BREWER, Maine — Sunday afternoon’s marathon Maine State Candlepin Bowling Association singles championships at Bangor-Brewer Bowling Lanes may have represented a changing of the guard as well as a sneak peak at a new generation.
Competing while 6½ months pregnant, Amanda Carroll of Gray found herself down 34 pins to Rici Justice after the first string, but rallied in the fourth to go up by four and never looked back en route to her second women’s singles state title.
In the men’s championship, Ryan Purdy of Buxton took a 31-point initial lead on local competitor Shawn Morrison, but Morrison rallied to take a lead in the fourth string and the two went back and forth before Purdy nursed a slight lead through the final four strings to win his first state crown by 27 pins.
“He came out fairly consistent and I was a little up and down,” the 33-year-old Purdy said. “I just kept putting it on the headpin. It was a good first ball most of the time and that was the key to the day.
“I also did a good job of making sure I didn’t leave a lot of stuff down on the plate. I was getting my 10s and my spares and that was a big key.”
Meanwhile, while Morrison was enjoying several hot streaks, at one point hitting three straight strikes and notching three more in the final string, he was unable to make the most of several spare points and left a few too many pins standing up.
Purdy, an engineer at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, finished with a final 10-string score of 1,329 to Morrison’s 1,302.
It was an ideal finish for the second-seeded Purdy, who lost to Dave Nealey in last year’s championship. Morrison won it all in 2008.
“I’ve just been able to bowl more consistently, but I had a few games today that were lower than they should’ve been,” said Purdy, who has been bowling since learning at the age of 6. “I try to bowl year-round now.
“I find if I take the summer off, I lose a little bit and it takes a couple months to get it back.”
Carroll can relate. She wasn’t going to let pregnancy keep her from competing.
“I knew I needed to pick things up after I got down by 30,” said Carroll. “I think I just needed to get on a roll. Once I get a lead, I’m pretty good at keeping it.”
The No. 2 seed from Gray shrunk the deficit to 30 and 18 pins before taking a four-pin lead in the fourth string and finishing with a comfortable 71-pin winning margin and a total of 1,187.
“I’m pretty tired, but I’ve been bowling pretty well considering,” Carroll explained. “Being able to bend over is tough and it kinds of gets in the way. When I first started to get my belly, it was harder to bowl, but now I’ve gotten used to it.
“My average is actually a little higher in tournaments than my league.”
This was the second final for Justice, the fourth seed overall from Augusta. She lost to Judy Bowden, this year’s top seed, in the 2008 final.
“She was throwing a great ball and hitting what she needed to. She was pretty consistent today,” Justice said. “I felt consistent and I was on the headpin, but there were a few weird bounces now and then.”
Carroll is making up for lost time, having relegated her favorite sport to part-time status while in college. After winning the state singles title, she also won the ICBA Tournament title in 2007.
“I’ve been bowling since I was 5 years old, but I didn’t bowl year-round when I was in college,” she said. “My mom has bowled for a long time and I started in a kids league when I was really young.”
It was a great way to erase a disappointing end to her singles tournament run last year.
“Last year, I fell twice in the semifinals and lost by 13 pins, so yeah, this was great,” she said with a big smile.