Cumberland Times-News


May 9, 2014

Benton’s 814 tops area bowlers

— Bobby Benton’s 814 series, his third 800 set of the season, was the highest score of the week. He also has three 300 games and a 299 this year. Joe Mullenax was next with 811 and Mike Brobst had 797. All three of these sets were rolled at White Oaks.

Alex Shirey had 790 with a 290 at the Bowler. Bob Petersen had 776 at White Oak Lanes. John Ellifritz had a 300 game at Wilson Lanes.

Becky Torrington was high for the ladies with 654 at the Bowler. Crystal Uhl rolled 645 at the Bowler and Autumn Grant had 628 at White Oaks.

For the juniors, Carter Nave led the way with 691 at the Bowler. Kasey Sullivan had 661 and Wes Weems had 646 at White Oak Lanes.

Which kind of lanes are tougher? Wet lanes or Dry Lanes? Dry Lanes can make spares more difficult, as your ball may hook away from them, but wet lanes are definitely tougher to strike on. No matter how well you throw the ball, if you cannot make it hook, it will be extremely difficult to strike.

Several of us traveled to a Pittsburgh Bowlers Tour stop at the Meadows this past weekend. The lanes were extremely oily and the scores were very low because of the conditions. With 50 bowlers on the first squad, it only took a score of 603 to make the top eight.

The second squad wasn’t much better, even though the lanes dried out because they dried up in the front of the lane but not the back. In other words, your ball might hook a little bit early, but then it had no hitting power at the pins because it would start skidding again as it hit the down lane oil.

This is the kind of condition we seldom encounter in league play, but it can teach you a valuable lesson about friction. Bowling balls need friction in order to hook, and friction comes from the ball encountering a dry portion of the lane.

When you start your practice each night, watch your first couple of shots to see where the ball starts to hook. You need to note how far down the lane it goes, as well as how close to the gutter you need to throw it in order to make it hook. These “boundaries” are your starting point for reading your pair of lanes.  Your lanes will change all night, but as long as you start in the right spot, you have a fighting chance at a good set. Use practice to find the friction and your scores will improve.

Joe Mullenax is the bowling columnist for the Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at

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