Forest Hills Northern bowling coach Dave Roden isn’t a chance maker, but he can spot a long shot when he sees one.
Take a 300 Baker game for example.
“It’s like being struck by lightning twice in the same day,” Roden said.
However, the Huskies beat the odds on January 8 when they competed in a tournament hosted by Jenison at Fairlanes Bowling Center in Grandville. A Baker format is a game in which a team splits the bowling, with each bowler throwing two frames.
One by one, the pins fell for FHN, culminating in senior Carson Hommes’ strike, the 12th straight for the Huskies to cap off the perfect game. The house erupted into applause as the Huskies celebrated the rare feet.
According to the MHSAA website, there have been three perfect Baker games in the state tournament, with the most recent in 2008 by Walled Lake Central. Port Huron Northern and Dearborn Divine Child both posted 300 Baker games in 2005. Records are not kept for the regular season, but Roden said he is not aware of another that has taken place recently.
“Speaking to a few different coaches, I said you have to call a perfect Baker game across the state for the past ten years, and they don’t know any,” Roden said. “That’s what fascinates me so much. We have a bowler like Carson on the team who goes bowling in college. When you see someone like Carson bowling a 300, it’s not unheard of because he has the skill and is incredibly gifted. But when you take all five bowlers to finish it all together, it’s hard to wrap your head around the possibility.
FHN’s five at Fairlanes included junior Tyler Nethercot in first place, followed by seniors Michael Bohatch and Chris Ashby, sophomore Colin Doolittle and Hommes who anchored the team. The Huskies have averaged 170-175 for Baker games this season.
Hommes threw the fifth and 10th frames. Hommes said he and Ashby joked about throwing a 300 Baker game prior to the tournament. Ashby was the first to congratulate Hommes after his last stroke.
“It was super special, because I’ve never even seen one in real life,” said Hommes. “I’ve never seen a team Baker 300. When it happened, it was crazy. We were shocked.
“I threw the first two strikes in the 10th frame. After the second ball I turned around and there were so many people watching. It was insane. Then I started to get really nervous. I thought I didn’t want to let my team down. That would have been depressing if I hadn’t gotten it. I just wanted to keep going for my team.”
The 300 enabled the Huskies to make the final step in the tournament, leaving FHN fourth in the field. Roden said FHN had some luck along the way, too.
“There were a few Brooklyn attacks there,” Roden said. “To be honest, everyone just flowed. Throughout the day of the tournament we only got better. Our first game was our worst, and then we got better.
“When we were four, five, six strokes deep, I thought, ‘Hey, this is a great run, keep getting a good shot. If it ain’t wearing, it ain’t wearing. Just throw a good shot.’ That’s all you can do in that kind of run All you can do is throw the ball where you want to throw it Hopefully it carries Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t But you gotta give yourself a chance Just throw a good shot.”