By Joe D’Amodio | firstname.lastname@example.org
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At age 47, Staten Island kegler Jeff Scire is certainly not an old man, but what he’s accomplished on the lanes the last month or so one would think he was 25 years old again.
Need proof? He’s currently riding a streak of three 800 series in the Monday Night Draft League at Rab’s Country Lanes, a loop which consists of the area’s top keglers.
Scire’s thundering bowling has produced area-code series of 815, 807 and 809, respectively, since March 1.
“I do not recall a time where a bowler has achieved such a feat,” said Country proprietor Frank Wilkinson, who also competes in the loop. “Maybe (Vin) D’Ambrosio in a season where he averaged 250 for 77 games.
“In the 09-10 season, Derek Gilbert was on quite a streak, finishing the season with a 241 average in the Scratch League. That season he had four 800-plus series and five 300 games across the several leagues he bowled in.
“Ryan Friend had a two-week streak in the 12-13 season with an 803 and 837.”
But Scire’s current bowling could be better.
In all, Scire, the author of 117 career perfect games, has rolled five 800 series in this third of the prestigious Draft League season, which is broken down into three, 12-week seasons. That’s five 800s in seven weeks, including three straight. He has rolled a total of seven 800s the entire Draft League season.
And Scire has no idea why he is bowling so well.
“I really don’t know. I just think it’s a hot streak,” said the Woodrow resident. “Ever since I stopped playing baseball three years ago I’ve averaged in the 240s. I averaged in the low 230s for 30 years before that. I think by not playing baseball — where I was a catcher — has helped my knees and my back. They don’t hurt anymore.”
After Monday night’s performance, the righty is averaging 245 over 57 games this season, according to Wilkinson. In the 57 games, he has rolled one 300 and flirted with perfectos three other times, twice rolling a 299 and a 296.
“To put this into perspective, the United States Bowling Congress’ men’s national high average for the 2019-2020 season was Charles Easton of Sylvania, Ohio, who posted a 256.5 average for 84 games,” noted Wilkinson, the former president of the USBC. “Jeff’s highest season average is 248 for 99 games in the 17-18 season.”
Two of his latest three 800s came against his good friend and rival, Sean McAuliffe, who was practically raised on Victory Lanes, the now-defunct Island center his family owned.
“It’s very impressive to watch him not only compete and dominate over the years but continue to get better,” said McAuliffe. “He’s the king of Country Lanes for sure. But three 800s in a row in (this) league is crazy and he can definitely go for four or more.
“I remember Jimmy Terlizzi shooting three 800s in a row years ago and that was unheard of. Jeff is currently averaging 245 and I’m having a great year as well averaging 243, just trying to keep up with him.
“We’re both very competitive so it’s gonna be fun to see how we finish out the year. The Draft League is the best league around right now with bowlers like Dan Dunleavy, my brother Timmy, but a lot of the big names on the Island haven’t made the jump yet to join the league. I guess they don’t think they can keep up with us.”
Wilkinson called Scire a fierce competitor with loads of determination.
“There seems to be no slowing down for him,” said Wilkinson, the son of the late Rab Wilkinson, one of the Island’s all-time great keglers. “He’s been bowling as if he’s on a mission, and that mission with no doubt is striking, a lot.”
Scire knows he’s doing something good when he gets complimented by his older brother, Dennis, a former Islander, who bowls in the Draft League as well.
“He never has anything good to say about what I do,” said Jeff with a laugh. “But he can’t believe how I am bowling right now.”
As for this coming Monday night, Scire is hoping to knock over 800 or more pins for a fourth straight time.
“It’s all about the first game,” said Scire. “If you can get off to a strong start and then all of a sudden you have a chance. And then if you bowl a good second game, you start doing the math.”