COLUMBUS – The Versailles Lady Tiger bowlers drove to Columbus on Saturday to compete in the Kick Off Classic Tournament at Palace Lanes.
They were joined by 31 other teams to bowl in an invitation-only tournament with the other best teams in the state of Ohio.
“This tournament provides our girls with great experience and is always a good time,” Versailles Coach Tyler Phlipot said. “The younger Tiger teammates have never been to a bowling alley that is full such as in a tournament like this. If the Tigers can meet their goal and advance in tournament at the end of the season they will see an environment like this again.”
The bowlers competed as a team with a format of three regular games with two baker games followed by a cut to the top 16 and then became a best-of-five baker games match play.
The Tigers bowled well to start with a team score of 3,005, making them sixth out of the top 16 after the first cut with scores of 850 in game one, 905 in game two and 913 in game three. The baker scores where 169 and 168.
The leading scores for the Tigers came from Hannah Niekamp (223), Olivia Bruening (174, 183, 198), Maggie Hedrick (193, 180), Brigette Holsapple (179), and Makenzie Berning (220, 203). With Berning’s series of 573 she finished 15th overall as an individual bowler.
After the cut the Tigers took on Troy in match play baker format where they came back from a 0-2 deficit to defeat the Trojans 3-2. Scores were 182-185 in favor of Troy, 152-201 in favor of Troy, 182-141 in favor of Versailles, 190-177 in favor of Versailles and 162-160 in favor of Versailles.
The girls worked well together in baker play. Freshman, Morgan Heitkamp was able to step in when needed in the final three baker games and helped obtain the victory.
“Team strategy changes when you are bowling in a big tournament like the Kick Off Classic,” Coach Phlipot said. “The goal is to allow the five girls who are jiving together the best to stay on the lanes. I told some of the younger girls at the beginning of the day what to expect and this included the possibility for one of them to step in if needed. All of the girls who came along had the ability to compete well. As the lanes change throughout the tournament, sometimes there is an opportunity for another bowler to step in and do well. Morgan did this for us today. Hannah Niekamp also came to compete and executed on two big shots in the 10th frame for the Tigers.”
In the next round the Tigers were defeated by Mechanicsburg 3-0.
“We just were not able to throw as many strikes in a row as the Indians,” Coach Phlipot said. “We had a good spare game but the number of strikes Mechanicsburg threw were too much for us to get the win.”
The Versailles girls bowlers would finish the tournament in sixth place.
“I was proud of the girls, and we had a lot of fun,” Coach Phlipot said. “It is nice to watch a team in bowling when they start coming together and working as a unit. I have very high hopes for us throughout this season.”
The girls compete on Saturday at Speedway Lanes in New Bremen against the Marion Local Flyers.