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NEW YORKER BECOMES 19TH BOWLER TO ROLL 900 SERIES

ARLINGTON, Texas - John Martorella Sr. of Greece, N.Y., grew up around bowling and had the opportunity to experience the sport's ultimate achievement when he rolled 36 consecutive strikes for a 900 series in the Knox Amusement scratch league at Domm's Bowling Center in Rochester, N.Y., on Thursday night.

The accomplishment still is pending approval from the United States Bowling Congress, but would make the 28-year-old right-hander the 19th bowler in history to achieve the feat. It would be the 20th USBC-approved 900 series.

"Before I threw the last strike, I took a deep breath and told myself if I got the last one, I'd tie the world record, and to be able to do it is absolutely amazing," Martorella said. "This just feels incredible. My phone has been ringing all day with calls from friends, the local news, people I haven't talked to in years and even local bowling legends I grew up watching. We have such a great bowling family here, and it's special to be able to share it with them."

Martorella's family has owned Domm's Bowling Center since 1971, and he co-manages the 16-lane establishment with his father, Joe, a Rochester Bowling Association Hall of Famer, and his brother, Frank.

Because of his responsibilities at the bowling center, Martorella often is pulled in different directions, even when he's bowling league. Thursday was no exception, as he spent part of the first game addressing a lane breakdown and organizing brackets.

Toward the end of the set, his 5-year-old son, John Jr., stopped him during his pre-shot routine and asked if he could bowl, too.

"I was able to shoot 300 the first game, and then things started to settle down, so I was able to stay on my pair," Martorella said. "When my son came up to me during my pre-shot swing in the ninth frame, I couldn't help but laugh. It gave me a chance to step back and start my routine all over, and it really helped. I'm glad that he and my father were able to be there with me. My brother bowls in the league, too."

This year, Martorella cut his league participation back to just one league and is having one of his best seasons, which ended Thursday night with a 238 average. He also rolled a pair of 300s and two 800 series earlier in the year. He now owns 15 perfect games and five 800s to go along with his latest achievement.

"I'm here an awful lot, so I decided I didn't want to commit to two leagues this year, which left my Friday nights open to go out and do some other things," said Martorella, who spends about 50 hours each week at the bowling center. "I try to practice every other day, and a lot of my focus is on tournaments on the weekends."

In three weeks, Martorella will head south to Baton Rouge, La., for the 2012 USBC Open Championships, the world's largest participatory sporting event. He will be making his fourth consecutive tournament appearance and looks to improve on the career-best 2,001 all-events total he posted at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev., last year. His father won a Regular Team title at the 1971 event in Detroit.

"I've been throwing the ball really well lately, and I hope some of this carries over," said Martorella, who owns a 204.7 average at the Open Championships. "You just try to use something like this to your advantage, and it definitely keeps your confidence up."

The first USBC-approved 900 occurred Feb. 2, 1997 when Jeremy Sonnenfeld rolled three consecutive perfect games in Lincoln, Neb. There has never been a 900 on Sport Bowling lane conditions.

USBC-Approved 900 Series (20)
Jeremy Sonnenfeld (R), Lincoln, Neb., Feb. 2, 1997
Tony Roventini (L), Greenfield, Wis., Nov. 9, 1998
Vince Wood (R), Moreno Valley, Calif., Sept, 29, 1999
Robby Portalatin (L), Jackson, Mich., Dec. 28, 2000
James Hylton (R), Salem, Ore., May 2, 2001
Jeff Campbell II (R), New Castle, Pa., June 12, 2004
Darin Pomije (R), New Prague, Minn., Dec. 9, 2004
Robert Mushtare (R), Fort Drum, N.Y., Dec. 5, 2005 and Feb. 19, 2006
Lonnie Billiter Jr. (R), Fairfield, Ohio, Feb. 13, 2006
Mark Wukoman (R), Greenfield, Wis., April 22, 2006
P.J. Giesfeldt (R), Milwaukee, Dec. 23, 2006
Rich Jerome Jr. (R), Baltimore, Dec. 22, 2008
Chris Aker (L), Winnemucca, Nev., Oct. 30, 2009
Andrew Teall (R), Medford, N.J., Nov. 2, 2009
Andrew Mank (R), Bellevue Ill., March 18, 2010   
William Howell III (L), Middletown, N.Y., Oct. 21, 2010
Matt Latarski (R), Medina, Ohio, Nov. 28, 2010
Bob Kammer Jr. (R), Crown Point, Ind., Jan. 8, 2011
John Martorella Sr. (R), Greece, N.Y., April 12, 2012**

** Pending formal approval by the United States Bowling Congress.
 
 
INDIANA BOWLER ROLLS 900 SERIES

ARLINGTON, Texas – Bob Kammer Jr. of Crown Point, Ind., rolled a perfect 900 series Saturday night. The series is still pending formal approval by the United States Bowling Congress.

Kammer, who would be the 18th bowler in history to roll a USBC-approved 900 series, tossed 36 consecutive strikes in the Saturday Invitational League at Stardust Bowl II in Merrillville, Ind. He would be the first bowler from the state of Indiana to record a certified 900 series.

“It was unbelievable, and I was nervous,” said Kammer, a 41-year-old right-hander. “It’s not something that happens every day.”

Competing on lanes one and two, Kammer said the rest of the league stopped play to watch him after the seventh frame of his third game.

“I was just thinking, please carry,” Kammer said in describing his final strike. “I was taking deep breaths and trying to get the ball clean off my hand.”

Kammer works for Ford Motor Company and may be a local celebrity when he returns to work.

“My phone has been blowing up,” Kammer said. “I am having my 15 minutes of fame and it’s fun.”

Kammer’s 900 series would be the 19th USBC-approved in history. The first USBC-approved 900 occurred Feb. 2, 1997 when Jeremy Sonnenfeld rolled three consecutive perfect games in Lincoln, Neb. There has never been a 900 on Sport Bowling lane conditions.
 
OHIO BOWLER ROLLS 900 SERIES
 
Matt Latarski (pictured) of Medina, Ohio, is part of a bowling family, and he had his relatives by his side when he became the 17th bowler in history to roll a USBC-approved 900 series.

Latarski tossed 36 consecutive strikes in the Sunday Morning Trio league at Roseland Lanes in Oakwood Village, Ohio, on Nov. 28. He is the second bowler from the Buckeye State to accomplish the feat and will join Lonnie Billiter Jr. of Fairfield, Ohio, in the record books. Billiter's 900 came on Feb. 13, 2006.

"This is all pretty overwhelming and still hasn't sunk in yet," said Latarski, whose 900 was the 18th overall and third one of 2010. "I may have struck one time in practice, so I made an adjustment when the lights came on, and it worked."

The league also includes Latarski's grandfather (Ron), father (Kevin), uncle (Kurt) and older brother, Mike, who had to work and missed the historic occasion. Together, the group has combined for 24 perfect games and eight series of 800 or better.

"We root for each other, and they've always been there to support me, whether I bowl good or bad," Latarski said. "We are competitive, but we really just want everyone to have a good time and bowl well."

With five 300 games already to his credit, the 23-year-old right-hander was somewhat familiar with the pressure, but with six 299s also on his record, he knew that even a seemingly-perfect shot wasn't a guaranteed strike.

"I've had trouble finishing off 300s before, and after the second one, I couldn't believe what was going on," Latarski said. "My buddy told me to stay calm and finish it off. Before I knew it, I was getting closer, and about the seventh frame, it started to sink in. I shot my first 300 when I was 16, and I was pretty nervous then, but that doesn't even compare to this."

The 18-team trios league and the neighboring league both stopped to watch Latarski polish off his perfect series. He instantly became a local celebrity and spent time in the days that followed doing newspaper, TV and radio interviews.

Latarski, who carried a high average of 232 last season, now has eight USBC-certified perfect games, while his previous-high series was 812. His latest success was achieved with a 14-year-old bowling ball he acquired from his father last year while trying to get out of a slump.

For now, Latarski will focus on his job as a line cook at the restaurant inside the Blue Herron Country Club in Medina, but his time in the spotlight also could be the first step toward realizing his dream of becoming a professional bowler.

"This is the greatest thing ever," Latarski said. "I never thought I could achieve something like this. To do something I love and achieve this is unbelievable."

The first USBC-approved 900 occurred Feb. 2, 1997 when Jeremy Sonnenfeld rolled three consecutive perfect games in Lincoln, Neb. There has never been a 900 on Sport Bowling lane conditions.
 
 
NEW YORKER ROLLS USBC-APPROVED 900 SERIES

ARLINGTON, Texas - William Howell III of Middletown, N.Y., has big aspirations for his bowling career and took a step toward making a name for himself as he became the 16th bowler in history to roll a United States Bowling Congress-approved 900 series.

The 22-year-old left-hander rolled 36 consecutive strikes in the Bruce Bryan 3 Person League at Tarsio Lanes in Newburgh, N.Y., on Oct. 21. He now has 14 USBC-certified perfect games, while his previous-high series was 828.

"That night was truly amazing, and it means a lot to know that I'm now a part of bowling history," said Howell, whose 900 was the 17th overall. "I tried my best to keep my focus, and luckily, I had a lot of people there to support me. I knew I had the line, so all I had to do was put the ball there."

As Howell closed out his perfect set, the 36-lane bowling center grew quiet and the members of the 20-team league stopped to watch him make history as the second bowler from the Empire State to record a 900 series.

"It felt just like a normal night when I started, and after the first 300, I started thinking 800 was possible, but I never imagined I'd get to 900," said Howell, whose father, Bill Howell Jr., competes in the same league. "By the end, it was very crowded, and the entire league was there watching me. It was more emotional than my first 300, and I even broke down and cried after. I just couldn't believe it."

Howell's high average last season was 228, but he encountered some struggles on the lanes earlier this year. He turned to former Junior Team USA member Matt O'Grady for help and got things back on track. Howell and his father drove an hour and a half to Hudson Lanes in Bayonne, N.J., for a tune-up with O'Grady, and it clearly paid off.

"I just felt like I wasn't throwing the ball very well, or there was something weird in my approach, so I went to see Matt for a professional opinion," Howell said. "He told me that in his opinion, everything looked OK, and that helped my confidence. He showed me some hand and finger positions that I've been working on since, and obviously, that helped, too."

O'Grady, who honed his skills as a member of Junior Team from 2006-2008, prides himself on his knowledge of the physical game and lane play and was able to quickly assess Howell's game.

"Bill's fundamentals were solid coming into our lesson, but we made a few small tweaks involving grip pressure and increasing the leverage at the bottom of the swing," O'Grady said. "He was instantly able to be more consistent, create more area on the lane and adapt to changing conditions much quicker."

The first USBC-approved 900 occurred Feb. 2, 1997 when Jeremy Sonnenfeld rolled three consecutive perfect games in Lincoln, Neb. There has never been a 900 on Sport Bowling lane conditions.

 
ILLINOISBOWLER ROLLS 900 SERIES
 
ARLINGTON, Texas – Andrew Mank of Belleville, Ill. has joined an elite club becoming the 15th bowler in history to roll a United States Bowling Congress-approved 900 series.
 
“In the ninth frame of the third game I rang a 10 pin,” Mank said. “Then a messenger came and took it out. Thank God.”
 
Mank, 22 rolled 36 consecutive strikes March 18 in the Thursday Men’s Handicap League at Bel-Air Bowl in Belleville. Everyone in the bowling center gathered behind lanes one and two to watch his final frames.
 
“The whole place went wild like a Cardinals baseball game,” Bel-Air Bowl staff member Paulette McCullough said. “We were all so happy for him.”
 
Mank, who started bowling at age 3, had several certified 300 games and 800 series to his credit heading into this season. Mank aspires to bowl professionally some day and said he is thrilled his league voted to be a USBC certified league allowing the accomplishment to go in the record books.
 
“I am glad it was certified,” Mank said. “If it wasn’t, who knows if it could ever happen for me again.”
 
The first USBC approved 900 occured Feb. 2, 1997 when Jeremy Sonnenfeld rolled three consecutive perfect games in Lincoln, Neb. There has never been a 900 on Sport Bowling lane conditions. Mank said he will be looking for a PBA Experience USBC Sport league this summer in the hopes of being the first.
 
“I love challenges,” Mank said.
 
 
NEVADA, NEW JERSEY BOWLERS ROLL 900 SERIES THREE DAYS APART

ARLINGTON, Texas – Chris Aker of Winnemucca, Nev., and Andrew Teall of Medford, N.J., recently became just the 14th and 15th bowlers, respectively, to roll United States Bowling Congress-approved 900 series.

The feats were accomplished within three days of each other and were the first since Rich Jerome Jr. of Baltimore had a 900 series on Dec. 22, 2008. The first approved 900 did not occur until Feb. 2, 1997 when Jeremy Sonnenfeld rolled three consecutive perfect games in Lincoln, Neb.

Aker, a 47-year-old left-hander, had 36 consecutive strikes Oct. 30 in the Friday Night Mixers League at Spare Time Bowling Center. Teall, a 24-year-old right-hander, matched that Nov. 2 in the Monday Invitational League at Medford Lanes.

“It was pretty cool, and doing it with my wife bowling on the team was pretty special,” Aker said. “She usually gets nervous and can't watch, so she's only seen one or two of my previous 300 games. This time she watched pretty much every frame, which is nice.”

Aker had seven 300 games and an 825 high series before his 900 series. Teall had five earlier perfect games and beat his previous best series of 813.

“I really wasn’t thinking of a 900; all I was really focused on was getting a 200 to get 800,” Teall said. “I’m still on Cloud 9. I didn’t know what to do. People behind me were going pretty crazy but I didn’t know how to act, whether I should jump up and down or fall to my knees.”
 
Aker and Teall are the 13th and 14th bowlers to roll approved 900s, all on regular league lane conditions. There has never been a 900 on Sport Bowling lane conditions.
  
 

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Last Modified July 7, 2009
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