It was a take-your-breath-away moment that was delivered courtesy of Silver Lake (Calif.) Atom Splitters bowler West Malott.
Some might say it was downright scary.
After striking in the fourth frame, Malott got his second and final turn to bowl in the ninth frame of the Atom Splitters’ team competition against the Los Angeles X in the Elias Cup finals – which was aired Sunday on ESPN.
It was a crucial juncture in the game (and match) and Malott had a chance to boost Silver Lake’s lead to 11 pins with a strike.
He took his approach and released the ball – or did he?
Where did the ball go?
It turns out that Malott held up his shot at the very last moment.
There was stunned silence from the crowd.
The 37-year-old Malott apparently felt something was amiss or was distracted at the end of his release and held on to the ball.
When the realization hit as to what happened, the announcer said, “That’s a 15-pound bowling ball that Wes Malott made look like it was about two pounds.”
Malott, who has won nine PBA Tour titles, regrouped and it seemed inevitable that the Pflugerville, Tex., resident would misfire after most likely losing his rhythm.
But not so.
It wasn’t a perfect shot, but Malott snaked his ball into the pocket and the resulting scramble resulted in a strike as the Atom Splitters went on to win the game and claim the Professional Bowlers Assn. League championship.
So what was the lesson to be learned?
The pros can make some scary last-minute adjustments on their delievery and be successful doing it.
But for the overwhelming majority of players, it may be advisable to just bowl through even if everything doesn’t feel right.
There’s no need to risk injury.
Wes Malott can pull it off, but he’s a rare exception.