March 19, 2014
ARLINGTON, Texas - Todd James of East New Market, Md., added three memorable perfect games to his resume as he rolled 36 consecutive strikes for a 900 series at Bryan's Bowling Center in Laurel, Del., on Tuesday night.
The 31-year-old right-hander was bowling as a last-minute substitute in the Tuesday Night Mixed league and struck on every shot he threw to become the 23rd bowler in history to record a perfect series. The achievement is pending approval from the United States Bowling Congress and would be the 24th USBC-approved 900.
"I don't usually have any problems finding the shot there, but last night, I just couldn't get lined up in practice," James said. "I didn't throw a strike until the last shot, but then I was in the pocket the rest of the night."
James' longest string of strikes previously was 20, and once he got past that point, the nerves started to set in. As he got closer to the end of the third game, he also was in position for the center's strike jackpot, so everyone took notice.
"Once I got through the eighth frame of the third game, people started to realize I hadn't missed all night," said James, whose daughters, Chloe, 11, and Alyssa, 7, got to see him shoot 300 for the first time. "It's not a big place, just 14 lanes of four-person teams, but no one left."
A break in the ninth frame of the final game collapsed the 4-6-7-10 split, but James felt good about his last three shots, despite being more nervous than ever before. His final offering briefly left the 10 pin standing, before a messenger solidified his place in the record books.
"Standing there and waiting for that 10 pin to go down felt like forever, like in the movies," said James, who runs an early-morning snack route. "Afterwards, we were all pretty excited. I couldn't believe it."
Bryan's Bowling Center is about a 30-minute drive from East New Market, but James has been bowling there since it opened in 2009. He recorded a career-high average of 235 there last season and is on pace to beat that this year. He bowls regularly at Bryan's on Monday nights and bowls as a substitute when he can the rest of the week.
Henry Grabowski Jr. previously held the house record at Bryan's Bowling Center with 858, shot in January 2013, while the previous state record belonged to Ron Prettyman, who rolled games of 300, 299 and 300 for an 899 series at Holiday Lanes in Claymont, Del., in February 1996.
The first USBC-approved 900 occurred Feb. 2, 1997 when Jeremy Sonnenfeld rolled three consecutive perfect games in Lincoln, Neb. There never has been a Sport-certified 900 series.
USBC-Approved 900 Series (24)
Jeremy Sonnenfeld (R), Lincoln, Neb., Feb. 2, 1997
Tony Roventini (L), Greenfield, Wis., Nov. 9, 1998
Vince Wood (R), Moreno Valley, Calif., Sept, 29, 1999
Robby Portalatin (L), Jackson, Mich., Dec. 28, 2000
James Hylton (R), Salem, Ore., May 2, 2001
Jeff Campbell II (R), New Castle, Pa., June 12, 2004
Darin Pomije (R), New Prague, Minn., Dec. 9, 2004
Robert Mushtare (R), Fort Drum, N.Y., Dec. 5, 2005 and Feb. 19, 2006
Lonnie Billiter Jr. (R), Fairfield, Ohio, Feb. 13, 2006
Mark Wukoman (R), Greenfield, Wis., April 22, 2006
P.J. Giesfeldt (R), Milwaukee, Dec. 23, 2006
Rich Jerome Jr. (R), Baltimore, Dec. 22, 2008
Chris Aker (L), Winnemucca, Nev., Oct. 30, 2009
Andrew Teall (R), Medford, N.J., Nov. 2, 2009
Andrew Mank (R), Bellevue Ill., March 18, 2010
William Howell III (L), Middletown, N.Y., Oct. 21, 2010
Matt Latarski (R), Medina, Ohio, Nov. 28, 2010
Bob Kammer Jr. (R), Crown Point, Ind., Jan. 8, 2011
John Martorella Sr. (R), Greece, N.Y., April 12, 2012
Jimmy Schmitzer (R), Riverside, Calif., April 20, 2012
James Williams (R), Pawcatuck, Conn., (bowled in Wakefield, R.I.), April 16, 2013
Joe Scarborough (R), Charlotte, N.C., (bowled in The Villages, Fla.), April 21, 2013
Todd James (R), East New Market, Md., (bowled in Laurel, Del.), March 18, 2014**
** Pending formal approval by the United States Bowling Congress.