Almost 33 years had gone by since Roger Berche had bowled a 300 game and prior to the season starting last fall, he told his 10-year-old son, Maxwell, this would be the year for his second one.
On April 14, 1984, in the Junior Program at Wonder Bowl, the then-18-year-old bowled his first and Wonder Bowl’s junior program’s first-sanctioned perfect game.
“I didn’t know it would take so long to bowl another,” the 51-year-old Tiverton, Rhode Island, resident said.
Ten years ago, Berche had a chance, but left a ringing 10-pin for a 299 game.
“My bowling hadn’t really improved in 40 years and I wanted to change that, so, a couple of years ago, I went and talked to Alex Aguiar (co-owner of Strike F/X Pro Shop at Wonder Bowl — he also co-owns four other shops),” he said.
Aguiar helped him with grip and release problems and last January, the right-handed bowler wanted a new ball, but not one that flips hard and one that would further help with changes to his grip and release.
“I had not been throwing a whole lot of strikes and I needed to throw strikes to improve my game,” he said.
Aguiar sold him a Roto Grip Dare Devil and drilled it with the pin down, the first time Berche had ever had a ball drilled that way.
“Aguiar knew the problems I was having and I told him to drill the ball any way he knew that would help me score better,” he said.
Prior to the new ball, he was averaging 210-212 in both of the leagues that he was bowling at Wonder Bowl — the Center League and the Sundowner’s.
The ball changes and working with Aguiar made a huge difference and he has been averaging over 230 since bowling with the new ball. As a result, he brought his season-end average to 225.
“It took a while to change the release, but I’m now getting more consistent,” he said.
One month after getting the new ball, in the last game of the night, Berche had 11-straight strikes for the first time in a long time.
“I went up in the last frame and I don’t know why, but I threw a terrible shot and left two pins standing," he said. "When I released the ball, I was so upset with myself, I turned away and never saw the ball hit the pins. I don’t even know what pins I left up.”
Then, a little over a month later, again, in the Center League and again in the last game of the night, he bowled 11 more straight strikes.
“I wasn’t going to let the 300 game get away from me this time,” he said. “I took my time and got a good shot off and watched the ball hit the pocket. I was happy all 10 pins went down.”
He claims this won’t be his last 300 game and also wants to improve on the 780 career-high series that he bowled last December in the Center League.
“I’ll get there,” Berche said. “An 800 series is a goal for next year.”
Growing up in New Bedford, he started bowling in the Wonder Bowl Junior Program in 1975. After bowling his first 300 game, he moved to Bowlers Country Club and joined the adult leagues where he stayed until the center closed in 1998.
After that, he went back to Wonder Bowl, even though 18 years ago he moved his residence to Tiverton. Unfortunately, a hip injury curtailed his bowling for five years (2009-2014).
“Even though I had surgery, the hip still hurts. I can bowl though there’s still a little pain," he said. "Non-bowlers don’t realize the strain bowling puts on your body.”
Berche takes summers off, but will be back at Wonder Bowl in the fall. He will most definitely bowl the Center League on Wednesday nights, but the Sunday Night league is still up in the air.
“Last year I started just filling in for an injured bowler, but it turned into full-time," he said. "It’s okay, but when it interferes with football season and my watching the Patriots, I’m not too happy with that.”
He also travels to Wonder Bowl on Saturdays to watch Maxwell, his 10-year-old left-handed son, bowl in the Junior Program.
“He’s way ahead of me at this point in his career,” said Berche. "He has a 152 average already. My first season in the juniors, I had a 92. I have high hopes for him.”
Berche also might look into some tournaments next season and bowling at different centers.
“Tournaments are tough,” he said. “With my hip issue, bowling more than three games hurts it a lot, but I’d like to try different lane conditions at different houses, so we’ll see.”
Ryan Hoesterey, in the Family Fun League at Holiday Lanes in Westport, bowled his second-career 300 game recently.
Local-area results in the Massachusetts USBC Women’s Bowling Association’s 54th annual Championships held at Westgate Lanes in Brockton in May were: Team Div. 1 handicap, 2nd, BowlBuds, 2,896; Doubles Div.1 handicap, 2nd, Pam Southworth/Stephanie Millward, 1,490; Doubles Div. 3, 8th, Rachel Marotta/Violet Robbins, 1,378; Singles Div. 2 handicap, 1st, Patricia McAfee, 814; All-events Div. 1 handicap, 14th, Southworth, 2,108; All-events Div. 2 handicap, 7th, Janice Silva, 2,102; Doubles Div. 1 series scratch, 2nd, Southworh/Millward, 1,302; 6th, Millward/Alyssa Doty, 1,179; Singles Div. 1 scratch series6th, Amy Robinson, 656; All-events scratch, Div. 1, 3rd, Amy Robinson, 1,965; Team Div. 1 scratch, 1st, BowlBuds, 2,544; Doubles Div. 1 scratch, 2nd, Southworth/Millward, 1,302; over-all high individual series, Millward, 768; MWBA award for 650 series or better, Millward, 768, 756, 717; MWBA award 265 game or better, Millward, 266.
League champions in the Teddy Bears League at Wonder Bowl were: Eddie Curtis, Bill Niemi, Cheryl Santos and Kareem Thompson; 2nd place team, Kathy Harrington, Camerin Haskell, Justin Haskell and Manny Sylvia; 3rd place, Brandon May, Paula Reis, Carroll Chisholm and Joanne Renaud. High average award, Justin Haskell and Samantha DeMello; high game, Bill Niemi and Martha Roderiques; high series, Kareem Thompson and Donna Costa; most-improved, Cory Caban and Amy Stefanik.
Local-area results of the 2017 Green Mountain Open at Rutland Bowlerama in Rutland, Vermont recently were: Del Picard, 300 game; doubles scratch, 25th, Derek Hamm/Nate Abdow, 1,419; 30th, Sean Richard/Danny Khuu, 1,413; doubles handicap, 21st, Charlie Macomber/Michael Schrems, 1,387; singles handicap, 29th, Macomber, 763; singles scratch, 21st, Richard, 734; 48th, Abdow, 704; all-events scratch, 14th, Richard, 2,129; mixed doubles scratch, 1st, Del Picard/Kate Gardner, 1,420; all-events scratch men, 2nd, Picard, 2,091.
Senior scores were:
AMF Somerset Lanes
John Grobe Summer Seniors: Jerry Butterfield, 211/605; Russ Chace, 206; Bob Higgins, 201; Dianne Laroche, 210; Kelly Van Hees, 225, 235, 225/685.
Wednesday Summer Seniors: Bob Thibeault, 220.
Friday Senior Mixed Tournament (June 23): 1st, Pat Bithell, 643; 2nd, Wes Vaughan Sr., 638; 3rd, Dave Dos Santos, 630; high woman out of the money, Delores Henry, 598.
Other scores were:
Columbia 300 Summer Classic: Tazz Manchester, 234, 212/831; Cory Henriques, 235, 239/869; Jon Thomas, 256; David Saulnier, 265; Tony Furtado, 266, 267/963; Steve Millette, 238; Alan Fisher, 232; Matt Shiner, 212, 226; Steve Oliveira, 226, 235; Del Picard, 268, 268/950; Shane Lavoie, 259, 277/1,029; Matt Rayner, 298/986; Steve Szymanski, 210; Pete Szymanski, 221; Eric Camara, 244; Maryanne O’Mara, 225; Ryan Sanchez, 246, 246; Louie Lemmertz, 274, 279/956; Clem Amaral, 234; Dick Martin, 241; Chris Avila, 233; Jason Venancio, 238; Jon Norton, 290, 264/990; Josh Pires, 214; Noah Carroll, 250; John Ventura, 230; Charlie Macomber, 245; Meghan O’Brien, 203; Mike Furtado, 221; Matt Ferreira, 258; Brett O’Connor, 246; John Rusin, 299; Cortney Standish, 243, 217; Susan Barao, 243; Bobby Rebello, 225; Derrick Silva, 203; Tony Avylla, 236; Mark Dean, 245, 226; Scott Fisher, 238, 238; Brian Gaskill, 253, 258; Kyle Hinchliffe, 244; Brad Raphael, 236.
Junior Handicap Doubles: Matthew Borden, 213; Jody Donnelly Jr., 202; Jacob Gorman, 160; Jonathan Lawrence, 184; Tiler Levesque, 267, 238/718; Hunter Lopes, 205; David Napier, 244/637/214; Nikolas Oliveira, 212, 213/624.
Summer Adult/Child: Jody Donnelly Jr., 199; Bruce Kimball, 234; Jonathan Lawrence, 229, 204; Cameron McAlpine, 227; Phil McAlpine, 246; John Oliveira, 178; Nikolas Oliveira, 213; Robert Smusz, 190; Ronald Soares, 192; Ben Szleliga, 133.
Vicki Prevost covers bowling for The Standard-Times. She can be reached at email@example.com