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01/05/15 7:59pm
01/05/2015 7:59 PM
Forrest Vail had a 486 series for Riverhead, which swept Southold in three games at Wildwood Lanes in Riverhead. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Forrest Vail had a 486 series for Riverhead, which swept Southold in three games at Wildwood Lanes in Riverhead. (Credit: Garret Meade)


When the bottom two high school boys bowling teams in Suffolk County League IV faced each other on Monday, they both saw it as an opportunity to walk away with points, something that hasn’t been too plentiful for either side this season.

It was Riverhead that garnered the lion’s share of them at Southold’s expense. Three Blue Waves rolled three-game series scores of 564 or higher in a 31-2 win.


01/13/14 8:17pm
01/13/2014 8:17 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead freshman Jon Visek strung together 11 strikes for a career-high 290 game, capping a career-high 783 series on Monday against Southold.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Riverhead freshman Jon Visek strung together 11 strikes for a career-high 290 game, capping a career-high 783 series on Monday against Southold.


In bowling, it’s not so much how a ball is delivered that counts as what the ball does once it is thrown down the alley. The Visek brothers need look no further than at each other to appreciate that point.

Riverhead High School senior D. J. Visek has an unusual two-handed throwing style that he adopted to get out of a slump. His younger brother, freshman Jon Visek, adheres to the more conventional one-handed approach.

The two dramatically different throwing styles have brought similar results. D. J. Visek said that once the ball leaves their hands, it has similar action. Quite often that action sends pins flying, producing spares and strikes.

That was the case Monday when both Riverhead bowlers excelled. Jon Visek capped a career-high 783 series with a career-high 290 game as the Blue Waves beat Southold, 30-3, in a Suffolk County League IV match at Wildwood Lanes in Riverhead. He delivered 11 straight strikes during the third game. In the first two games, he rolled a 248 and a 245.

D. J. Visek didn’t have a bad day, either, a 683 series from game scores of 203, 255 and 225. It was the fourth time this season that he hit 600 or higher.

The brothers combined for 50 of their team’s 79 strikes, 27 by Jon Visek.

Jon Visek started the day with a team-leading 206.04 average. D. J. Visek was third at 197.04, behind Forrest Vail’s 199.54.

The Viseks were the only Riverheaders to bowl in all three games. Nine Blue Waves bowled at least one game as Riverhead swept the three games, 922-747, 955-779, 1,028-717.

Among the other highlights for Riverhead were a 204 by Mark Stewart, who also employs a two-handed throwing style, and a 202 by Joe Gambino.

Riverhead, which entered the match in fifth place, has won 17 of 27 games and accrued 182 1/2 points.

Last-place Southold, which is 0-33 in games this season with only 22 1/2 points, was led Monday by Kaitlyn Kettenbeil’s 531 series, topped off by a 189 game. Jess Jerome added a 448 series, Emily Pressler had a 447, Mike Insogna a 427 and Jen Jaklevic a 290.

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01/10/13 6:57pm
01/10/2013 6:57 PM


Huddled together in a corner of Wildwood Lanes, the members of the Riverhead boys bowling team let out their prematch chant: “Playoffs on three! One, two, three — playoffs!”

Those words say it all, as far as Riverhead’s mindset for what it wants to achieve this season is concerned. The Blue Waves are aiming to qualify for the Suffolk County tournament for the second time in three years. They will do just that if they finish the regular season among the top three teams in League III.

Riverhead was the third-place holder prior to Thursday’s matches, but the Blue Waves suffered something of a setback that day. They won two of the three games, but Patchogue-Medford took the total wood and a 17-16 victory in Riverhead’s home alley. Call it an opportunity missed.

The result left Riverhead with 157 1/2 points. The Raiders, who were sixth in the standings at the start of the day, have 116 1/2 points on the season.

“We’ve been getting better each match,” Riverhead coach Scott Hackal said. “We had a bump in the road today, but it’s been getting better.”

James Knoebel rolled a 226 and then a 253 in the first two games on the way to a 662 series for Patchogue-Medford, which outpinned the Blue Waves, 2,830-2,788. Knoebel, a senior, put away 20 strikes and eight spares.

Another Patchogue-Medford bowler, Scott Welsh, had a 508 series, with the aid of 11 strikes and a match-high 14 spares.

Riverhead was led by brothers Jonathan and D. J. Visek. Jonathan, an eighth-grader in his second varsity season, was consistent, with scores of 214, 199 and 203 for a 616 series. It was his third 600 series of the season. D. J., a junior with an unorthodox two-handed throwing style, shot a 237 in the final game for a 602 series.

Some nice individual games were thrown by other Blue Waves. Kyle Irwin rolled a 202. Nick Giannillo threw a 194. Austin Douglas had a 193. Forrest Vail put up a 192.

Riverhead’s scores in the three games looked like two peaks sandwiching a valley. The Blue Waves started the match well enough, winning the first game, 956-866. But then they dropped the second game, 1,057-804, before winning the third, 1,028-907.

“The second game killed us,” said Hackal.

While Riverhead outgunned Patchogue-Medford in strikes, 80-69, it was the Raiders who held the advantage in spares, 59-42, giving further evidence that spares are the name of the game in high school bowling.

Jonathan Visek (20 strikes, eight spares) is undoubtedly one of the county’s bright, up-and-coming bowlers. When he first joined the team last season as a seventh-grader, his older brother warned him that he would be dealing with pressure.

Pressure? That hasn’t seemed to be a problem for him.

Jonathan Visek bowled a 300 game in practice earlier this season. With Thursday’s performance, he brought his season average to 196. In 23 games, he has registered 10 game scores of 200 or more. His season-high single-game score is 232, and his season-high series is 653.

How good of a bowler is Jonathan Visek?

“I have to say he’s a great bowler,” D. J. Visek said. “He got a 300 in practice, a perfect game. … I realized he was something. He was a lot different from everyone else.”

D. J. Visek is enjoying an even more successful season than his brother. D.J. Visek was left with a 203 average after Thursday’s match, no small thanks to his relatively new throwing style.

A severe slump prompted to D. J. Visek to go to the two-handed approach, something he saw other bowlers do at a tournament last year.

“I was kind of in a slump for about, I’d say, eight months, where as opposed to getting 200 games and having a higher series, I went down,” he recalled. “I wasn’t getting games over 150 or 160. I think switching to double-handing gave me the look and the feel of the ball that I wanted to have, and it improved a lot.”

So, last summer he made the switch. He said it took him about a month to feel comfortable with it, and the results since then speak for themselves. This season he has recorded seven series scores of 600 or more, eight games of 200 or more. Among them are a 279 high game and a 676 high series.

“Over a summer I was able to completely switch to double-handing and come back with my highest average ever on the team,” D. J. Visek said. “Basically, it takes away using your thumb. It was easier for me to hook the ball. … I feel like I can put the ball where I want.”

Now the Blue Waves are hoping to finish the season where they want: in the county tournament.

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01/23/12 9:24pm
01/23/2012 9:24 PM

The Riverhead boys bowling team closed out the 2011-12 season with a 30-2 loss against Patchogue-Medford Monday afternoon at Bowl Long Island in Patchogue.

After winning five of six matches from the end of December into January, the Blue Waves had their sights set on reaching the county tournament. But three straight losses to close out the season left the Blue Waves out of the top four in League III. Riverhead tallied 155 1/2 points while Longwood had 225 1/2 for fourth place to earn the last bid to the county tournament from League III.

The Blue Waves tallied their lowest total wood (2,504) of the season in Monday’s loss. The Raiders tallied 2,993.

Nine different bowlers got an opportunity to bowl a game for Riverhead. No one bowled a three-game series.

Junior Austin Douglas bowled a 378 over two games with a high game of 209.

Sophomore Donald Visek posted the high game for Riverhead with a 214. He tallied a 367 series over two games. Seventh-grader Forrest Vail finished with a 357 series over two games and junior Louis Ambrosio finished with a 342.

The Blue Waves will return their entire lineup next season except for one player, Chris Mazzucca. He led the team with a 194 average in 26 games.

Riverhead won its first match against Pat-Med back in December, 18-15. But after a high game of 918 in that match, the Raiders twice eclipsed 1,000 Monday.

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01/09/12 7:58pm
01/09/2012 7:58 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | With the aid of his new bowling ball, Austin Douglas of Riverhead put up a 558 series with a 213 high game.


Scott Hackal sounded upbeat, and he had good reason to be. Not only because his Riverhead High School boys bowling team had just posted a feel-good win, but because this has turned into something of a feel-good season for the Blue Waves.

That may be a bit surprising, considering Riverhead lost all five of its starters from last season, each one of them taking a 200-plus average with them. Most of the current Blue Waves were on that team, but didn’t get much playing time.

Despite all of that, Riverhead is competing for a playoff spot.

“It’s a pleasant surprise,” Hackal said. “We’re learning, we’re getting better; that’s the key. This is not an easy game. It’s a frustrating game, but they’re working and getting better.”

The fruits of that labor are starting to be seen. On Monday, for example, three Riverheaders posted series scores over 550 in a 27-6 defeat of Ward Melville in a Suffolk County League III boys bowling match at Wildwood Lanes in Riverhead. A 229 in the opening game paved the way for a 580 series by Riverhead junior Louis Ambrosio. Chris Mazzucca, a senior, opened a 577 series with a 210 in the first game for Riverhead, which also received a 558 series from junior Austin Douglas.

“We’re moving right up and we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing every game,” said Ambrosio, who threw 16 strikes and made 10 spares. “We’re getting better and better.”

Riverhead played two seventh-graders, Forrest Vail and Jon Visek. Vail rolled a 215 in the third game and Visek had a 202 and a 165.

“I play eight people, and whoever I put in there seems to get the job done,” said Hackal.

Tom Slawski recorded a 535 series with a 200 high game for Ward Melville. Teammate Tom Bogia posted a 204 in the last game.

Riverhead swept the three games, 936-814, 910-899, 926-876.

Riverhead (129 1/2 points) and Ward Melville (75) started the day as the bottom two teams in the seven-team league.

What Hackal might have liked best about Monday’s match were the 69 spares his team converted, 15 more than Ward Melville.

“That’s huge,” Hackal said of the spares. “That’s better than anything else. I think we missed maybe two one-pin spares. Early in the year we were missing eight to 10 a game.”

Douglas, who like Ambrosio is a lefty, seems to like his new bowling ball. He capped his day with a 213 in the third game. Douglas said he has seen definite improvement in the team, which he said turned in its best performance of the season.

“From the beginning of the year now until now, it’s a completely different team,” he said. “… We had very little experience coming in to this year, and I feel like we skyrocketed.”

Riverhead hopes to extend its season in the playoffs, which may be possible. Of the team’s four remaining matches are two critical ones on the road — tomorrow versus Connetquot and Jan. 23 against Patchogue-Medford.

“We’re close to a playoff spot,” Hackal said. “We have to win a couple of matches on the road. Positive points in those away matches, and we’ll be fine.”

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