From staff reports
St. Augustine Prep junior offensive lineman and team captain Matt Compton lay face down on lane 20 at King Pin Bowling & Entertainment Center on Tuesday night. He couldn’t believe that his final roll of the night came within an inch of picking up the spare. Had he picked up the spare in the 10th frame of the second game, he and his Hermits teammates had a great shot of handing the Glory Days Magazine bowling team its first loss of the season.
Instead, Glory Days’ team, nicknamed “Rolling Thunder”, was able to hang on to a narrow victory and improve to 3-0 during the 2016-2017 school year in the King Pin-Glory Days Bowling Challenge.
Director of Advertising Billy Lynskey finished with a 2-game series of 271, edging Compton by just five pins. Once per month, Glory Days goes up against a group of area high school student-athlete in a two-game series, and if any of the high school athletes score higher in the series than Rolling Thunder, it equals a loss for Glory Days. In the past two school years, Glory Days has amassed a record of 8-2, its only career losses coming against the Egg Harbor Township bowling team and the Upper Township Challenger League.
Tuesday night was one of Rolling Thunder’s toughest challenges, however. The only other closer match came last year, when Lynskey beat out EHT assistant baseball coach Sean Coyle by just one pin.
“I thought we would have a pretty easy time of it on Tuesday night, to be honest,” said Glory Days Magazine publisher Dave “Sully” O’Sullivan, who finished third out of eight bowlers by rolling a 251. “But all of a sudden, Matt ripped off a 161 in the first game and we knew we were in for a dogfight. And Sal, despite some unorthodox form, proved he could be a challenger with a 101 in the first game that featured two strikes and a spare. We probably should have known we were going to be in for a challenge because those Prep boys are competitors and they are used to winning.”
Lynskey was a little rusty in the first game but still managed a 128. He got hot in the middle of Game 2, however, picking up either a spare or strike in frames 4-7, and adding a strike in the ninth frame that really put the pressure on Compton. But Compton responded. After a disappointing foot foul in the six frame, Compton knocked down nine pins in the seventh, then nailed a pair of strikes in the eighth and ninth frames to give himself a chance at the victory in the 10th. He boldly predicted a “10th Frame Turkey”, which is three straight strikes to finish out a game. He nearly had it, but on his first roll, one pin was left standing. His narrow miss on picking up the spare allowed Rolling Thunder to breathe a sigh of relief.
“When you get to a situation like that, it almost seems like everything is in slow motion. We had eight guys just staring at the ball as it traveled down the lane,” Sully said. “We knew if he picked up that spare, we were liking going to lose the match. But the bowling gods were on our side.”
Sully led the way with five total strikes, including striking on three of the first five frames of the second game. His final throw of the night, however, was a gutter ball.
“That’s completely unacceptable, and embarrassing, to be honest,” Sully said. “Thankfully, the rest of the guys were focused on the battle between Lynskey and Compton, so I don’t think anybody really noticed.”
Sal Carfagno had a nice finish, placing fourth overall with a 189 series that included three strikes. Jack Compton, Matt’s brother, was next with a 177 that included five spare pick-ups. Matt Stefanelli and Andrew White had a nice little battle going, with Stefanelli beating out White by just seven pins, 150-143. Luca Basolis notched 100 in the two games, but did finish with the fastest roll, topping out at more than 20 miles-per-hour on a couple of occasions.