By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – Tupelo’s quest for a third consecutive boys bowling state championship nearly ended quietly in Saturday morning’s qualifying round.
The Golden Wave, once 84 pins out of second place in the four-game qualifying, rallied to make the finals and defeated Clinton 4-1 in the championship match to win the MHSAA Class II state title at Paradise Lanes.
“We had a lot of young bowlers who had never bowled here,” Tupelo coach Susan Dudley said of her team’s early struggle. “They couldn’t match up the lane conditions. In the third game we started striking. It was the spark we needed.”
Clinton posted a score of 3,703 and Tupelo a 3,491 to finish first and second against an eight-team field in the qualifying to set up the best-of-seven game Baker-style title match.
Tupelo sophomore Tim Hartigan rolled three consecutive strikes in the 10th frame to give the Golden Wave a 215-212 victory and the championship in Game 5.
“That’s like hitting a walk-off homer,” said Hartigan’s father, Kevin, the owner of Tupelo’s Rebelanes and an MHSAA bowling official, of his son’s feat.
The younger Hartigan had a three-strike 10th frame to give Tupelo a 169-168 win in Game 2 to tie the best-of-seven series at 1-1.
“In that first game when I struck out, I was super nervous,” Tim Hartigan said. “After that, the three strikes in the final game came easy.
“But it wasn’t just me. Everybody scraped to get pins in those games.”
Clinton won the first game of the championship series, 164-153, before Tupelo responded with four straight victories, inlcuding 252-158 and 192-177 wins.
Hartigan rolled 777 four-game series and teammate Cullen McBride added a 732 to lead the Golden Wave into the finals. Lane Posey, Kelvin Ramsey and Tyler Russell made up the remainder of the Wave’s title team.
Hartigan had the day’s high game with a 257.
Clinton’s Sonny Monistere rolled the top series in the four-game qualifying round with an 807.
IAHS girls win again
Itawamba AHS girls coach Cindy Tomlin will have to find a place to store her 2009 state championship ring. She’s got another one to wear.
The Lady Indians bounced back from a disappointing loss to rival Tupelo in the North state tournament to capture their second consecutive state title with a 4-2 win against the Lady Wave.
“From the time the season started we thought we had a chance to win,” said Tomlin, whose squad trailed Tupelo 2-1 before rallying. “But, it’s more about having fun.”
IAHS edged Tupelo by 60 pins in the qualifying round – 2,957 to 2,897.
Lynnsy Cromeans bowled a 210 and Ashley Cromeans a 206 in the qualifying rounds for the Indians. Ashley Cromeans’ 705 was the team’s high series.
Bridgette Farmer, Heather Francis, Shelby Prestage, Jessica Toll and Deavan Tomlin also participated in the win for IAHS.