There was big news from Northern California last month when 23-year-old left-hander Sasha Gray bowled a 900 series. Gray, a resident of Pleasant Hill in Contra Costa County, averaged 202 in 2013 and is averaging 202 so far this year.
The United States Bowling Congress keeps track of 900 series among its records and currently lists 25 men (no women) with sanctioned 300-300-300 series. Two have come this year; at the moment, they don’t include Gray's masterpiece.
In any event, it’s an extremely, extremely rare feat.
Gray’s gem raises a question: Who will be the first from L.A. County area to bowl 300-300-300?
Just so no one will be surprised when this truly stunning event happens in this area . . . if it does ever happen . . . here is a list (in no particular order) of those local players with the best chance of registering this amazing score:
Bryan Alpert: The only question about Bryan is which hand or hands he would use to bowl his 900. He’s in the USBC record book as the only bowler to roll games of 299 and 300 and a series of 800 with each hand in one season. He can handle pressure; after all, he’s won a national Professional Bowlers Assn. national tournament in Dublin, Calif., earning $20,000. Bryan (shown in photo) has smoked more than 30 800 series and 50 perfect games. And he remains just as good left-handed as righty.
Charles Kenny: All one needs to know about Charles is that he blasted four perfect games within a one-month span this year – at four bowling centers (Winnetka Bowl, Santa Clarita Lanes, Mission Hills Lanes and Jewel City Bowl). Charles, a powerful right-hander, later spoke matter-of-factly about bowling a 900 one day. Informed of Charles’ objective, super elite bowler Johnnie Englehart was asked if he thought Charles could pull off that feat. “Absolutely” came the answer.
Johnnie Englehart: Johnnie, the consummate professional, is one of only three area bowlers who have blasted back-to-back certified perfect games (Bill Plummer and Kelly Gold are the others.) Fact is, Johnnie has racked up another series with two perfect games – those 300s coming in his first and third games. With more than 50 perfect games and 60 800 series, he’s a threat to do something special every time he bowls. Johnnie, a precision right-hander, also averaged a breathtaking 255 in 48 games during a summer league season.
Bill Plummer: Bill, a stylish left-hander, joined the exclusive back-to-back-perfect-games club last month at Corbin Bowl. What made the two perfectos (his sixth and seventh) even more remarkable is that ace bowler Rick Auerbach called Corbin Bowl the most difficult area center in which to bowl. With three strikes in the 10th frame of his first game leading up to his two perfect games, Bill actually strung together 27 consecutive strikes. That’s only nine short of that wondrous 300-300-300.
Kelly Gold: Kelly, a right-hander with textbook form, is the consensus top amateur woman bowler in the area. She nailed her back-to-back 300s in the first two games of her series and ultimately stretched that string of strikes to 25 in the first frame of her third game. Kelly, who has eight perfect games, acknowledged that she’s motivated now by Bill Plummer’s heroics. Said Kelly: “I am inspired to do something spectacular.”
This is just a very small sampling of potential 900 bowlers from this area and we’ll run another story or stories spotlighting others with a shot at this truly magnificent feat.