Erickson wins Regional gold

By on March 6, 2019
Warwick senior Isaac Erickson defeated Daniel Boone’s Alex Horton 220-190 last Friday in the Eastern PA Regionals championship match.

Warwick senior Isaac Erickson defeated Daniel Boone’s Alex Horton 220-190 last Friday in the Eastern PA Regionals championship match.

Joins Lutz and Sham as State qualifiers

Two years ago, Warwick senior bowler Isaac Erickson captured the Eastern Pennsylvania Regional boys’ singles title.

Last year, despite averaging 204 pins per game, there were 57 scores better in the five game preliminaries. Erickson did not qualify for the finals.

“Last year, I just caved,” Erickson said. “I expected so much from myself. This year, I just bowled like I was another competitor, and got after it like anybody else.”

And get after it he did last Friday.

From a first game of 289 at Lancaster’s Leisure Lanes to a fifth game 277, he ended the preliminary rounds with the number one seed.

The biggest hurdle would then come three hours later in the bracket semi-finals against L-L League champ Kolby Bennett, of Cedar Crest.

Erickson finished the 10th frame with a score of 247. If Bennett struck out, he would win by two pins. With his Falcon teammates, coaches and family cheering every shot, Bennett rolled strikes in the ninth and the first two balls of the tenth. The final throw drew a groan as a split left four pins standing, propelling Erickson to the final match with a 247-245 win.

“After Kolby (Bennett) made the second one in the tenth of the semi-final, I thought it was over,” Erickson said. “After that, I had nothing to lose, really. When you’re bowling with nothing to lose, you’re pretty dangerous.”

That dangerous bowler out-pinned Daniel Boone’s Alex Horton 220-190 to take the 13th Eastern Regional title.

Horton had defeated fellow Warwick senior Tony Lutz 236-181 in the quarterfinals.

Lutz, who finished seventh in the preliminary round, out-scored three others in the opening round quad match by rolling a 238, beating Danville’s Caden Mutchler (222), Middletown’s Cody Brunner (212), and Wilson’s Aidan Dsouza (211).

“I worked really hard this week mentally to get in the right state of mind,” Erickson said. “Last year, I was totally in my head about it. I knew this was my last year, but I embraced that. I couldn’t ask for much more.”

“I got really scared a little bit after the fourth game,” Lutz said. “I was only 20 above the cut line for 12th place. With how the scores were going up, I knew I had to throw a good score in my last game.”

Lutz rolled a 236, locking in his trip to the State Tournament next Friday and Saturday, March 15-16 at Dutch Lanes in Akron. There, he will be joined in the boys’ singles by Erickson, Bennett and Garden Spot’s Trevor Courtney.

While the boys were at Leisure, the girls Eastern Regional was in the preliminary rounds at Dutch. Fellow Warwick senior Ashley Sham shredded the competition on the way to the first seed total of 1,224. Her first four games set a Pennsylvania record of 1,022 for a four-game girls series.

Following the prelims, the top 12 girls joined the boys at Leisure. After the opening-round quads and quarterfinals, Sham was the last L-L bowler standing. She continued her hot hand, rolling a 247 in the semifinals, the same score as Erickson in his semi match.

It wasn’t enough though, as Holy Cross’s Kierra Saidi rolled a near-perfect 267, eliminating Sham.

“I executed so much better than I did this entire season,” Sham said. “I ended up throwing one shot all day long. I never moved my feet. I never moved my eyes.”

Governor Mifflin’s Emily Gari, the third seed, bested Saidi 226-221 to win the Eastern Regional girls singles title. Sham will join L-L champ Paige Boyd and Northern Lebanon freshman Aliza Shirk at the State Tournament in two weeks.

That makes it three Warwick seniors going to States.

“It’s awesome,” Erickson said. “We’ve all worked so hard for more than four years. To see it all come together for all of us to go to States, it’s awesome.”

And where did these three come together on the lanes for the first time?

“Seventh grade,” Erickson said. “We met in seventh grade. Middle school bowling club.”

Warwick bowlers Tyler Miller (1,063, per game average 213) and Carter Snavely (987, 197) also bowled well in the singles competition. They would join their teammates in the Regional team event on Saturday.

Manheim Central had two bowlers competing in the Regional singles. Brandon Henry (1,060, 212) was 35th in the boys’ tourney, while Lauren Michael (781, 156) was 92nd in girls singles.

“I would have loved to go to States,” Michael said. “My older brother (Tanner) went to States in his senior year. It would have been cool to go.”

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