WHS sophomore adds District gold to his collection

By on March 4, 2015
Warwick sophomore Ben White bowled through a back injury last Sat¬urday to capture the District Three crown at Hiesters Lanes in Reading.

Warwick sophomore Ben White bowled through a back injury last Sat¬urday to capture the District Three crown at Hiesters Lanes in Reading.

Warwick’s Ben White was holding his breath as the 10th frame against Wyomissing’s Talon Faust unfolded last Saturday night.

Foust had an opportunity to tie the Warrior junior and force a roll-off in the District Three championship match, but he missed the 10 pin &tstr; and a spare &tstr; on what turned out to be his final throw.

With that, White held on to win 191-179 to claim the crown at Hiesters Lanes in Reading.

“When (Foust) left the 10 pin, I was just trying to stay positive, (thinking), ‘If he makes this, whatever happens is what happens,’” said White, who was competing in Districts for the first time. “But when he missed that, I was pretty happy.”

It was the second straight week that White left the lanes happy. Eight days earlier, he captured the L-L League Boys Singles title at Dutch Lanes in Ephrata.

“To do what Ben just accomplished is amazing,” Warwick coach Bill Bernstein said. “Warwick has never had a League champion before. Ben joins the ranks of Justin Hammerstone and Bryanna Nihoff, who both have won the District title as a Warrior. But Ben has set the standard by winning both events. And he’s only a sophomore.”

“I don’t normally do this well in tournaments like this,” White said, “and to win the L-L last week and Districts this week, it’s a dream.”

His back, though, was giving him nightmares in the days leading up to the District Championships. Bowling with a friend in a league last Tuesday, Feb. 24, White aggravated a sciatic nerve condition and was forced to sit out a practice the next night.

“His back was definitely bothering him after the first game,” Bernstein said. “I really wasn’t sure he’d make it the rest of the day. But I think adrenaline takes over a bit in situations like this. Once he was announced as a finalist, I think the pain was forgotten.”

“I couldn’t bowl properly (during the week),” White said, “so I had to take it easy and ice it and heat it and that helped a lot.”

White was hoping to ice his victory over Foust when they entered the last frame in the finals. Instead, he had a 6-10 spare and got only one pin, leaving the door open.

“I chopped it and my heart sunk,” White recalled.

Foust, though, couldn’t capitalize. Needing to drop the 10 pin for a spare and then roll a strike on his final ball to pull even with White, the Wyomissing bowler missed and the rest is history.

“The game was really back-and-forth for a few frames, so it was really close the whole way,” Bernstein recalled. “I knew that if Ben filled out the 10th frame, he would shut out his opponent, meaning there would be no way for Talon to come back and win. Ben’s first shot in the 10th frame got away from him a little bit and he left a 6-10 spare shot. This shot normally poses no real problem for Ben. But he was on the biggest stage he’s been on yet. He missed the spare and automatically left an opening for Talon. Once Talon threw the first ball and scored a nine, I knew he had to make that spare and strike on his final ball just to tie Ben and force a roll-off. He missed his spare and Ben was champion. What a great birthday present for his mother Rebecca, who was there to see it.”

He wasn’t even a sure bet to reach the singles bracket finals through five games in the qualifying rounds. White had solid scores of 225-224-253-209 in his first four, but then had a hiccup with a 198. Thankfully, however, White bowled a 211 in his sixth and final qualifying game.

That was the difference in him claiming the last spot in the final round. Only six keglers advanced from a field of 36, and White’s combined score of 1320 was just three pins more than seventh-place finisher John Mertz III, of Manheim Township.

“(The 211) put me up there,” White said. “I wasn’t too happy with that 198 because I knew I would have to maintain, like, a 210 average or something around there to qualify. So that next game really helped.”

Warwick’s Austin Barilar (197-220-239-194-184-212) was 19th with a 1246, while Cole Snavely (180-177-200-192-197-246) was 26th with a 1192.

In the quarterfinals, White carried some momentum into his match against Penn Manor’s Austin Curtiss, winning 244-214.

“I felt like I was hitting my spot pretty well,” said White, who averaged a 219 in nine total games during the day.

“It’s hard to really find a groove in a bracket round like this because you change lanes after each game,” Bernstein said. “He was certainly consistent in his delivery during that first game and it helped to string five strikes in a row at one point. That really put the match away. Moving on into the semi-finals, he had built his confidence and that may have been the most important thing.”

Indeed, White knocked off No. 2-seeded Ryan Stone, of ELCO, 214-168 in the semi-finals. Top-seeded Jon Pleger, whom White defeated for the L-L crown, was upset by Foust 232-227 in the other semi-final match.

Just as he did en route to the L-L crown, White profited from a strong mental approach.

“You always have to point to your mental game in bowling,” he said. “That’s your No. 1 resource to do well.”

Next up for Barilar, Snavely and White are the Eastern PA Regionals, set for this Friday, March 6 at Dutch Lanes and Leisure Lanes.

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