By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal

One of Mona Shores’ biggest strength throughout the bowling season has been their ability cover their spares.

On Friday afternoon in the Division 1 MHSAA bowling finals at Northway Lanes, it just did not happen for the Sailors in the semifinal match.

The Sailors fell behind by in the Baker games and could not make up any ground and lost to Saginaw Heritage 83 pins. Shore lost the first Baker game 220-162 and the second 191-181. Faced with the prospect of making up 67 pins in one individual game proved to be too much for the Sailors.

Heritage moved into the final match and lost 1,388-1,258 to Salem.

“Our strong suit the whole season has been spare making,” Shores boys coach Chad Davignon said. “And that was what we didn’t do today. That’s what cost us.”

Mona Shores qualified fourth in the morning qualifying session, then pounded Detroit Catholic Central in the quarterfinals. Mona Shores had Baker game scores of 226-250 and an individual game of 985 to beat DCC by 166 pins.

But then came the task of taking on Saginaw Heritage, the top finisher in the morning qualifying that featured eight Baker games and two individual games.

Against Heritage, the Sailors could not get on track.

“The oil pattern from one end of the house to the other end of the house is completely different,” Davignon said. “And, this shot down at this end is a tighter shot and they have a very small window to move and the oil doesn’t push down the lanes as much so our kids had a hard time hitting their mark consistently.”

In the first Baker game, Saginaw Heritage strung together five straight strikes while Mona Shores was settling for five straight spares. In the end, Heritage had built a 58-pin lead.

In the second Baker game, Heritage was able to match the Sailors strike for strike and in the end, put nine more pins onto their lead heading into the individual game.

But the strength of Mona Shores all season, besides picking up spares, is the ability to throw a 1,050-pin game.

Right from the start, Shores saw the hole grow deeper. In the first two frames, the Sailors had seven straight open frames and fell behind even further. They did post five strikes in the third frame and did build some momentum, but splits and more missed spares kept them from cutting into the deficit.

“I felt they could do it, but they started out so poorly the beginning of that game,” Davignon said. “They just couldn’t recover from it.

“They did give themselves opportunities to make spares – easy spares – and they just didn’t convert,” Davignon said. “Unfortunate, since we have so many seniors this year  … we have six. I feel terrible.”

In the final game, Jake Sherburn rolled a 192, followed by Grant Gillard with 176, Mitch Davignon with 174, Chris Sherburn with a 167 and the combination of Dan Ribbink and Hunter Carlson shot a 156.

Saginaw Heritage was led by southpaw Derrick Norman, who threw a 225 game that included five strikes in a row.

“The kids have battled all year and they’ve been in some tight matches where they were down and came back and won at the end,” Davignon said.