It's been nearly 10 years since Mike Martin's days of bowling for Shikellamy High School, but the former protégé of Eugene "Noot" Deibler has been rolling the ball as well as he ever has of late.
Martin is the first bowler to roll two perfect games this year. His first 300 came on Sept. 27, and the second on Nov. 15 while competing for team Dunkin Donuts in Strike Zone Lanes' Thursday Open League.
A 2004 graduate of Shikellamy and an employee of Sunbury Textile Mill, Martin has been bowling since the age of five. He now has six 300 games to his credit.
This year's two perfect games were memorable for Martin. Both 300s came in his first game, and his resulting series were almost identical. His series in September was a 767, and his series in November totaled 763.
"That's the first time I have ever thrown two perfect games in one year," Martin said. "It was odd because I shot all my other ones in the third game, and I never took notice that my series were almost the same."
And the best part of rolling a 300 according to Martin? It's the anticipation.
"It's just the feeling of knowing you need one more strike for a perfect game," he said.
For Strike Zone owner Mark Derr, he enjoys seeing all of the perfect games being rolled this year.
"We have had a few 300's thrown recently, especially by our younger bowlers which is always exciting to see," said Derr. "We now have had 165 perfect games thrown in my 15 years as owner of the lanes.
"We have a yearly plaque we display at the lanes with everyone's names who throws a 300 game, or an 800 series for guys and a 700 series for ladies. It's kind of nice for everyone to remember their accomplishment by seeing their name on the wall here at Strike Zone."
n Red Flash make return to the lanes
After a nearly two-month layoff, fellow Shikellamy High grad Shelby Derr and the Saint Francis (Pa.) University bowling team returned to action this weekend and competed in the three-day Kutztown Invitational.
Following two days of baker play, the Red Flash sat in sixth place out of 28 teams with an 8-4 record and a total pinfall of 10,399. Nationally No. 2-ranked Maryland Eastern Shore was perched on top with a 10,873 total.
The championship finals were held Sunday morning in a best 4-of-7 bracket-style format.
Saint Francis finished 5th in the invitational and Maryland Eastern Shore beat Vanderbilt in the finals.
On the final day, Derr posted a baker frame average of 22.2. She struck on 21 of 34 frames with nine spares.
"Lane conditions were very trying as the shot broke down quick," said Mark Derr, Shelby's father.
Derr posted a total pinfall of 1,181 (195-156-254-181-194-201) early in the tournament. The total was second-best on the team.
Until next time, stay out of the gutters.
n Brian Holtzapple is a correspondent who covers bowling for The Daily Item. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.