Wahconah Bowlers Defend County Title
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- It was a day of close calls at the Berkshire County High School Bowling League Championships, and that trend went to the last frame of the last match.
The top-seeded Wahconah Blue entered that frame with a slight lead over Drury and a chance to end their best-of-seven Baker format title match.
And Wahconah had arguably the league’s best bowler at the line, Alex White, who tripled in the 10th in each of the last three games.
It looked like he would a fourth time, but for an agonizing moment, the ninth pin wobbled before deciding to stand up.
White regrouped, got the spare, and put away a 246-226 win to give Wahconah its second straight league crown.
“I was thinking: I need this one to close out the match,” White said of his thoughts going to the 10th. “They had a chance to beat us if they struck out, so I was thinking, ‘I need this one.’ I hit it. It wobbled. And I was just like, ‘Ouch.’
“I knew they needed all three of them, so there was still a chance.”
The team of White, Austin Doyle, Cody Doyle, Elliot Tribble and Amber Wood ended up going 8-3 in Baker games on the day.
It beat McCann Tech, 4-2, in the semi-finals before taking out Drury in a championship tilt that was closer than the 4-1 score indicates.
Drury actually jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the finals, using five straight strikes starting with Justyn Cowell’s strike in the fifth to earn a 235-194 win.
“In the Baker format, teams catch fire all the time,” White said. “All you have to do is calm down, get everyone back into it. Hit the reset button, clean the slate and go from there.”
Wahconah took the second game, 226-171, and the third, 223-193.
Then came the game of the match.
Drury’s Kaitlyn Mongeon rolled a strike in the ninth to give the Blue Devils a slight lead and a chance to tie the match.
But Drury went strike-spare in the 10th, allowing White’s third straight turkey to secure a 178-177 win.
That put Wahconah one game from the title, but Drury did not back down.
The fifth game featured great performances from both teams. Wahconah rolled seven straight strikes leading to White’s wobbler in the 10th.
Drury matched nearly ball for ball, rolling five strikes in six frames at one point and not leaving a single pin up in the game.
In the end, Wahconah was able to pull out the win and claim the trophy.
The day started with six teams alive for the championship at Ken’s Bowl.
Both Drury and Wahconah had byes into the semi-finals, leaving Pittsfield, Taconic, McCann Tech and Lee to compete for the last two spots in the semis.
Pittsfield got by Taconic in five games, using a 40-39 tie-breaker to win the third after the teams finished 10 frames tied, 186-186.
The Hornets and Wildcats also had to use a tie-breaker in their match.
McCann Tech took a 2-1 lead into the fourth game, which ended in a 180-180 tie. Jared Blondin and Aleasia Yeaton rolled four straight strikes to give the Hornets a win in the tie-breaker.
Lee battled back, led by anchor Adam Dingman, to get a 181-171 in the fifth game to stay alive. But McCann rolled five straight strikes -- starting with Yeaton in the fifth frame -- to earn a 197-190 win in the sixth game and go to the county semi-finals.
In the semis, Pittsfield overcame a 2-1 deficit to take a 3-2 lead against Drury. In the fifth game, Cole Maseiro converted a 3-6-7-10 spare in the eighth to help send the Generals on to a 188-157 win.
But Drury came back to win the last two games by scores of 163-149 and 190-158 to win the match. Cowell clinched it with a pair of strikes in the 10th frame of Game 7.
Wahconah also was down, 2-1, early to the Hornets. But a 187-131 win in Game 4 turned the tide, and Wahconah rolled into the finals by winning three straight games, the third featuring five straight strikes to end it, 230-162.
That sent White’s team to the final with a chance to do what most top-seeded teams have failed to do at the county championship: follow up a regular season title with a trophy-winning performance.
“Top seeds, they always have the target on their back,” White said. “If teams catch fire, they usually wipe them. We beat McCann, who was the first seed last year, 4-0. We swept them.
“We knew that we were going to get a fight from everybody. So we just had to fight back. We knew that we could do it.”