Coming into 2019, the Elizabethtown Area High School bowling team had a solid record of 5-1 (34-8 in points), good for second in Section Two of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. However, the Bears needed to get through the first part of a tough stretch in order to stay alive for first. They succeeded in spades.
The team went to Dutch Lanes in Ephrata on Friday, Jan. 4, to take on Manheim Township, coming away with a 7-0 sweep. The Bears coasted to a 947-798 win in the first game, boosted by a 236 from senior Patrick Hoffmaster, who had no open frames, as well as a 234 from fellow senior Katelyn Garman. Jordan Schell (219) and Matt Iseman (201) led the way for the Blue Streaks.
The second game was much more competitive; Elizabethtown was down after the sixth frame but mounted a comeback in the final four to win 965-859. Garman (241) had a game-high 241, finishing with 7 straight strikes. Hoffmaster (204) and senior Abby Chaffins (193) chipped in as well. Schell led Manheim Township with a 212.
The final game wound up coming down to the wire, with both teams entering the final frame tied at 824824. However, a combined 11 strikes from the Bears in the 10th were enough to give them a 1,046-1,035 victory. Garman had her best game of the season at 268, with Chaffins (214) and Hoffmaster (212) once again turning in solid outings. Schell (248) and Iseman (235) went over 200 for the Blue Streaks, as did Brendan Braswell (209).
Things looked a lot more challenging for the Bears when they returned home to Clearview Lanes on Monday, Jan. 7, for a match against Penn Manor, the reigning L-L League champions who entered undefeated. However, Elizabethtown shocked the Comets in the first game, pulling away with a 1,009948 win. Four Bears bowlers went over 200: Garman (217), Hoffmaster (213), sophomore Eryn Moore (211) and senior Elizabeth Vuxta (205). Derek Warfel (222) and Gavin Davidson (216) led the Comets in scoring.
Penn Manor held the advantage for the majority of the second game until the 10th frame, where the Bears mounted a comeback and captured a 1,009-991 victory. Vuxta had a match-high 257, while Moore contributed with a 205. Mark Smith had a 246 for the Comets, followed closely by Davidson (234).
Elizabethtown was in the driver’s seat for most of the third, though the Bears had to fight off a late Penn Manor push to get a 1,043-1,026 win and the 7-0 sweep, handing the Comets their first loss of the year. All five of Elizabethtown’s bowlers had at least a 190, with Moore (232) and Garman (223) leading the way.Davidson (253), Smith (216) and Evan Wright (224) carried the Comets.
Now at 7-1 on the season (48-8 in total points), the Bears are scheduled for a back-to-back at Clearview Lanes against Warwick on Thursday, Jan. 10, and Mifflin County on Friday, Jan. 11. They’ll then go to Dutch Lanes on Tuesday, Jan. 15, to face Ephrata.