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Mount Wolf man narrowly misses out on making York County bowling history

BARRY SPARKS
717-505-5403/@ydsports
Kevin Sollenberger
  • Kevin Sollenberger recently rolled an 877 series at Suburban Bowlerama.
  • The Mount Wolf man started the three-game series with 33 straight strikes.
  • No York County bowler has rolled a 900 series sanctioned by the USBC.

The coronavirus outbreak has shut down nearly the entire sports world.

About a week before the shutdown, however, Kevin Sollenberger nearly made York County bowling history.

Sollenberger became the latest county bowler to flirt with a perfect 900 series.

The 49-year-old left-hander rolled 33 consecutive strikes en route to an 877 series, which set the house record for Suburban Bowlerama on Wednesday, March 4.

With virtually every bowler in the center watching him, Sollenberger's streak ended on the first ball of the final frame of the third game. 

"I pulled the ball and it hit heavy on the head pin, leaving the 4-7," said the Mount Wolf resident. "It was really disappointing. I felt I was going to complete the run and finish with a 900 series." 

Barry Wherley, who was bowling a couple of lanes to the left of Sollenberger, said: "It was the most amazing thing I've witnessed in 55 years of bowling. Kevin was unbelievable. It was a sight to behold."

To date, the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) has recognized 36 900 series, including two in Pennsylvania. Jerred Poff holds the York County series record with an 889, which featured 34 consecutive strikes.

Sollenberger, who averaged 226 last season, said he stayed surprisingly calm for most of the evening. He was able to keep his ball speed up, his focus sharp and his nerves under control. He said his teammates did a good job of talking to him between turns, helping him to relax.

The pressure became palpable in the eighth frame of the final game when Sollenberger tugged the ball, but still ended up with a strike. Although that shook him up a bit, he was able to compose himself in the ninth frame.

Then, he began to feel nervous. He paced the lanes before the 10th frame, anxious to make his final run for perfection.

"I got nervous and didn't follow through," said Sollenberger, explaining the end of his strike streak. "I lost track of what I wanted to do."

Although Sollenberger is disappointed that he fell short of the 900, the unforgettable experience boosted his confidence.

"If I get another shot at a 900, I'm definitely getting it," he said. 

Extraordinary week: Sollenberger's performance was the highlight for the week of March 2, one of the most extraordinary weeks in the history  of York County bowling. 

County bowlers, based on reported scores, combined to roll 14 800s and 13 perfect games.

Bowlers with 800 series (over three games) included: Sollenberger (877, 803); Matt Schaszberger (815), Chad Ruby (815); Joey Mong (814); Yoda Haley (812); Zachary Ilgenfritz (811); Brian Doll (810); Justin Emig (808); Ryan Lohss (806); Kevin Appnel (806); Jerred Poff (804); Jen Sparks (803) and George Rogers (802).

Bowlers with 300 games included: Sollenberger (two), Haley, Doll, Lukas Shoff, Jay Daryman, Gary Aughenbaugh, Steph Shultz, Steve Carbaugh, Adam Slagel, Travis Sparks, Chuck Geesey and Brenda Danfelt.

Reach Barry Sparks at sports@yorkdispatch.com.