by Jim Kohner
It's been a rather slow start to the 2005-06 bowling season for Greg Schewe.
A year ago, the 49-year-old Schewe had three averages in the top seven, ranging from 226.6 to 230.7. He also threw 30 national honor counts -- including a pair of 800s.
But going into Tuesday's league play in the American League at Westgate Bowl, Schewe's average was down in all three leagues. And the national honor counts weren't coming at the normal rate, with only nine so far this year.
But he appears to be warming up at the right time.
Tuesday, Schewe strung together games of 299, 212 and 289 for an 800 series. It was the fourth 800 rolled in Winona this year (prior to Thursday night) and the first in league play at Westgate.
"What's going on right now?" Schewe said. "It's tournament time. I'm psyched right now. We've got the city tournament coming up and the big (Super Bowl) doubles tournament in La Crosse. Geoff (his son) and I took second last year.
"It's winter time. They're not as oily on the back end like they were in December. I knew we were going to fight the oil early this year."
Schewe was averaging only 214 going into Tuesday. A few weeks ago, he took the advice of Dale Bartelson and switched balls. It's made a world of difference.
"I found something," Schewe said. "Dale told me to use that AMF Velocity. It's an awesome ball. If you get on drier lanes, it has the back end. If it was a second-shift shot, it would just kill them."
Schewe rolled the first 11 strikes of his first game before leaving a solid 10-pin for a 299. It was his second 299 game in three weeks.
In the final game, Schewe knew he needed to throw 10 in a row to have a shot at the 800, which he did.
"I threw a 299 three weeks ago and didn't make 700," Schewe said. "I didn't want that to happen again.
"I have a gimmick I use if I need to get that big score. I went into the bathroom and started talking to myself in the mirror. I got up in the 10th frame and all I needed was to do was strike and then pick up a 10-pin."
Weege's big night
Todd Weege was a strike machine Thursday night.
He started out the evening with a 726 national honor count in the Classic League at Westgate. That, however, was just a taste of things to come.
Weege came back later in the night in the Knights of Columbus League and rolled games of 279, 279 and 249 for an 807 series.
The battle for the high women's average continued on Wednesday night at Westgate Bowl. Mandi Steffes, who held a two-pin lead over Keri Prigge at midseason, tossed a 692 national honor count in the Mixers League. Not to be outdone, Prigge recorded a 693 series in the Sunsetters League. This battle could go down to the final weeks.
Julie Moldenhauer tossed her fourth series of 660 or better on Monday with a 661 in the Alley Gaters League. Her mom, Keri Wegman, added a 632. They helped their Home Federal Bank team to a 3,436 series - the third highest women's series ever.
Steffes (692, 622), Diane Marley (630, 628) and Wendy Fakler (612, 602) all tossed a pair of honor counts last week.
Big scores came in fast and furious on the men's side in the last week. Besides Schewe's 800, Myron Weege Jr. turned in a 779, Dennis Schewe Jr. added a 773, Geoff Schewe carded a 772, Rick Prenot fired a 761, and Matt Wicka had a 753.
Adding a pair of honor counts were Weege (779, 721) and Brian Fakler (725, 724).
Rick Gatzlaff (746), Scott Ellinghuysen (726), Rich Babler (719), Ryan Przybylski (716), Bob Bigelow (705) and Bev Porter (619) all recorded their first honor counts of the year, while Scott Mueller came within two pins on a perfect game on Friday in the Masters League, finishing with a 298.
Donna Rank certainly had herself a night to remember on Monday in the Lucky Rollers League at Nordic Lanes. The 71-year-old rolled her first career honor count with a 613 series, which included a 241 game.