In retrospect, Riverhead bowling coach Scott Hackel wishes he could have found a way to get some of his younger bowlers into the lineup last year. But with a team loaded with seniors that was in pursuit of a league title, the opportunities didn’t so readily present themselves.
“The young guys didn’t get as much time as I would have liked, which would have helped them this year,” Hackel said.
The Blue Waves have fielded an entirely new lineup this year and for the bowlers, it’s been about getting acclimated to varsity matches. Riverhead dropped its first three matches, including Tuesday against Sachem East, 30.5-2.5 at Bowl Long Island.
Hackel said with a young team, it’s been a learning process to open the season.
“They’re all nervous and stuff like that,” he said. “It takes a little bit of time. They’ll be fine. As the year goes on we’ll be all right.”
It didn’t help Riverhead that two of its first three matches came against some of the top teams in the league. Longwood won the season-opener against Riverhead by tallying a total wood of 3,200, the second highest total of any team in the county so far this season.
The Blue Waves have averaged 884 per game. Last year they finished the season a shade under 1,000 per game.
Riverhead has gotten some strong performances, led by the trio of juniors Louis Ambrosio, Austin Douglas and senior Chris Mazzucca. Ambrosio, who bowled only one game last year, leads the team with a 198 average. He has the highest single game so far with a 246. His high series is 653, also best on the team.
“He’s been shooting real good,” Hackel said.
Mazzucca has a 187 average and Douglas is at 183. Mazzucca led the Blue Waves against Sachem Tuesday with a 568 series. His 200 in the second game was the single-game high for Riverhead.
The Blue Waves have mixed up the lineup at times to give multiple bowlers a chance to compete.
“We have four or five other guys that have been rotating in there,” Hackel said.
Looking ahead Hackel said the goal for the team is to make the county tournament and continue to improve each match.
“Our guys have the potential,” he said. “It’s just putting it all together at the same time.”
After a match at home Wednesday against William Floyd at Wildwood Lanes, the Blue Waves return to action Monday against Patchogue-Medford.