by Jon Diso
NORWALK – What a show Gabriel Martinez put on this past Saturday, June 23rd at the California USBC State Tournament at Keystone Lanes!!!
Bowling Team Event in the 11:30 squad, he thrilled everyone by opening up with a perfect 300 game. The strikes continued to mount in game two with twelve more strikes for ANOTHER 300!!!
The roar from the crowd for the first 300 was loud, but after the second one, everyone knew something special could brewing, and the cheers were more intense.
After striking on his 25th consecutive shot, a stubborn 4-pin ended his run. Gabe went on to throw 5 more consecutive strikes. 880 and a new Keystone house record was surely in sight, but a pocket 4-9 in the 8th frame brought it all to a screeching halt. After failing to convert the spare, he finished with the last 4 strikes for a fantastic 846 set.
The 3pm Doubles/Singles squad was up next. The strike barrage continued, as Gabe started out with the front 6. A stone ten in the 7th didn’t discourage him, as he converted the spare and punched out for 279. Game two, he started with five strikes. Once again, another stone ten and off the sheet for a second 279. Needing 242 in game three for back-to-back 800s, he sprinted out of the gates with the first four strikes. A third solid ten in the fifth frame and four more consecutive strikes meant that the 800 series was pretty much secured, barring an open with bad count, but backing up an 846 series with a triplicate 279 set would be amazing. After a blower 7-pin in the tenth, Gabe settled for 258 and an 816 series.
The USBC record for a nine-game series is 2,468, held by PBA member Eugene McCune, which he bowled on November 1st, 2010. Gabe would need to shoot 807 to break the record. Game one of Singles, he started out with a strike and yet another ringing ten pin in frame two. Nine consecutive strikes followed with a ringing ten on his count ball for his third 279 in four games. He would need 528 in his final two games.
Game two started just like the previous game with a strike and solid ten. Five strikes ensued, as the crowd who had gathered and followed all day were in complete awe of how locked in he was. Two more ten pins in frames eight and nine followed by a strike, and it wasn’t until the 11th frame of this game where Gabe missed the pocket for the first time the entire day when he left the 3-6-7-10 split. He got two pins and finished with 236.
Entering the final game of the tournament, Gabe needed to shoot 292 to break the national record. His chance to make history ended in the first frame of the last game, when he started with a pocket 7-10 split. He finished the game with three more splits, which bookended a six-bagger for a final score of 197. Nonetheless, a 2,374-scratch total (263.78 average) and a near shot at the record books is not too shabby. It was absolutely unbelievable to watch. Great shooting Gabe!!!