McBo’s bowling alley was already full, but when word got out Saturday morning that Versailles bowler Jay Mumaw was doing something special, everyone (it seemed) gathered to watch.
Versailles – At the risk of redundancy, we remember featuring Versailles freshman bowler Jay Mumaw in last weekend’s Press Pros bowling feature. And, it was not our intent to highlight him again.
In fact, when we showed up at McBo’s bowling center in Versailles on Saturday morning it felt pretty much like any other morning at any other bowling alley – except McBo’s, with teams from St. Henry, Minster, Parkway, Versailles, Fort Recovery, and New Bremen was jammed to capacity. It was, in one person’s words, a fire marshall’s nightmare.
“Why do you think so many people show up to watch bowling on a Saturday morning,” I posed a leading question to one who must certainly have been a grandfather to one of the competitors.
“Because,” he said. “You never know what you’re going to see at a bowling alley.”
And as it turned out, by the seventh frame of the competition’s first game of open bowling the buzz was going around. Jay Mumaw, who opened his first game with a 9-pin spare, had subsequently rolled six straight strikes. And his scoreline on the overhead automatic scorekeeper, was blank…except for the 20 in the first frame – the sure sign that he had something special going on.
People began to congregate around alleys 7 and 8, where the Versailles team and New Bremen were bowling. Mumaw came up to the eighth, and threw another massive strike.
In the ninth, on the opposite lane, he threw another – a crashing shot that wiped the end of the alley clean.
His father, Chris, who helps coach the Versailles boys, whispered, “He just beat his previous high game, a 268.”
And indeed, as it stood after nine he was sitting on a 270. He could only augment the outcome with whatever he threw in the 10th and final frame.
His first ball was another resounding strike, a perfect hit in the 1-3 pocket. The buzz behind him intensified.
His second ball was equally good, crashing through the pins as Mumaw quietly raised his fist and smiled. He had one more ball.
He took a moment longer for the twelfth and final ball – lingered a second as he allowed the blower on the ball return to dry his finger tips. He turned to the pins, sighted his mark, and let it go. This time it went a little high – more head pin than he wanted – but like with his ten previous strikes he had so much pin action going on that he swept the lane free…eleven straight strikes and a 290. By 22 pins he had eclipsed his previous high game.
But it didn’t stop.
He would go on to roll a strike in the first frame of his next game – twelve straight strikes and the unnatural ‘300’. People gave him a polite ovation.
And, he would go on to throw five more – 17 strikes in a row – before leaving an 8-10 spare in the in the seventh. He converted, cooled off a bit, and finished with a 233.
“I didn’t know about the last ball in the tenth,” he would admit later. “It wasn’t a perfect hit, but there was enough action.”
And though Jay Mumaw doesn’t have a lot to say, he would confess, “That was pretty exciting.”
When he finally threw something other than a strike after 17 straight, the crowd, which seemed to increase with each succeeding frame (as if people were calling others to come watch), exploded in applause. Mumaw just smiled, sheepishly.
And for the record, his teammate Landon Henry shirt-tailed his 290 game with a 243 in his first game – good, but three pins shy of his previous high of 246.
The Versailles boys basketball team had had a surprising win over Minster just twelve hours earlier (Friday night), and at one point led by 41 over the favored Wildcats. And while that was appreciated, it paled to the appreciation that people had for watching 17 straight strikes Saturday in McBo’s.
“That’s the closest I’ve ever come to seeing a 300 game,” said one mom. “How cool is that?”
“I’m sure Parker Bohn III has thrown more than 17 straight,” said Mumaw, modestly, of his favorite TV bowling figure on the PBA tour.
But you just don’t see it in Western Ohio High School Bowling Conference competition – once in a blue moon, if that. In fact, when we wrote about him last week (Bowling Works For Jay Mumaw) no one dreamed that it could work that well for him, and that soon.
Like the man said at the top…they came for a show on Saturday and the Tigers’ freshman gave it to them. Didn’t mean to, and didn’t thump his chest when he did it; he didn’t pull a cell phone out from beneath the goal post, or do a choreographed dance in the end zone. I’m pretty sure he won’t have ‘290’ tattooed on his bicep.
But you never know what you’ll see…when you go to a bowling alley!