The Grand Haven boys bowling team waited as long as they could to get going in their matchup with Rockford at Starlite Lanes on Monday.
The Bucs trailed 4-6 after another tough baker round, before failing to break 200 in the first regular game. A sweep of game two and a massive pin total gave Grand Haven the win, 17-13.
“We were in real, serious trouble,” said Grand Haven head coach Pat Mitchell. “We had a horrendous first game as a team, we needed to basically win all the points after the first game.
“When you go down by 10 points, it puts a lot of pressure on you.”
The Bucs seemed to thrive on the pressure. With everything on the line in the final game of the night, every varsity boy broke 200. Grand Haven swept the Rams for one point per bowler, took the game pin total, 1,031 to 898, for four points and finally the combined regular game pin total, 1,867 to 1,784, for another two points.
The Rams needed just two points in the second game to take the win — the Bucs denied them any.
“It felt great,” said varsity standout Jimmy Mitchell. “We do better when we are loud, if we are fired up, it keeps going. We have seen if we get too riled up we start firing (missing) shots, but when we have that good steady energy, we get going and we are hard to stop.”
As their decibels increased in game two, so did the Bucs’ scores. Mitchell rolled a 206 in game two, to better his 190 from the first game. His teammate Kieran Loughrin led the Bucs with a 214 in game two, improving on his 149 in game one.
Maverick Green rolled a 200 in game two to follow up his 139 in game one, while Jonathan Garland improved from 174 in game one to 211 in game two. Logan Batka rounded out the varsity lane carding a 184 and 200.
The boys’ total after game one was just 836, 50 pins behind Rockford’s 886.
“We basically needed to sweep them and beat them by 51 pins,” coach Mitchell said of the final game. “We swept them and beat them by 100 pins, so it worked out.
“I don’t know what happened in that first game, we just had a lot of guys that weren’t making good throws and missing spares. We got them settled down a bit, got adjusted and made some ball changes. You have to be an elephant and forget the past.”
The win improves the boys’ record to 3-0 on the year. They will now try and fix their slow starts before a matchup with East Kentwood on Thursday.
GH girls back at full strength
The Grand Haven girls bowling team enjoyed competing with a full squad for the first time against Rockford at Starlite Lanes on Wednesday.
Welcoming Kaliegh Batka back from injury gave the girls a needed shot in the arm against the Rams, but it came just a bit too late; the girls fell by a score of 9-21.
The Bucs were swept in the baker games, going down 10 points to zero.
In the first regular game, they took two points with Kaleigh Batka and Meghan Batka grabbing wins with their scores of 150 and 252. They shot 868 as a team, compared to Rockford’s 923 through the first game.
“On the girls side, we are building back to full strength,” coach Mitchell said. “They got swept in the bakers, but individually they bowled phenomenally, 868 is a good score for them.”
Game two went even better for the Bucs, who took three of five matchups. Kaleigh Batka rolled her way to a 200 for a win, while Megan Batka managed a 203 for one point. Breanna Olthof remained consistent from the first game, closing with a 193 and 196 on the night.
Abbie House shot 129 and 139, while Veronica Parise rolled a 144 and 135. The girls finished with a game two total of 876 to best Rockford’s 870, but their two-game total fell, 1,744 to 1,793.
“I’m really happy with the girls,” coach Mitchell said. “I thought they did an excellent job. They bowled well as a team and we had all five girls, what a difference that makes. With her (Kaleigh Batka) being back on the team and with as well as Meghan (Batka) and Breanna (Olthof) have been bowling this year, it’s been really encouraging.”
The girls team also looks forward to a matchup with East Kentwood on Thursday, and another chance to put all five athletes back on the lane.