Mounts capture silver at State Team Bowling

By on March 22, 2017
Ephrata’s bowlers pose with their hardware after placing second at States. The members of the team include (left to right): Coach Sean Molchany, Samantha Heindel, Lee Enck, Cameron Zwally, Gavin Dissinger, Jared Bigley, Nick Vanderwende, Logan Molchany and Coach Bryan Dissinger

Ephrata’s bowlers pose with their hardware after placing second at States. The members of the team include (left to right): Coach Sean Molchany, Samantha Heindel, Lee Enck, Cameron Zwally, Gavin Dissinger, Jared Bigley, Nick Vanderwende, Logan Molchany and Coach Bryan Dissinger

The Ephrata boys bowling team made the most of their first trip in school history to the State Team Tournament on Saturday.

The Mounts carried the number one seed into the afternoon stepladder finals at 222 Dutch Lanes in Akron before falling two games to none against returning champion Penn Manor.

Ephrata’s second place finish matches its silver medal finish from two weeks ago in the Eastern Regional. In doing so, the Mounts qualify for the high school nationals on June 24-25 at Smyrna, Tennessee, near Nashville.

The Mounts journey to the finals included a heavy gut-check after Game One. Ephrata found itself near the bottom (ninth) of the 12-team competition, 101 pins behind the fourth and final qualifier. Junior captain Lee Enck led the team with a score of 190 in Game One, still 20 pins below his regular season average. Seniors Nick Vanderwende (167) and Jared Bigley (189), junior Logan Molchany (159) and sophomore Cameron Zwally (172) completed the game one lineup which scored 877 pins.

“I told them we had to execute shots,” recounted Mounts coach Bryan Dissinger after the tournament. “We’ve got to get aggressive and start pounding them. That’s exactly what we did.”

Dissinger revamped his lineup for Game Two, inserting junior Samantha Heindel and sophomore Gavin Dissinger for Vanderwende and Molchany, and the changes paid off in a big way.

Enck again led the way, this time rolling the day’s high single of 268. He had plenty of support from the substitutes as Ephrata rolled the second best game of the day at 1,058, 181 pins better than Game One. Gavin Dissinger posted a 223 and Heindel scored 207 as the Mounts cracked the top four in a remarkable turnaround.

“With this team, we don’t have superstars,” added Bryan Dissinger. “We have seven interchangeable bowlers.”

That point was proven in Game Three, when Vanderwende was reinserted, rewarding his coach with the team’s high Game Three score of 235. Ephrata found its highest level of consistency on the day as Zwally responded with a 222, Heindel knocked down 212 and Enck provided 203. Ephrata finished the regular session in third place.

The next phase of the morning preliminary consisted of a six game “Baker” competition. Each of five bowlers rolled two frames each in this rapid fire format, that literally saw all five bowlers lined up in a single file.

The Mounts continued to excel in this portion of the tournament, much like the Regional, where they moved from 11th place to sixth and a berth in the finals. This time Ephrata (4,119) moved up from third to first, just edging out Penn Manor and Pennsbury at 4,115 each.

The second-place tie was broken when Penn Manor knocked off Pennsbury 226-178 to secure the runner-up position in the stepladder. All matches from this point on were in the “Baker” format.

The quarterfinal saw Pennsbury take down Shikellamy 2-0 by game scores of 211-170 and 161-110. In the semifinal rematch of the tie-breaker, Penn Manor again defeated Pennsbury 2-0 with game scores of 199-191 and 187-174.

Unfortunately for the Mounts, Penn Manor rode that momentum all the way to the title. But the 2-0 official score was closer than it sounds.

Neither team lit the lanes on fire in Game One of the best-of-three championship, and when the Comets outscored Ephrata 20-19 in the tenth frame, the two squads were tied at 160. Five extra frames were needed to break the tie as the nod went to Manor 98-91. Game Two also went to the Comets by a 194-178 score and the title was theirs for the second consecutive year.

Enck talked about rolling on different lanes throughout the tournament.

“It was a massive challenge,” he said. “On 17 and 18 (the finals match) we knew it was going to be very dry and tough to bowl on. That’s why we were using the lower end bowling balls.”

It was an opinion shared by his coach.

“Today, we went up the house and down the house,” said Bryan Dissinger. “That’s what kept the scores down. We did really well for the way the lanes were.”

It was a clean sweep for the Eastern Region in the finals.

In addition to the four boys’ finalists, the Eastern girls’ squads also swept the top four spots with Shikellamy coming out on top over Muhlenberg. Pennsbury and Governor Mifflin completed the top four.

When the Mounts lined up for the trophy presentations, there was the extra hardware for Enck to claim for his high single of the day.

“It means a lot because all of my hard work is paying off,” he said. “I was actually very surprised that I got high game today. It seemed like there were a lot of good scores our there.”

As to the national tournament in June?

“We’re planning on going,” said an excited Bryan Dissinger. “We can only pick from the seven that we used at the state tournament. If we can get five or more, then we will be able to participate in the singles and at the team event.”

“I’m very excited for the fact that we get to show everybody in the nation what we’ve got,” added Enck. “It means a huge amount to the team. We’re all proud of each other. We had each other’s backs.”

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