Lorrie Decker advances to state bowling tournament

ROSSFORD — Twelve five-person teams and 12 individual qualifiers gathered Thursday night at Interstate Lanes in Rossford for the OHSAA Division II Northwest District Girls Bowling Tournament. Among those 12 individual qualifiers were three from Van Wert County — senior Chloe Spry and freshman Lorrie Decker from Van Wert and sophomore Shiann Kraft from Lincolnview.

The three top teams and three top individuals not on those three teams advanced to the state tournament in Columbus on March 3rd. One of those three individuals is Lorrie Decker who had a 578 series, the second best number among bowlers not on one of the top three teams — Coldwater, St. Mary’s, and Bryan. Besides Decker, the other two individual state qualifiers are Bath’s Bryana Twining and Sandusky Perkins’ Gloria Plue.

“I was happy. I knew I was in the hunt, but there were some really high scores. There was at least one in the high 600’s, I think,” Decker said. “I’ll be working really hard next week (to get ready).”

Decker, a lefty with picture-perfect form, started slowly, at least by her standards, and steadily improved to finish the 169-182-227-578 series.

In her first game she had two open frames, one of which was a split, three strikes, none consecutively, and five spares for a 169, well below her averages of 193.4 in the WOHSBC and 192.9 in the WBL.

“I don’t think she was nervous, but she was trying too hard, and she was living on every shot, so if it wasn’t a perfect shot she was criticizing herself,” said Kevin Decker, Lorrie’s father and the Van Wert girls coach. “She has a bad habit of doing that, but we also had the wrong ball in her hand. We switched balls in the sixth frame of the second game, and that made all of the difference.”

Decker’s second game also started slowly with two opens, one split, in the first five frames, at which point she switched bowling balls, and that turned the tide. She then threw three strikes and two spares in the last five frames for a solid 182.

Decker had seven strikes in the third game, including five in a row for her 227. Her only open frame was the fourth. Her 578 series wasn’t as good as her 617 at the Minster sectional, but she was satisfied.

“The lanes were totally different,” said Lorrie Decker. “Each of the four lanes was different. Overall, though, it was pretty good. I switched balls, and it really helped a lot. It opened a whole new game for me, so I was glad he (Kevin Decker) brought out that one. I ended that second game well and found my rhythm in the third game.”

Spry started off slowly, but was solid after that, going 124-163-150. She started the day with a split, and her first three frames were opens. She had a total of five opens and only one strike in the first set.

After starting the second set with an open frame, she went spare, spare, strike, open, then reeled off three strikes in a row. With an excellent score in sight, however, she finished with two more open frames and had to settle for a 163.

Spry’s third set, too, looked promising for a while. She started spare, strike, strike, spare, but had three open frames and no strikes in the last six frames for her 150. Spry’s 437 series wasn’t quite as good as her 482 at the Minster sectional.

Coach Decker had nothing but positive things to say about his senior. “She (Spry) never quits. She’s positive. She’s been one of Lorrie’s biggest supporters. I couldn’t have asked for a better teammate.”

Unlike Decker and Spry, Kraft was amazingly consistent with a 151-159-154- 464. She had only two strikes all night, but did a remarkable job of shooting spares. The best example of Kraft’s game was the second where she went strikeless, but had eight spares.

“She (Kraft) was consistent all the way through, right about her average,” said Lincolnview coach Neil Korte. “She couldn’t catch a break (strikes), but her spare-shooting today was really good, so I can’t complain about that at all. We told her to slow down, slow everything down. You get in there to districts, a lot of people, their hearts start pumping, so you just slow everything down, and she was doing that.”

On Friday at 5:00 the boys take to the Interstate Lanes, and that will include Van Wert junior Nathan Bidlack.