The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 27, 2012

Henry: Big numbers show up early in mixed league

By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor

— Big numbers were flying around Fourth Street Bowl on Monday night during the Fred Miller mixed league.

Chuck Anderson ignited the fireworks with a 299 in his first game, leaving a 9-pin on his final ball.

Larry Oxendine matched Anderson’s effort with a 299 in his final game as the 2-pin stood.

Then only a few minutes later, Jim Vanslyke stood on the approach with 11 strikes in the bag, and his final ball carried all 12 pins for the first 300 of the season at Fourth Street.

“All on the same night, within an hour and a half of each other,” Vanslyke said. “When Larry finished his 299, I had nine strikes in a row.”

“I was looking at the scores, and my 299 was high scratch game,” Anderson said. “Later that night Larry also shoots 299, and it wasn’t five minutes later that Jim shot a 300. I thought that (high scratch score) lasted a long time.

“I was happy for them all. It’s funny the way all the events took place. It was a good night.”

“It’s exciting every night,” Oxendine said. “That’s why I do that four times a week.”

Instead of notching his fourth perfect game, Anderson had to settle for his fifth 299.

“You’re always nervous,” said Anderson, who shot a 300 on Aug. 24 at Bowl East. “It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done it, you’re always nervous on the last one. The ball drove through the pocket good and left the 9 pin.”

Vanslyke’s perfect game was the fourth of his career and first in five years.

“I don’t care yow many big games you have, it always gets nervous toward the end,” he said. “My 11th shot crossed over, but it was one of the better shots probably. The rest of them were pretty good.”

Oxendine, however, said he doesn’t get nervous any more. Apparently it’s easy to remain calm after you have bowled 42 perfect games and close to 30 299s.

Anderson carries a 226 average in the league, Oxendine 223 and Vanslyke 220.

Twice perfect

In contrast to Fourth Street, 300 games have come at a frequent pace at Bowl East, starting with the first week of the season.

David Brisco is the first to notch two 300s this season — one in September and one in October.

“I almost got two more Friday night,” he said. “I shot 290 in the first game and had nine in a row in the second game before I was open in the 10th.

Brisco’s 20 consecutive strikes spiced his 788 series.

“I’d much rather throw an 800 than a 300,” said Brisco, who has four career 800 series. “This year a lot of big series are being shot. I shot 790 in the second week, and Chuck Horner shot 795 a couple of weeks ago.

“I still get nervous. The 11th one is probably the worst one, when your knees start knocking a little big. The 12th one you start getting butterflies and everything goes through your mind ... release, arrow.”

Bowling vs. Golf

What is harder: Preparing to throw a final ball for a 300 game or lining up a 15-foot putt to win a golf tournament?

“It probably depends on what golf tournament it is,” Lee Larimore said with a laugh.

Larimore is familiar with both. He’s won multiple golf tournaments during the summer, and he notched his third 300 earlier this month at Bowl East.

“The focus is a lot longer on the golf course,” he said. “The pressure in bowling builds obviously, but a 15-footer to win the tournament is pretty nerve racking, too.

“This time (on the 300) we were visiting, and all of a sudden it was nine in a row. I was more aware obviously in the 10th and 11th, and the thing I liked in the 12th was when I let it go, it felt good coming off my hand and I could stand and watch it.”

“I’ve really developed a passion for bowling,” continued Larimore, who carries a 201 average. “I bowl with some really good bowlers on Tuesday night — David Brisco, Will Nelson, Charles Gaudet, Kenny Phillips, David Riggs. I’ve learned a whole lot from those guys.”