked up 944 pins and claimed $45.
Cook competes in the Golden Girls Division, which is for women 50 years of age or older. To compete in the Showboat-sponsored events, bowlers must carry a 170-pin average and have participated in one WASA tournament.
Nine Carroll County residents placed at the Maryland Special Olympics Duckpin Bowling competition at College Park.
Stephanie Carpegna, Amy Dietrich, C.R. Stanh and Kelly Sullivan each took first place.
Others placing included: Linda Harris (second), Greg Allen (third), Tori Eshleman (fourth), Randy Benzil (fourth) and Christine Utz (sixth).