With one 300 game, the third of his career, already on the board, anchor man Ray Schultz Jr. let loose the first ball of his third game in the Capital Management Services league Tuesday night at 11th Frame Bowling Center (formerly Victoria Lanes) in East Aurora.
“Terrible shot,” Schultz said. The ball nosed into the head pin, and left the 4-9 split.
But wait. “Just before the rack hit, the 4-pin falls forward and the 9 falls backward. They just dropped.”
Right then, Schultz knew it was, indeed, destined to be a special bowling night for him.
“That took all the stress off,” he said.
Totally relaxed, Schultz went on to bowl a second 300 game and complete an 808 series, a personal best.
Actually, Schultz had 28 strikes in a row. He finished his first game with four strikes, after making a change in his approach.
“I was leaving corner pins every other frame, so I moved to the right one board, and that was all it took,” he said. “It came pretty easy.”
Originally from the Watertown area, Schultz learned the game hanging around the South Jefferson Lanes in Adams.
“I’m kind of an old school bowler. I was raised in a bowling alley,” he said. “Dann Venton, who owns the place, was like a second father to me. My dad used to bowl five nights a week and my brother and I were at the bowling alleys all the time. Dann let me bowl for free because my family was poor. There was one stipulation – I had to shoot every spare.
“Dann probably had the most impact on my bowling. He was always giving me little mantras like ‘spares win money.’ I don’t try to be too flashy and try to crank the ball out of the house. I just try to be consistent and pick up my spares.”
Schultz was averaging 224 in the Capital Management League before his 808 series. He was high bowler in the league after leading with a 216 and 210 average the last two seasons.
Basically he is a once-a-week bowler, although he and his wife bowl once a month in a Saturday couples league at the bowling house on Main Street in East Aurora. He’s also bowled in the City Tournament with his Capital Management team.
Schultz feels comfortable at 11th Frame because it reminds him of the lanes he grew up with back in Adams.
“That was a mom and pop place with wooden alleys, pencil and paper to keep score. … It has the same type of small-town feel,” Schultz said.
Greg Merkel, who is president of the Greater Buffalo USBC Association, met Schultz at a family party three years ago and invited him to fill an opening on his Capital Management team in the Tuesday night league at Victoria..
Schultz had moved to the Buffalo area after he married Nicolette Balducci of Elma. They had met when both were working in the athletics department at Syracuse University. Nicolette, who had performed with the Syracuse Dance team, was coaching the dancers while Fay was working as a marketing assistant who occasionally would be called on to go into costume and dress as “Otto the Orange,” the mascot for Syracuse teams.
The couple now has three young sons.
Schultz recently began a new job in sales with Royal Canin, calling on veterinarians to sell prescription pet food diet products.
“Funny thing,” Schultz said. “My boss was in town Tuesday and it was the first time I met the guy. At the end of the day, I dropped him off at his hotel. His last words to me were: ‘Have fun, and bowl a 300 tonight.’
“I guess I take directions pretty well.”
Caught in a draft
There were some interesting developments from the Western New York angle when the draft was held last week to stock teams for the PBA Team League that will debut at Thunder Bowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich., Jan. 19-27 during the Detroit Winter Swing.
Eight franchise players (Norm Duke, Pete Weber, Bill O’Neill, Jason Belmonte, Mike Fagan, Sean Rash, Chris Barnes and Osku Palermaa) selected the players for their teams in the draft.
Rash made Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga the sixth pick of the draft. Weber selected Jack Jurek of Lackawanna and John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda in the fourth and fifth rounds and added Brad Angelo of Lockport as a supplemental pick.
Weber drafted 13-time PBA Tour champion Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., and Scott Norton of Costa Mesa, Calif., before he tabbed Jurek.
“My first pick wasn’t going to be anyone else,” Weber said, “and after that, Tommy and I together talked over the guys we wanted to pick. Our sleeper is Szczerbinski, but he’ll be all right. I’m just looking forward to seeing my team on TV.”
Round 1 of the league will be telecast live on ESPN on Jan. 27. Subsequent shows will be taped to air in February and March. The finals will be taped at the PBA League Elias Cup Finals in Indianapolis on March 31 and aired April 7 on ESPN. Baker format will be used for all league matches.
The 27th annual Tonawandas USBC 50+ Senior Masters Scratch Tournament will be hosted by Classic Lanes on Sunday. The cost is $30. Paid reservations are due today. Walk-ins will be accepted based on lane availability. Call Henry Allenbach at 472-7120.