Fox Bowl 1 is without question one of the top 10 teams to compete at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships.
Mike Nape is the tournament’s lifetime average leader. Nape, Gregg Zicha, Peter Spreadbury and Tony Jordan all have eagles (Zicha has two) and have threatened for others. And fifth bowler Josh Blanchard was the Rookie of the Year on the PBA Tour this past season.
They bowled on the 8:30 p.m. team squad Wednesday night in Baton Rouge and I probably would have booked an over/under line of 3,200 if I was trying to get equal action on both sides as bookies do
So you can imagine the shock and disbelief I felt when I woke to get ready for work at 3:45 a.m. Thursday and saw on my phone that they had shot 2,843 (846-974-1,023).
How does an unfathomable score like that happen?
A combination of possibly bad strategy, some poor shotmaking, terrible carry, spare misses ... in other words, what could go wrong, did go wrong.
Nape had the biggest struggle at 483 (132-169-182), his lowest set at the tournament ever, which was somewhat understandable because he had hardly bowled in recent months due to a bad back and bad knees.
“I’m not even mad ... yet. I’m in shock,” he posted on Facebook.
Even considering his physical state, he said in a text exchange Thursday after he woke up that he bowled “terrible,” missing five or six spares, and not carrying when he did hit the pocket, with two 7-10s among his leaves.
And, he said, “the lanes are very tough, which made everything worse.”
Zicha shot 556 (149-208-199) and said in a phone call simply: “What an absolute disaster. It was unbelievable. We were shell-shocked.”
Been there, done that, Z: No matter how good you are, if you bowl long enough, there will be years when anything that can go wrong, will go wrong — unless you’re Mike Shady, who has never been under 1,900 in 18 years!
Zicha said he actually felt he threw it pretty good the last two games, but he and the team just couldn’t find the right combination to carry.
In retrospect, the team felt afterward that they probably would have been better off getting deeper on the lane.
Blanchard fired a poor-carry 574 (189-183-202), Spreadbury rallied for 588 (165-176-247), and Jordan bowled a tremendous 642 (211-238-193) that should have been a lot more, Zicha said.
Amazingly, the team made a small profit in on-the-lanes brackets! That's a good indication how tough the lanes are this year.
As the old saying goes: Some days you’re the dog and some days you’re the hydrant.
Fox Bowl 1 was the hydrant on Wednesday night.
But they very well might be the big dog on Thursday.
They bowl minors on the 11:40 a.m. squad. Nape and Blanchard are on 39-40 flipping to 37-38, and the other guys are on 41-42 flipping to 43-44.
Team all-events may be out of reach, but that doesn't mean they can't light up the doubles and singles leadboards.