RENO, Nevada — Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts, bowling in the Professional Bowlers Association’s World Series of Bowling at the National Bowling Stadium, bowled his first perfect game in PBA competition Sunday night in the fourth and final round of qualifying for the PBA World Championship.
Betts, who made his debut in PBA World Series competition in 2015 when he averaged 190 for 36 games on four different lane conditioning challenges, was averaging over 200 through the first three rounds of competition this year. After bowling his worst game of the tournament — a 169 in his 36th of 40 qualifying games — Betts threw 12 strikes for his first PBA 300 game in game 37.
Sunday’s competition on the 42-foot Scorpion lane conditioning pattern was the fourth and final animal pattern qualifying stages that are part of the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX.
Betts didn’t qualify for the next round of the championship competition, but his 300 game proved memorable in the prestigious tourney.
“I bowled the whole final five games without a 200 game,” Betts said in a PBA news release.
He completed his 40 games in a tie for 158th place with a 205.6 average, far below the World Championship cut, but 15 pins better than his average in his 2015 debut in the WSOB.
Comparing his 10th frame to coming to bat in the bottom of the ninth inning of a close major league game, Betts said, “I’m much more comfortable coming to bat in a situation like that. After I threw the first strike in the 10th, I turned around and saw the crowd and I’ll admit, I was pretty nervous. I just used my experience in baseball, my breathing techniques and things like that.
“Any time you shoot 150, 160 games, there’s some frustration but we had four games to go. I figured I’d turn it around at some point, and it happened the next game.
“Overall I accomplished my goal this year. I bowled pretty well on all of the patterns, so I had to be happy,” Betts said. “I couldn’t come in here expecting to make any cuts or make any money, so I set some goals I was able to reach and I did it.”
Betts, 25, is a former standout youth bowler who bowled a pair of certified 300 games and finished third in the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association state championships individual event as a junior at Nashville Overton High School in 2010, earning Tennessee Boys’ Bowler of the Year honors after setting Tennessee high school records with a 290 game and 827 series.
After winning his first bowling tournament at age 8, he won several other youth tournaments.
Betts has played the past four seasons with the Red Sox and has a career .292 batting average with 78 home runs and 310 RBIs.
A three-year stint in Boston’s minor league system included 54 games in 2014 with the Portland Sea Dogs, the franchise’s Double-A affiliate, before moving up to Triple-A Pawtucket and then to Boston.
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