Highland senior Brandon Munie came in second place for the second straight tournament to help lead the bowling Bulldogs to a sixth-place team finish out of 16 squads at the 10th Annual Abe Lincoln Invitational Saturday in Taylorville.
Munie fired a six-game series of 1,448, which equates to a hefty average of 241.3 and was just eight pins behind tournament champion Eli Rosenberg of O’Fallon’s 1,456 (242.7 average.).
Munie’s 763 series in the morning ranks as the third highest in team history and his 277 second game is the ninth highest. He sandwiched games of 249 and 237 around his 277.
The Highland did not fall off very mucn at all in the afternoon, shooting a 685 series on the strength of his first two games, 257 and 245.
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“Overall, I was pleased looking back at my performance as much as it hurt to be that close to first and not finish it off,” Munie said. “Going in, my goal was the same as it always is in a tournament, and that was to give myself a chance to win. I seemed to have everything lined up for me the first set and couldn’t have been throwing a better ball. Until the last game (183), I really didn’t have any trouble getting the ball to the pocket, I knew where I stood and was disappointed to fall just short. But I can definitely take something out of this and if I’m fortunate enough to find myself in the same position I think even better things are possible. I’m still pleased with how well I did, nonetheless.”
Munie’s performance helped the Bulldogs come in sixth place.
In addition to having the individual champion, O’Fallon 1 also won the team championship with a six-game aggregate of 6,397 (213.23 average) to beat out Collinsville Purple (6,132) for top team honors.
Rounding out the top five were Alton (6,125), Althoff (5,817) and O’Fallon 2 (5,730).
Highland (5,682) finished sixth.
Also bowling good games for Highland were freshman Steven Reinacher (220 and 190), junior Trevor Leitschuh (217, 206, 200) and sophomore Austin Davis (202, 193, 192).
Mascoutah 35, Highland 5
On Thursday at Mascoutah, the Indians swept all 20 team points and took 15 of the 20 individual points.
The Bulldogs fell to 1-2 overall and 0-2 in the Mississippi Valley Conference.
Mascoutah, which won the match’s overall pin count by the final of 2,890 to 2,664, had the only two bowlers to roll a 600 series.
Kai Toolie finished with a 646 three-game aggregate, which also featured a 244 first game that tied for match-high honors with Highland junior Wyatt Weise. Toolie also added a 215 second game.
Jacob Bartosiak bowled a 611 series with ascending games of 195, 203 and 213.
Highland was led by junior Adam Buske and Davis, who shot matching series of 583. Davis rolled the Bulldogs’ best game with a 235 middle game while Buske had top games of 221 and 201.
In addition, Munie bowled a 200 game.
Highland 22, Roxana 18
In their season opener on Wednesday, Nov. 29 at Poplar Junction Lanes, the Bulldogs trailed visiting Roxana by the lopsided count of 16-4 after the first two team games. But the Bulldogs surged to the biggest comeback in program history, rallying to win 18 of the match’s final 20 points to steal an improbable 22-18 come-from-behind victory over the Shells to score their first win of the season.
“It was the greatest comeback ever, that was ridiculous,” Highland coach Laura Wander-Vrell said. “Holy smokes, that was a big third game and everybody stepped up and they took charge right away. I knew we had to take eight of the last 10 points to win it and we did it. I was sweating it a little bit. But I feel a lot better going to Mascoutah (Thursday) 1-1 instead of 0-2.”
Highland only lost the first two team games by a combined 50 pins.
The Bulldogs bounced back to win the third game by the wide margin of 215 points, 1,144 to 929, and then easily take the match’s overall pin count by 165 pins, 3,077 to 2,912.
Winning the five points each for the third game and the overall pin count, as well as taking four of the five individual points in the third game pulled Highland in front by a single point, 18-17.
And due in large part to every Bulldog bowler rolling a big third game that exceeded 200, Highland won four of the five match’s individual series to make the final score, 22-18.
Christian Bertoletti, Roxana’s anchor bowler, fired the match’s superior series with a 715. He sandwiched match’s No. 1 game, 268, between strong games of 222 and 225.
Highland answered with the next four highest series that all topped 600.
Buske, the Bulldogs’ fourth bowler in the lineup, led the charge with a 660. He got stronger as the match wore on, bowling ascending games of 197, 226 and 237.
Buske was followed closely by Davis and Leitschuh.
Davis, Highland’s leadoff bowler, finished just seven pins behind Buske with a 653 three-game aggregate. Davis also fired the Bulldogs’ highest overall individual game with a 256 in the third and decisive game. He also had a 211 first game.
Leitschuh, a lefty who bowls third in the lineup, shot a 640 series and also got better each game, going from a 187 to a 209 to a 244.
Munie bowled a 615 series with a high games of 216 and 205.
In addition, Reinacher took advantage of being inserted into the lineup for the third game by rolling a 202.