With the core of last year’s team returning this season, Riverhead boys bowling coach Scott Hackal expected his team to be competitive. With a trio of experienced seniors in the rotation alongside a pair of talented eighth-graders, the Blue Waves had the right mix of youth and veterans.
It’s all added up to a strong season for Riverhead, 30-3 winners over Deer Park Tuesday afternoon at Deer Park Bowl. Currently in third place in League III, the Blue Waves are in position to earn a trip to the county tournament. Their 141 1/2 points have them looking up only to Longwood (181) and Sachem East (149 1/2) in the league.
“We’re right in the playoff hunt, so that’s where we want to be,” Hackal said. “We’ve bowled pretty well. We lost a couple tough games by under five pins.”
The Blue Waves got big performances Tuesday from junior Donald Visek, eighth-grader Forrest Vail and senior Austin Douglas. All three bowled series of over 600.
Visek led the way with a 664 series, including a high game of 236. It was the highest score of the afternoon for the Blue Waves.
In 24 games bowled, Visek leads the team with a 203 average.
“He’s been the biggest surprise,” Hackal said. “He’s averaging almost 30 pins over from last year.”
Vail and Douglas both had big games Tuesday. Vail posted a season-high 649 series. His 232 in the second game was also a season high.
Douglas rolled a season-high series as well with a 629. His 222 in the second game was his tops for the year.
Eighth-grader Jonathan Visek bowled the final two games and posted two impressive scores. He had a 211 and a 213.
Vail and Visek were both on the varsity team last year as seventh-graders.
“They’ve turned it up,” Hackal said. “They’ve raised their average quite a bit.”
The Blue Waves have relied mostly on six bowlers to handle most of the load this season. Senior Louis Ambrosio has been a key bowler with a 180 average. Senior Kyle Irwin has posted a 181 average.
The Blue Waves missed out on qualifying for the county tournament last year. At this rate, that shouldn’t be the case this season.
“We’re getting better each match,” Hackal said. “The last four or five matches we’ve just been getting better and better. Cutting down on easy misses and putting some strikes together.”