Second to None: Pittsfield Claims State Title
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. – Two years ago, it was not a given that Pittsfield High School would have a bowling team.
Now, it has a State Championship.
The Generals edged arch-rival Taconic at Cove Lanes to win the Massachusetts high school bowling title on Friday night at Cove Lanes.
The win was a long time coming for a Generals team that has known its share of frustration – both in the form of disappointing runner-up finishes and, like a lot of student-athletes, a season lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the case of these student-athletes, the pandemic era cost more than just a chance to compete.
“It was my sophomore season that we missed, and then the season after that we found out we were no longer bowling at Ken’s,” PHS senior Tyler Vosburgh said, referring to the only 10-pin alley in Pittsfield before it was shuttered.
“We weren’t sure if we were going to have a PHS bowling team at the time. But [coach Mike Rooney] got in touch with us, and we all got together. Three or four of us drive down here in a car every Wednesday to practice, and we just bowl. We come down multiple days a week to practice and just have a good time.”
The Generals had a great time on Friday night.
Matt Dupuis rolled four strikes and a spare in four frames to lead the Generals to a sweep of the best-of-three Baker format games to decide the championship against the Thunder, which beat Pittsfield for the Berkshire County Championship a couple of weeks ago.
Friday’s victory in the rematch ended a recent run of frustration for Pittsfield at the states.
“This feels wonderful,” Rooney said. “Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. I’m so proud of my boys. I got them prepared for this game. I said, ‘It’s up to you, guys. We’ve come in second place a lot of times. This is the year to do it. This year is our year.’
“And they went out, and they made me so proud. They went and bowled their butts off, and I’m so proud of every single one of them.”
Pittsfield rolled into the state semi-finals in third place out of 11 teams after the preliminary round.
Taconic was the top seed by a long shot with 1,957 pins after two regular games and three Bakers to sort out the top four from among the 11 teams in the tournament’s A Flight.
The Thunder, which claimed a county championship and two titles at last weekend’s individual state championships, finished 179 points ahead of the field thanks largely to the eye-popping performance of Andrew Robitaille, the county’s top bowler all winter, who narrowly missed a 300 in his first game and finished with a 286-258 series.
He started his day with 10 straight strikes, but a split on his 11th ball spoiled his bid for another perfect game in his stellar career.
Robitaille’s performance in the first game of the day helped set a tone of Berkshire County dominance.
In addition to champion Pittsfield and finalist Taconic, Lee, the third team to tie for the regular season standings in the county league, also reached the semis, finishing third in the prelims.
McCann Tech finished in fifth place, behind semi-finalist Grafton. And the Lee JV won the B Flight at the championship, defeating Springfield International Charter School in the final.
A packed house watched as 17 teams from Central and Western Massachusetts hit the lanes on Friday evening.
After each team bowled two conventional games, where each of five players bowls a full 10 frames, the focus shifted to the Baker matches. There, bowlers take turns with no individual bowling more than two frames in a 10-frame game.
First, each team bowled three Bakers with their totals added to the team pin count from games 1 and 2. The top four in pins in each flight advanced to the best-of-three match play. For the A Flight: Taconic, Lee, Pittsfield and Grafton.
Pittsfield edged Lee in their first game, 189-186. In the second game, PHS earned a 166-150 win to get the sweep.
The Generals then got to watch as Taconic finished a 2-1 win over Grafton in the other semi-final.
The Thunder cruised in the opener, 179-132. But then it hit its first speed bump of the day, a 191-170 Grafton win that saw Taconic leave pins standing in three different frames.
Taconic roared back in the third game with early strikes from Hunter Golin and Mitchell McCann and a late turkey from McCann, Mya Duhamel and Robitaille to pull away for a 216-152 win.
The title match started with strikes from Dupuis and Jason Maguire. The Generals left just one pin standing through their first nine frames to take a sizable lead into the 10th. Despite a pair of strikes from Robitaille in that final frame, Pittsfield emerged with a 173-167 win.
Taconic led most of the way and looked poised to force a rubber match when Robitaille’s strike in the fifth gave his team a 78-63 lead. But Dupuis, who switched to anchor for Game 2, also got a strike, his third in three balls in the final.
Ryan Russo followed with a strike in the sixth to help close the gap for Pittsfield. But the big swing came late. First, Vosburgh rolled a strike against Duhamel’s spare in the ninth. Then Robitaille left a pin up on his first ball in the 10th.
Dupuis took advantage with a strike and a spare to finish off a 166-162 win.
“I was very, very nervous,” Dupuis said of his mindset going into the 10th. “Knowing Andrew Robitaille, probably the best bowler I know. I was a little worried, but I saw after a bad break that if he made the spare, I had to strike and mark. And I executed.
“It was a great game, though. All the way down to the end. Both matches. I would like to congratulate Taconic. Great job. They played a great game.”
Team Scores (total pins)
1. Taconic, 1,957; 2. Lee, 1,778; 3. Pittsfield, 1,746; 4. Grafton, 1,679; 5. McCann Tech, 1,604; 6. Springfield Central, 1,586; 7. Auburn, 1,538; 8. Chicopee Comp, 1,477; 9. Pope Francis, 1,449; 10. Worcester Tech, 1,423; 11. St. John’s, 1,387.
1. Lee JV, 1,369; 2. Springfield International Charter 1, 1,283; 3. St. John’s B, 1,229; 4. Assabet B, 1,147; 5. SICS 3, 1,123; 6. Renaissance, 942.
Berkshire County Varsity Teams
Taconic: Andrew Robitaille, 286-258; Mitchell McCann, 193-167; Mya Duhamel, 214-203; Hunter Golin, 219-181; Tanner White, 119-117.
Pittsfield: Jason Maguire, 123-217; Tyler Vosburgh, 177-197; Dylan Carmel, 136-130; Matt Dupuis, 182-196; Ryan Russo 173-215.
Lee: Aaron Armstrong 189-215; Emily Holian, 181-187; Maddy Kotek, 146-138; Bella Kotek, 193-204; MaKayla Schuerer, 187-138.
McCann Tech: Reilly Lefebvre, 134; Jordyn Hamilton, 95; Ryan Puntin, 132-164; Madison Moon, 201-157; Meghan Mongeon, 169-192; Michael Oakes, 174-186.