COLUMBUS – The Versailles Tigers took a trip to Columbus to bowl on Saturday at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl, competing against the top 16 teams in Ohio at the Ohio High School Athletic Association state tournament.
This was the third time that the Lady Tigers competed as a team at the state level since the Versailles bowling program began.
The tournament format consisted of three regular games then three Baker games, giving each team an overall score. The field then was cut to the top eight teams to compete in match play. In match play teams advanced if they won best out of five Baker games.
The Tigers were able to practice on the oil pattern Thursday at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.
“This was a very tough oil pattern, which is what we expected,” Versailles bowling coach Tyler Phlipot said. “We practiced the whole week to help the girls understand the lane conditions and how to adjust their game. It was great to have the opportunity to shake off some nerves on Thursday and enjoy our time as a team heading into Saturday.”
Tournament play began at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, and the Tigers were ready. The field consisted of Versailles, Jonathan Alder, Claymont, Fairport Harding, Coldwater, Logan Elm, Heath, Hubbard, St. Marys, Graham, North Union, Garfield, Bryan, Northwestern, Springfield Akron and Benjamin Logan.
Versailles was paired with Logan Elm for game one. The Tigers score for game one was 818, placing them at fifth overall.
“We lacked consistency in hitting our marks in game one,” Phlipot said. “For most of our team this was their first time competing at this high level and understandably the nerves were high. As a coach I just kept encouraging the girls to relax and have a good time. We understood that our scores would be a little bit lower than we are used to bowling due to the tough oil pattern. Our team goal was to score around 850 each game.”
Individual game one scores were: Morgan Barlage (194), Morgan Heitkamp (189), Haddi Treon (167), Lindsey Cheadle/Kalysta Thobe (134) and Makenzie Berning/Jena Mangen (134).
Versailles was paired with the leaders St. Marys for game two and gained some ground, scoring 909.
“We were happy with this pairing because we tend to bowl better if we have a higher level of competition on the lanes with our team,” Coach Phlipot said.
Individual game two scores were: Barlage (221), Mangen (207), Heitkamp (178), Treon (152) and Thobe (151).
The girls settled down and really did much better hitting their marks. Mangen and Thobe both did very well, stepping in and getting their job done. Barlage ignited the fire for the team in game two, coming out with a great score with her teammates not too far behind.
The Tigers sat in fourth after game two.
Finally, in the last regular game Versailles paired with Bryan and scored 877. Individual game three scores were: Treon (200), Heitkamp (189), Mangen (181), Thobe (159) and Barlage (148).
The girls continued to hit their marks well and only needed minimal adjustments as the oil changed throughout the day. With their consistency they gained ground again and were seeded third overall.
Barlage rolled games of 194, 221 and 148 for a three-game series of 563 and placed eighth overall. Heitkamp had scores of 189, 178 and 189 for a 556 series, placing 12th. Treon rolled games of 167, 152 and 200 for a 519 series and finished 26th.
Versailles rolled Baker scores of 143, 185 and 155. Payton Bulcher and Cheadle stepped in well in the second and third Baker games. The Tigers were a little tense in game one, causing them to struggle, but again loosened up as they played their game.
The Tigers finished the morning in fourth only to take a break for lunch and then enter match play.
Versailles faced the fifth seed Northwestern in their first match up. The Tigers won the series 3-1.
Berning, Bulcher, Treon, Barlage and Heitkamp led Versailles to a 166-148 win in the first game against Northwestern. Thobe, Bulcher, Treon, Barlage and Heitkamp led the Tigers to a 211-160 win in the second game.
Thobe, Bulcher, Treon, Barlage and Heitkamp lost the third game 182-158. Mangen, Bulcher, Treon, Barlage and Heitkamp won the fourth game 169-147.
This was a true team effort for the Tigers with almost every bowler getting their hands on the ball.
Versailles then moved on to face top seeded Coldwater in the semifinals match.
“We beat Coldwater twice during the season, but any time we face the Cavaliers at the state tournament we know it will take hard work to come out ahead,” Coach Phlipot said.
Cheadle, Bulcher Treon, Barlage and Heitkamp lost 180-144 in the first game against Coldwater.
In game two Thobe, Cheadle, Treon, Barlage and Heitkamp made things interesting by scoring 162, which tied Coldwater’s 162. This led to a roll-off between the two anchor girls bowling a ninth and 10th frame.
Both Heitkamp and Coldwater’s Emily Fortener put up a spare in the ninth frame, but then Fortener threw a strike and eight-spare. Heitkamp needed to get a final strike to come out ahead after bowling a nine-spare and the pins just didn’t fall.
“I told the girls to give it their all for the final games ahead. We had nothing to lose and really gave it our all,” Coach Phlipot said.
Berning, Cheadle, Treon, Barlage and Heitkamp bowled a commendable 187 in the third game, topping Coldwater’s 157. The same five bowled the fourth game but just couldn’t top the Cavs, scoring 213 to Coldwater’s 218.
“We can’t be upset with bowling a 213 on the lanes in Columbus. I give credit to Rick Hartings and his crew for putting up the marks,” Coach Phlipot said.
Coldwater’s anchor, Fortener, had to throw at least two strikes in the 10th frame to outscore Versailles, and she did.
Versailles finished their season strong being sectional champions, district champions and fourth overall in the state.
“It has really been a pleasure coaching this group of girls. They were focused, knew how to have a good time and understood the importance of their team at each match. I want to thank the coaching staff who really are such an important part of what we do week after week. It’s been a pleasure coaching senior Makenzie Berning for four years, and I hope she can carry some lessons she’s learned while bowling into her life,” Coach Phlipot said.
Fairport Harding won the state championship, Coldwater finished as the runner-up, Bryan finished third, Versailles was fourth, St. Marys finished fifth, Springfield Northwestern finished sixth, Graham finished seventh, and Hubbard was eighth.