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Elite bowler Charles Mandel still has sights set on a perfect game

Charles Mandel scorched an 845 series last year.
Charles Mandel scorched an 845 series last year.
Fred Eisenhammer

The date was July 23, 2013.

For Charles Mandel, it was his night for the ages – the day he crushed an electrifying 845 series at AMF Woodlake Lanes in Woodland Hills.

The right-handed Mandel nailed 32 strikes – four below the maximum – in recording his first 800 series with scores of 277, 278 and 290.

He ended his final game with 11 straight strikes after posting a spare in the first frame.

Mandel’s strike percentage was 88% –meaning he knocked down all the pins on his first shot almost nine out of 10 times.

Afterwards, Mandel said, “It was really surreal. I could do no wrong. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

But one nagging question remains: When will this elite San Fernando Valley bowler register his first perfect game?

Mandel takes the question in good humor, knowing full well that rolling an 800 series is actually the more difficult and respected of the two honors scores.

“Since then [845 series], the best I’ve strung from the beginning has been six or seven,” said the 62-year-old Mandel, a former baseball standout for Cal State Northridge and a Woodland Hills resident.

“Then the pressure builds up with each [shot]. It’s eluded me through the years.”

Not that Mandel has given up hope. He’s still has a perfect game in his sights. On Tuesday night, he showed flashes of his “845” form with a 208 in his final game with “only three hours’ sleep.”

Even though he doesn’t have a 300 in his resume, Mandel did blast an “Andy Varipapa 300” during his 845 series – which is when a bowler rolls 12 straight strikes spanning two games.

And Mandel did the “Varipapa” feat with a flourish, smoking 14 strikes in a row, which included nine strikes at the end of the first game and five to start the second game.

As for a 300 in the future, Mandel said, “I still have the potential.”

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