Imagine stepping onto the approach 35 times during a sanctioned bowling competition and delivering 32 shots that result in a strike.
Well, young Austin Carl can. In fact, he not only is able to picture it in his mind, he accomplished that feat last week in SuperBowl League play at Sunnyside's Valley Lanes.
The end result for the hefty, muscular athlete only a few years removed from high school was a sparkling 809 series. Making the extremely rare 800 series even more special for Carl was the middle game of the three-game set...a perfect 300.
For Carl, it's the second 300 game he's rolled as an amateur. His first perfect game came in a travel league competition last season.
His prize for last week's momentous feat is the choice of a handsome 300 ring to complement the one he already wears, or he can opt for a perfect 300 game trophy. Carl will also be awarded an 800 series ring from the governing body that sanctions amateur bowling events around the world. A bonus prize went Carl's way, as well, as Valley Lanes traditionally awards $300 to the bowler who rolls the first perfect game each season. That cash presentation was made last night (Wednesday) just prior to the start of SuperBowl League play.
In tallying the 809 series last week, the right-handed Carl opened the night with a solid 242. He then notched 12 consecutive strikes in game two for the perfect 300.
All but one of those 12 shots were indisputable, hard blows to the pocket.
"In the 11th frame Austin tugged it a hair and his shot went Brooklyn. But the pins ended up falling anyway," smiled Rob Rice, who owns Valley Lanes with his wife, Sue.
The young man quickly regrouped and with nerves of steel delivered a crunching shot to the pocket in the 12th frame to complete the trek to perfection.
Carl kept up the torrid pace in game three, firing a 267 that carried him up and over the infrequently achieved 800 mark. He opened the final game with six straight strikes, but left a ringing 10-pin with his first shot in the seventh frame. Maybe a tad rattled, he left the pin standing on the deck with his attempt to convert the spare.
But similar to the second game when he came back from the Brooklyn strike in the 11th frame, Carl rallied down the stretch after the missed spare and reeled off five closing strikes to post the 267.
Rice, who in addition to being the co-owner of the local family entertainment center is a member of the PBA, had been the last bowler to roll an 800 series in Sunnyside, that coming during the 2007 season. He praised Carl for accomplishing the rare feat.
"But it doesn't really surprise me," said Rice. "Austin is one of several bowlers we have here in the Lower Valley who regularly put up some pretty big scores on the lanes.
"What's surprising is the number of athletes this area has when it comes to bowling," he added.