Tuesday morning the Early Risers begin their duckpin senior session at Patterson Lanes in East Baltimore. Four teams of three bowlers compete with friendliness and with vigor.
"Mary runs rings around all of us," said Vera Ruzin, half of the husband-wife team that has operated the center since the '30s. "She just loves to bowl."
Mary Zaczek does indeed love to bowl. Born and raised in Canton, living now in Essex with her son, Frank, she travels back to the East Baltimore neighborhood every week to be with her friends and fellow duckpin bowlers.
"I guess I've been bowling for about 20 years now," she said. "And, except for having to wait for the Dundalk bus sometimes, it's not so bad getting here."
She hops on the No. 23 bus in Essex and has to transfer to the No. 10 on Eastern Avenue; sometimes the No. 10 runs a little late.
Kaczak is a member of the National team, and she still carries a respectable 80 average.
On April 3, she celebrated her birthday at the Patterson Lanes; it was number 92.
National duckpin tournament
On April 29 and 30, a field of 57 women and 98 men, qualifiers from across the nation, met at Town Hall Lanes in Johnston, R.I., to compete for the $15,000 prize fund in the Duckpin Classic finals.
Alan Ensor qualified for the national event in his home center, Bowl America Reisterstown.
"I didn't think I'd get to go to the national," Ensor said. "I only bowl in one league, then to come so close to the stepladder [final four match games] and not make it, was disappointing."
Ensor, bowling since he was 7 years old, carries a 124 average; his lifetime high game and set are 215 and 487, respectively.
The national finals consisted of five games on Saturday, total pinfall plus handicap determining the 30 bowlers who returned on Sunday to bowl four more games; the nine-game total whittled the field down to the five stepladder finalists.
"I had 868 for the Saturday round," Ensor said. "Then on Sunday I had 707. The last game cost me a shot at the stepladder finals."
That game was a 116; a 130 would have tied for fifth place, 131 would have assured him a spot on the stepladder.
It was good enough for a seventh-place finish and a check for $200.
Junior Bowlers Tour
Danielle Johnson, a young tenpin bowler from Baltimore, is fifth in the Junior Bowlers Tour (a New Jersey-based organization) scratch division points list.
In the March tour stop at Brunswick Perry Hall, Johnson had the high five-game series of the qualifying round, a 1,093.
In the head-to-match with Keith Poppiti of Wilmington, Del., Johnson lost a high-scoring game, 235-225.
In the handicap division, Dave Girvin of Kingsville defeated Lenard Grier of Baltimore, 179-178 to claim the title.
Senior Olympics coming
Both tenpin and duckpin senior bowlers can compete in the 16th annual Maryland Senior Olympics on Oct. 6. Deadline for registration is Aug. 7. Duckpin bowlers will compete at Fair Lanes Joppa, and tenpin bowlers at Fair Lanes Towson.
Duckpin information: (410) 750-2182. Tenpin information: (410) 830-2772.