By Fred Eisenhammer
MISSION HILLS — Mission Hills Bowl has enjoyed plenty of memorable moments in its rich history of nearly 41 years in the north San Fernando Valley. And on Sunday – its final day of operation – the venerable bowling center provided some additional thrills when it played host to the Mission Majors league roll-off in front of dozens of raucous fans.
The Mission Majors league, sponsored by bowling ball manufacturer Columbia 300, showcased perhaps the top scratch league in the Los Angeles area during its Thursday night competition at the Mission Hills bowling center.
Six league teams advanced to the roll-off and it was whittled to two for Sunday afternoon’s best-of-three-games championship match of the stepladder finals.
The second-seeded “Hit the Light, Tim” team of Kevin Nahan, Sue West, Brent Parrino and Tim Tripp rallied from one game down to claim the $2,000 first-place prize (split among the four bowlers). “Ropetime,” which finished second, earned $1,600.
Tripp buoyed the wining team’s effort with a stirring 817 series with games of 289, 279 and 249. He rolled strikes on his first 10 shots in the first game. It was the 47th 800 series for Tripp, a tall lefthander who posted the highest average (232) during the 35-week season. He also has 66 perfect games.
Tripp said “it was exciting to bowl” on Sunday because the two stepladder finalists represented the last league teams to bowl at the center. The championship match featured two of the top bowlers in the area in Tripp and Johnnie Englehart, the bulwark of his top-seeded “Ropetime” team that included Eran Gonsor, Matt Adalian and Karl Kurtz.
Englehart finished with a 702 series (269-254-179), leading his team to a first-game 926-881 victory. But “Hit the Light, Tim” turned in a powerful second game, breezing to a 915-837 victory. All four bowlers of the victors rolled at least a 200.
“Hit the Light, Tim” also was dominant in the third and decisive game with an 888-800 victory. Again, Nahan (225), West (203), Parrino (211) and Tripp (249) enjoyed strong games.
Tripp said this was the first season that all four of his bowlers competed on the same team.
Tripp, a Santa Clarita Valley resident, said he had been bowling at Mission Hills Bowl since the 1990s and expressed his disappointment that the center was closing at the end of the night.
“It’s sad,” Tripp said. “I feel like everyone else. It’s felt like home and now it’s going away. Sad.”
Mission Hills Bowl was forced to close because of an insurance and affordability issue, according to Bill Mossontte, the bowling center’s managing partner