By Brian Holtzapple
For The Daily Item
SUNBURY -- Monday will stand out as a memorable night for Northumberland bowler Brad Harter -- though he was glad nobody bothered to tell him just how special it turned out to be.
While competing in the Monday Night Men's League at Strike Zone Lanes, Harter rolled back-to-back 300 games to become the first person to do so at the Sunbury bowling alley.
"I was elated, especially when I was told nobody had ever done that before," said Harter. "I thought the guy who has the house record (Rob Shrawder) did it, but he had not."
Harter's series started inconspicuously with a 204 game, but then he really started rolling -- literally.
"I started off the first game pretty poorly, but then in the seventh frame I started pounding the pins," said Harter. "I changed my hand position a little bit to keep my hand under the ball to get more of an end-over-end roll.
"As soon as I did that, that's when the pins were really starting to carry, and the ball reaction was a whole lot better too," added Harter.
Nine frames into what turned out to be the fourth perfect game of his career, Harter was nervous. But that was nothing compared to what he would feel moments later when it came time to roll what turned out to be his second 300 that night.
"When I got up in the ninth frame (of the first 300) I said to myself that I was really close, and I think I threw the last three shots pretty much as quick as I could before the nerves got to me," said Harter. "Then I had to settle down and bowl a third game. I settled down, but when I got to the ninth frame I'm thinking, 'Geez -- can I really do this again?'
"Nobody has ever rolled back-to-back perfect games (at Strike Zone) before, and I would've been really nervous if they had told me that (during my second 300). I just tried to clear my mind as well as I could, and hoped the pins carried."
Despite doing what nobody else has done in the 50-plus year history of Strike Zone Lanes (and the Sun Bowl before that), Harter fell 63 pins shy of Shrawder's house record (867).
"It's one thing to roll a 300, but it's something else to roll back-to-back 300s. It's something that's really rare and unique," said Harter. "One thing that stuck in my mind that night was (Marshall) Lee Hummel, who coached me when I was a young kid.
"Lee Hummel really helped me out a lot. He took a lot of time to teach me how to do things the right way. Shortly after he started coaching me I threw my first 300 game when I was 16. He was very important to my bowling career."