Fire and Ice: Warriors start hot, win Ice Breaker Classic

By on December 13, 2017
Warwick’s bowlers, shown with their goat mascot, took home their first-ever Ice Breaker Tournament championship last Saturday at Berks Lanes. Shown are (left to right) Tyler Miller, Isaac Erickson, Ashley Sham, Carter Snavely, Rylan Beebe, Tony Lutz, and coach Neal Vital

Warwick’s bowlers, shown with their goat mascot, took home their first-ever Ice Breaker Tournament championship last Saturday at Berks Lanes. Shown are (left to right) Tyler Miller, Isaac Erickson, Ashley Sham, Carter Snavely, Rylan Beebe, Tony Lutz, and coach Neal Vital.

Isaac Erickson was in the anchor spot for the Warwick bowlers last Saturday for good reason.

The Warrior junior is coming off a season in which he won the Eastern PA Regional crown and the PIAA State singles silver medal.

And when Warwick needed him to come through against Neshaminy in the boys finals of the 15th annual Ice Breaker Classic, Erickson delivered.

His spare in the 10th frame of the third and decisive Baker game clinched a 163-159 decision and a two-games-to-one win over the Redskins, lifting Warwick to its first-ever Ice Breaker title at Berks Lanes in Sinking Spring.

“With what (Isaac) did last year, he’s pretty clutch,” Warrior coach Neal Vital said, “and under the circumstances, he made a really, really tough spare to win it. It came down to the last frame. Actually, he and the last bowler for Neshaminy both left the same spare. Neshaminy’s kid was going first and he made his, forcing Isaac to make his. It was close and he covered it.”

The first two games were equally as close against Neshaminy in the finals. The Redskins took the early edge, 172-155, and then the Warriors — whose lineup included juniors Tony Lutz and Ashley Sham, sophomores Carter Snavely and Rylan Beebe, in addition to freshman Tyler Miller — answered with a 183-174 victory to force the third game.

“All three games, they were all pretty much the same game,” Vital said.

With tough matches looming this week against Cedar Crest and Penn Manor, the Ice Breaker championship was a nice lift for the Warriors.

“It’s a major confidence-booster,” Vital said. “(Cedar Crest and Penn Manor) were both in the tournament, both made the finals, so the L-L Sections One and Two were well-represented there. The kids are confident, not overly, and it just helps going into those first two matches quite a bit.”

It helped the Warriors’ cause last Saturday to bowl a 3007 in three traditional games, which at the time placed them first among 19 boys teams.

Erickson led all bowlers with a 702.

Isaac Erickson

Isaac Erickson

“Isaac’s (score) was the only 700 bowled out of the entire group of kids there,” Vital said.

Not far behind was Snavely, who rolled a 626.

“That was probably sixth or seventh-high in the entire field,” recalled Vital.

Others did their part as well, as Lutz chipped in with a 569, Sham had a 566, Beebe bowled a 386 and Miller came through with 158.

“The three returning juniors had experience, the other three really had none and my hats off to them,” Vital said.

Three Baker games followed, and although the Warriors didn’t have their best showing in that series — rolling 168, 168 and 170 for a total of 506 — it was still good enough to take second in the qualifying round, just 25 pins behind Cedar Crest, 3538-3513.

“Our goal was to make the top six,” Vital said. “We were leading after the three traditional games, and I knew we were in a pretty good position as long as we pretty much stayed together during the Baker games. We struggled in those, but our cushion was enough to get us to that second spot.”

Just as important, they managed to earn the second of two byes heading into the finals.

“It was really key,” Vital commented. “Instead of having to win three rounds of best-of-three, you only had to win two … We proved in those three Baker games during qualifying, they can be tricky.”

Manheim Township knocked off Shikellamy 2-0 in the quarters to punch their ticket to the semi-finals against the Warriors. Warwick got a scare in the first game, but pulled out a tight 162-148 win.

“Any game that’s within 20 pins is basically a shot difference,” Vital said.

They rebounded, however, to bowl a solid score in their second-game 224-103 victory over the Streaks, sending them to the championship match.

“That was great and it made me feel like we were ready to continue that into the finals, but that wasn’t really the case,” Vital said. “We had to grind it out in that best-of-three final, losing the first game and coming back.”

Come back is exactly what they did to bring home their first Ice Breaker championship.

*****

Erickson, with his 702, was joined on the Ice Breaker Tournament’s All-Star Team by Northern Lebanon’s Ambrose Shirk (683), Cedar Crest’s Kolby Bennett (680), Northern Lebanon’s Bryce Lentz (646), and Conrad Weiser’s Daniel Althouse (644).

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