Local bowler rolls back-to-back 300 games

Duncan MacLean • Jan 16, 2017 at 10:37 PM

From the final out in the ninth inning to the final pin in the ninth frame, the feeling is the same: close the deal or suffer the consequences.

A local family practitioner knows those feelings too well, and closed on a big one to finish off 2016.

Steve Oginsky had Starlite Lanes reeling at a end of the year Wednesday Night League when he accomplished a feat very few bowlers have the opportunity to even crack at — a perfect game.

But, it was the second one that drew the crowd, he said.

Oginksy’s back-to-back 300 games were the first of their kind at Starlite.

“That night for the league, everything just kept going in the right direction,” Oginksy said.

“The first one there was a really large crowd and it was a kind of ‘let’s have a drink’ atmosphere. The second one drew an even bigger crowd. There was great energy in the alley.”

The two 300s were the first and second games of Oginsky’s series that night, but somehow by the end of it all, he was not satisfied. He finished with a 173 on the final game to bring on a final series score of 773.

“I was disappointed with my overall series,” he said. “I had some good shots that left splits in the last game, but sometimes they just fall your way. It shows how quickly things can change in the game of bowling.”

The disbelief of the crowd could have been fueled by the fact that, despite rolling his first 300 at age 15, Oginsky is new to the Grand Haven bowling scene.

Oginsky has been separated from the alley for 10 years. During his athletic and academic endeavors, bowling was sent to the back burner, then two shoulder surgeries and the pressures of sustaining a career kept him sidelined.

The break certainly did not come without benefit, even to his bowling game. Oginksy credits his time as a closing pitcher and his career in medicine for preparing him to take on high-pressure situations.

Serving a portion of his closing career at both Saginaw Valley State University and Olivet College, Oginksy learned the physical and mental control required to handle high-pressure situations, like throwing 12 straight strikes.

“I’ve had a lot of experience with athletic events and stress and pressure situations in the past,” he said. “It wasn’t too stressful for me going for the 300.

“I was a closer in baseball, so I’m used to the high pressure situations. Same thing in medicine, one of the big things you learn to block it out and focus.”

The focus paid off in a big way.

“I slipped on the last throw,” Oginsky admitted. “I watched the pins fall from the floor. It was quite nerve wracking to make sure I didn’t cross the line in the blink of a second. It only had the experience that much more memorable.”

The lessons in athletic prowess and mental fortitude started early for Oginsky. He credits his mother for getting him out in the field.

“I was into all sorts of sports, I thank my mom for that one. She has had me in every sport since I was little.”

The pins, balls and bowling halls took Oginsky’s fancy and have held it to this day. As he grew, he developed a keen aversion to gutters. He competed on his high school’s bowling team and even had a stint as a bowling coach.

Now, bowling is a hobby once again for Oginsky, a chance to get away from his high-pressure work and enjoy quality time with friends.

“It’s a good opportunity to get out of the house and spend some time friends. It is just something to do now that I’m out of college and I have some free time.”

As for the future of his bowling career, Oginsky is convinced it will last a while.

“I’m extremely excited to have had those two back-to-back as it’s a feat I never dreamed possible before,” he said. “This has not given me some more goals to reach for in the future and beat.

“I’m planning on continuing and getting better and better and hopefully enter some tournaments here in West Michigan this year.”

Better and better from here seems stratospheric, but Oginsky is not one to disappoint, who knows what is in store for the bowling world next.

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