The Highland High School boys bowling team trailed visiting Roxana by the lopsided count of 16-4 after the first two team games Wednesday at Poplar Junction Lanes. 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, which evened its overall record at 1-1, 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.
Junior Adam 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 sophomore Austin Davis and junior Trevor 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.
Senior anchor Brandon Munie bowled a 615 series with a high games of 216 and 205.
In addition, freshman Steve Reinacher took advantage of being inserted into the lineup for the third game by rolling a 202.
Highland’s JV boys swept Roxana 7-0. The JV Bulldogs received good games from sophomore Austin Roach (203), Reinacher (201) and junior Wyatt Weise (193).