Jim Zima bowling column: Brudnicki on an 800 roll in Odd Balls league

7:52 AM, Feb. 25, 2013  |  Comments
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When Ron Brudnicki recorded his first career 800 on Jan. 29 he wasn't surprised. He expected he would get one sooner or later.

The surprise came two weeks later on Feb. 12 when he reached the elite milestone for the second time.

On Jan. 29 in the Odd Balls league at the Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley, he opened his series with a 278, followed with a 247 before closing with a 300 for an 825. On Feb. 12 in the same league, he opened with a 234, and after a 279 middle game, again threw a 300 for an 813.

Then on Feb. 21 he almost did it again, totaling 782 in the West Side Businessmen league at Ashwaubenon.

"I expected to get one (800) because I have been shooting some really big scores this season," he said. "I had a 793 or 792 earlier and also have been in the 770s and 780s a couple of times.

"I knew if I kept at it I would make it. You know it only takes one bad shot and you don't get it. If you get an open frame it's really tough."

In recalling the 825 series he said: "I knew I had a shot. I knew I had been bowling really well, and after the 278 I started thinking about an 800. I thought I could do it.

"Then in the last game when I opened with the first nine (strikes), I was hoping. I thought I needed the first one in the 10th but they (teammates) told me I had it."

Brudnicki didn't let up and struck out in the 10th for the 300.

The following week, Brudnicki didn't come close, finishing with a 714. "We had three 700s on the team that night and they (teammates) were giving me a hard time because I had the lowest," he said.

The next week he rolled 800 No. 2 with the 813. He admitted getting another one so soon was somewhat of a surprise but he said, "After the 279 second game, I knew I needed the first 10 to get it."

He said about going into the 10th frame: "I wasn't nervous, I knew if I got at least one strike I would at least be in the 790s and after the second one knew I had it and then the last ball was right in the pocket for the 300."

Brudnicki, who turns 59 in April, started bowling in his early 20s when he started working at Fort Howard Paper Mill. He quit for several years because of shift work but went back to bowling regularly in 1996 after quitting at the mill.

At first he bowled only in the Odd Balls but then became a twice-a-week bowler when he joined the Westside Businessmen.

In his 782 series on Feb. 14 he lost his chance at a third 800 early.

"I had a shot at in the last game, but I missed in the second frame. I knew I needed a 300 for the eight so after the second frame I knew it was over so I was just trying to see how high I could get," he said.

This past Thursday in the Westside Businessmen he bowled a 638. He did not bowl last Tuesday in the Odd Balls because he was out of town on a mini-vacation.

Brudnicki is averaging 223 in the Odd Balls and 225 in the Westside Businessmen this season.

"I got off to a bad start earlier in the year, especially on Tuesday (Odd Balls), but they (scores) even out," he said.

There have been a total of 42 800s this season and Brudnicki is one of only five bowlers to record more than one. The others are Terry Clark with three and Matt Heesaker, Rory Johnson and Jeff Lee with two apiece.

While the 800s were the first for Brudnicki, the 300s were not. The two 300s were his second and third of the season, following a perfecto in the Westside Businessmen on Dec. 13.

He has a career total of six 300 games to his credit. The others were in 2006, 2008 and April of 2012.

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