by Fred Eisenhammer
VALENCIA – How many teams would put their worst-average bowler in the anchor position for a tournament?
There was one team that recently did – and it wound up winning a championship. Using an unconventional playbook, “It’s Strike Time” won the Open title in the 2016 North Los Angeles County Bowling Assn. City Championships team competition.
The NLAC held its adult city championships in the team, singles and doubles events early last month and official results were recently made available. The team competition took place at Valencia Lanes and the singles and doubles events were held at Winnetka Bowl.
“It’s Strike Time” went with a bold strategy by placing Roger Paskell as the anchor during the team competition. Paskell entered the tournament with a 165 book average while his teammates Jeff Stitz (193), Greg Kolski (202) and Mario McKenzie (202) all had averages about 35 pins higher.
Paskell showed his team’s faith in him was well-placed. He came through with a powerful 625 three-game series, a 208 average, which was a whopping 43 pins above his average. That effort led “It’s Strike Time” to a handicap-aided score of 2,941, 37 pins ahead of second-place “Urban Achievers” of Wayne McClean, Paul Dean, Jerome Hampton and Ken Morita.
“Roger really helped us the most,” noted Kolski, who had his team’s top scratch score with a 671. Stitz finished with a 670 and McKenzie rolled a 600. Paskell insisted it was not a risky strategy to put him at the anchor. “In my eyes, no,” said Paskell, a two-handed bowler. “You put people where they’re most comfortable. It’s all mental. In my experience in sports, people [perform] better when they’re most comfortable.”
Paskell said he was more relaxed in the fourth position because he anchors his league team at Winnetka Bowl.
For McKenzie, the leadoff spot was not his usual position but he adapted. “You have to go out and set the tone,” McKenzie said. “You have to mark, mark, mark. Every time you don’t mark, you lose 11 pins.”
“It’s Strike Time” won a total of $817 and “Urban Achievers” earned $600. The “Fearsome Foursome” team of Cheryl Towery-Paiva, Dennis Johns, Bill Ryan III and Vern Miller took third and won $308. Sean Blaisdell won the singles event, rolling 731 scratch and 803 handicap. He won $350. Michelle Silver rolled a 721 scratch, 790 with handicap, and earned $280. In the Open doubles competition, Jose Bravo and Jose Herrera finished first and claimed $620.