Bowling: Shorewood’s Heniff rolls three 300s over two-week span
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org March 16, 2014 3:48PM
Tom Heniff | Supplied photo
Updated: April 18, 2014 6:12AM
Practice makes perfect never rang true like it did Feb. 28 for Tom Heniff at Crest Hill Lanes.
The 42-year-old Shorewood native was “all over the place” during the warmup session before dialing in on his last couple of shots.
“I felt like I had found where I needed to throw,” said Heniff, who went on to throw 25 strikes in a row and record back-to-back 300s and a 259 for an 859 series.
Since then, he hasn’t lost his touch, tossing another 300 game March 9 at Town and Country Lanes in Joliet.
Heniff is no stranger to bowling perfection, having struck in all 12 frames 31 times since he began his bowling career on the club team at the University of Illinois in 1993. The 859 series topped his previous high of 855, achieved a decade ago at the Rose Bowl in Portland, Ore.
His 859 came with a little luck.
“In the first game all 12 shots were solid,” Heniff said. “The first seven frames of the second game they were all dead buries in the pocket, too. But in the eighth frame I got it out a little bit and it looked like I was going to leave a 10-pin.”
A messenger took care of it.
“The whole place just erupted,” Heniff said, laughing. “That’s the most fun I’ve ever had bowling, because the entire house was there supporting me.”
When his Ebonite Mission dug in high in the ninth frame and left a 2-pin, another messenger rolled around and toppled it forward. Heniff finished his second consecutive perfect game with three pocket strikes.
In the second frame of the third game his streak of strikes finally came to an end when he left a 10-pin.
Heniff leads all bowlers at Crest Hill with a 224 average. Al Hardesty, who has recorded the only other 300 at the center this league season, is second at 218.
Fields blossoms at Beat the Champs
D’Andrey Fields, of Calumet City, was the top Southland bowler in the finals of the Sun-Times-sponsored 53rd annual Beat The Champs competition March 9 at River Rand Bowl in Des Plaines.
Fields shots games of 192, 204, 215 and 210, adding a handicap of 169 to total 990 pins and finish second behind winner Ryan Yanel, of Antioch. Yanel, a scratch bowler with a 250 league average, tossed games of 289, 300, 300 and 254 for a 1,143 series and claimed the top prize, a 2014 Ford Focus.
Fields, who represented Dolton Bowl, edged Graham Welch, of Golf, Ill., who totaled 986.
“I felt great going into it because I knew the lanes already,” Fields said. “I had gone up to the lanes the previous Thursday and shot a 290. I had all 200s throughout practice.
“During the competition, the lanes were great. It was real heavy on the oil, but I’m working with some DV8 (bowling) equipment, so it really didn’t give me any issues.”
Fields, 21, bowls four times a week at Dolton Bowl. He carries a 167 average on a Saturday afternoon mixed league. He is league bowling for the first time since he was in a youth league at age 8.
“I started bowling with a couple of friends and they saw how good I was getting, so I just jumped back in,” Fields said. “Now I’m bowling every day nonstop. I’m really planning on entering more tournaments.”
Other top Southland finishers at the Beat the Champs were Ryan Funk, of Arena Lanes (14th, 875); Thomas Wheeler Jr., of Dolton Bowl (16th, 862); Norman Balcerak, of Orland Bowl (17th, 859); Martin Deubler, of Palos Lanes (18th, 857); and Gary Cope, of Orland Bowl (20th, 853).