You never forget your first time.
I’m talking about keglers bowling that first perfect game, of course, and not a certain memorable experience shared by a pair of consenting adults (get your minds out of the gutter).
Midd-West High School senior Derrick Martin, 17, the son of Kraig and Christi Martin, won’t soon forget his first time. Derrick bowled his first career 300 on Feb. 5 in a Heartland Athletic Conference match at Milton.
The pressures of bowling inside the cozy confines of Imperial Lanes can make any kegler a bit nervous, and Martin was no different.
“That was the second or third time I have ever bowled at Milton,” he said. “When I first got there I thought it wouldn’t be a good night. With the synthetic lanes and synthetic approaches, I had to figure out how to throw my shots and bowl through (the conditions).”
Martin opened his series with a 192 prior to rolling the 300. He had a 163 in his third game and finished with a 655 series.
The perfect game by Martin helped the Mustangs take the second team game from the Black Panthers, 1119-1098. It turned out to be one of only six losses the conference champ suffered on the year.
Not only that, but it gave Midd-West a chance to qualify for the postseason. However, the Mustangs’ hopes were dashed when results from the HAC’s other matches came out later that week and Midd-West wasn’t among the top four teams to qualify for the Eastern PA Regional Tournament next weekend.
“(The 300) was nice, but I wish I had one or two other big games,” said Martin. “The first game was learning how to throw the ball on the lanes, and the third came after I threw a 300.
“Three good games could’ve gotten us to regionals,” Martin added.
“(Head coach) Roger (Folk) and I were both excited and very happy for Derrick because he has worked very hard to improve his game from last year. He made the jump from jayvee to varsity this season with the hard work and determination to be a varsity starter for us,” said Midd-West assistant coach Corey Wert.
“Whenever one of the high school bowlers gets a chance at a 300 it is very exciting knowing that in some small way, as a coach, you helped him or her get to that point.”
Unfortunately, the Martins couldn’t be at the match to witness their son’s achievement as they were tending to the family’s hardware business in Mount Pleasant Mills. Coach Folk made sure they knew what Derrick did as soon as the match was over.
“I would’ve liked for them to have been there, but I called them after I finished and their reaction over the phone was pretty priceless,” said Derrick. “My dad didn’t believe me at first and he was joking around. My mom cried and she was joking around because I bowled (a 300) before she did.”
The realization of bowling a perfect game didn’t fully sink in for Derrick until the bus ride back to Middleburg. It especially hit home when the bus pulled into the high school parking lot and he saw that his car was already decorated in honor of his feat.
Most importantly, Derrick will receive a 10-karat gold ring for rolling his 300 game.
“I retired the ball I threw the 300 with and had it engraved with the house I threw it at, including the date and my teammates’ names on it,” said Derrick. “I’m going to put it on a shelf with my team picture and the ring.
“Our team also hands out plaques with high scores from the year, and I’m going to put it all together and make a display.”
DERR STRIKES AGAIN: For the second time this season Saint Francis (Pa.) freshman and Shikellamy High graduate Shelby Derr was named the Northeast Conference Rookie of the Week.
Derr led the 10th-ranked Red Flash at the James Brown Invitational held Feb. 15-17 in Baltimore, Md. The team finished eighth out of 25 programs that competed, including 17 of the top 20 teams in the latest National Tenpin Coaches Association poll.
Among the Red Flash wins was one over No. 1-ranked Central Missouri the first day.
Derr made the all-tournament first team with a 19.20 frame average. She accumulated a team-high .511 strike percentage after she threw 45 strikes in 88 attempts.
She finished the invite’s traditional round as the top NEC freshman by pulling in a 212.6 five-game average with four games over 200, including a high game of 225 versus No. 3-ranked Nebraska .
The Red Flash competed in the ECAC Invitational this past weekend.
Until next time, stay out of the gutters.
Brian Holtzapple is a correspondent who covers bowling for The Daily Item. Email him at email@example.com.