Grand Haven boys bowling nips Caledonia, girls fall shorthanded

Josh VanDyke • Jan 19, 2017 at 12:13 AM

The Grand Haven boys bowling team couldn’t find its mojo early on against O-K Red Conference foe Caledonia on Wednesday at Starlite Lanes in Grand Haven.

The Buccaneers battled through the rocky start, however, winning the first regular game by 112 points to secure a 17-13 win over the Fighting Scots.

Much like the preseason conference tournament and match against Hudsonville on Monday, the Buccaneers ended the Baker games in a hole, this time giving up a 6-4 advantage to the Fighting Scots.

The Haven boys responded well once the regular games got rolling, however, and rolled a 1,091 in Game 1. Caledonia could only muster a 979 in response.

“It went well, but we started off slow again in the Bakers,” said Grand Haven boys coach Pat Mitchell. “That’s always worrisome, because you really want to get off to a fast start.

“In the second (regular) game, we caught a break, because they didn’t bowl as well as they did in the first game. In the first regular game, we picked up more spares on the first 20 balls than we did in all of the Baker games. We were really sharp and really clean in that first game, and that helped us in the final scoring.”

In Game 2, Caledonia made things interesting, bowling a 985, while Grand Haven could only tally a 931. The final results saw Grand Haven with a 2,070-1,916 advantage, which was much closer than coach Mitchell was expecting.

“In the second game, we just weren’t going through our normal processes,” he continued. “I think we might have been distracted by our own good bowling earlier on. We got a little sloppy, stopped taking our time and broke away from the normal routine.

“We were a little inconsistent and that resulted in not picking up spares, having lower scores, and made this a lot closer than it should have been.”

Senior Jimmy Mitchell rolled a 436 (236, 200) to lead the Bucs, while Logan Batka added a 435 (222, 213). Kieran Loughrin (225) and Jonathan Garland (215) each added high games in Game 1.

“I did all right, today,” said Jimmy Mitchell after the match. “I’ve been working a lot on my hand positioning and keeping my shoulders square, and that’s helped me keep my scores pretty consistent.

“As a team, we’re a lot younger than we were last year. I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of team that was quite this young. We’re still developing, but I think we’ll be able to put everything together as the season goes on.”

Haven girls battle through long odds

It would take a minor miracle for a four-person team to beat a five-person team in bowling, but that’s the current situation for the Grand Haven girls bowling squad.

With only five members on the roster, and one of those bowlers not in action until at least this coming Monday, the Buccaneer girls continued to battle against the odds as they took on Caledonia.

Ultimately, the odds were not in their favor, as they fell 26-4 to the visitors from Caledonia.

After surrounding all 10 Baker game points, the Grand Haven girls managed to stick close to the Fighting Scots in the first regular game, but ultimately, dropped a 757-611 decision.

In Game 2, Grand Haven couldn’t quite match Caledonia’s consistency, falling 803-604. The final tally saw the Fighting Scots roll away with a 1,560-1,215 win over the Buccaneers.

Breanna Olthof recorded a 429 (213, 216) to lead the Bucs, while Megan Batka added a 345 (190, 155).

“Bre did pretty well out there,” Pat Mitchell added. “The girls are a little shorthanded at the moment, but they should get their fifth bowler (Kaleigh Batka) back, hopefully by Monday. Once they field a full team, they should be in a lot better shape in the conference.”

The Bucs bowlers will return to the alley Monday as they host conference rival Rockford at Starlite Lanes.

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