Thornton Hall Dec. bowlers of the month were as follows: Ladies, Jean Howard (228) from the PNA League and for the men, Brian Geisel (279) from the Dave Van Ord Memorial Tavern League.

• Sharon Elks won the 2nd session of the Dave Van Ord Memorial Tavern League. They had 20 wins. Team members are Dan Lesheski, Brian Faber, Tony Gagliardi and Rich Billioni. Our Gang’s Lounge finished 2nd with 19 and Sharon VFW 1338 was 3rd with 18 wins.

Team season highs belong to the following. Scratch game: (1) Sharpsville VFW (1147), team members are Jon Steklachick, Walt Dorfi, Rich Kovack, Don Moschillo and Brian Geisel; (2) Sharon Elks (990).

Handicap game: (1) Our Gang’s Lounge (1303), team members are Alan S. Carpec, Mike Howard, Jeremy Fraley, Bob Fisher and Jeff Van Ord.

Scratch series: (1) Sharon VFW 1338, (2876), team members are Chuck Durkot, Mike Rahn, Chris Hanahan, Brian Blair and Bob Nichols; (2) Bittany Pub & Grille (2627).

Handicap series: (1) Tony’s Pizza (3542), team members are Tom Frabotta, Bruce Wheeler, Jared Saxton and Carl Jones; (2) La Isla (3411).

Individual highs go the following. Scratch game: (1) Geisel (299), (2) Frabotta (278) and (3) Gagliardi (268). Handicap game: (1) Jeff Van Ord (320), (2) Hanahan (307) and (3) Shawn Kane (303).

Scratch series: (1) Moschillo (725), (2) Fraley (700) and (3) Alan S. Carpec (668). Handicap series: (1) Nichols (826), (2) Jesse Koewacich (773) and (3) Fisher (770).

Geisel is the average leader with 213, Fraley is 2nd with 208, Koewacich is 3rd with 204.42 and Jeff Van Ord is 4th with 204.25.

• The next bit of bowling advice pertains to the conventional delivery as the game has seen the advent of numerous other forms of releasing the ball.

We all know that one of the keys to a sound bowling game is a good release. There are some that believe a good release involves putting the ball well back in the hand. A good release means the thumb comes out of the ball first (and rather quickly) and the weight of the ball is shifted to the fingers. The fingers than propels the ball on the lanes.

Each bowler may have a different type of release (depending on your game), but the bowler who can vary his/her release (different hand positions) who has the advantage. Let’s review some different releases and see how they may be able to improve your game. Keep in mind that changing a release is one of the most difficult tools to achieve.

The first hand position most of us learn is that for the straight ball.

The middle finger is usually at the six o’clock position. The ball is released by directing the two middle fingers (with no rotation) to a 12 o’clock position.

The new bowler may feel comfortable with this release, but experienced bowlers use it for converting single pin spares and if they want to play a “safe shot” to keep the ball on the lanes.

The end-over-end roll is the next step up. It’s the easiest way for controlling the ball’s direction to the pocket. It might not look as pretty and have the striking power of the big hook, but it does have enough rotation to give the bowler a high strike percentage.

The disadvantage to the end-over-end roll is leaving weak 10 pins. However this shortcoming is usually equalized by its ability to carry the 4 and 7 on light hits.

Since the advent of reactive balls, right handed bowlers have seen more 9 pins on good hit and left handed bowlers have seen more 8 pins. This release is an effective tool in combating those two leaves.

The final hand position is one that creates more side roll. This one is utilized by the majority of the good bowlers. This roll creates more angle to the pocket and gives the bowler a higher percentage for strike shots.

To get proper turn, the ball must move off the inside of the hand, which requires the hand to be open at the point of release.

As you can see, each release has its advantages and disadvantages. The amount of hook and side roll is entirely up to you. Remember in order to strike, you just need enough side roll and revolutions to take out the five pin.

The big hook (banana ball) requires less accuracy and gives you more room.

However, if you make a mistake you tend to leave groups of pins or splits that are difficult to convert.

Conversely, less hooking balls cover fewer boards, but are easier to control.

GABE D’ANGELO is a member of the Mercer County Bowling Hall of Fame and Professional Bowlers Writers Association who writes this weekly column for The Herald. He can be reached at guru8942@verizon.net.

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