ROCHELLE — The Rochelle varsity boys bowling team found itself trailing early in conference play against Geneseo at T-Byrd Lanes on Thursday. That’s when junior Logan Ortega stepped up and threw Rochelle’s two highest games to help the Hubs claim both the final two games and the series over the Maple Leafs.
Ortega started the match slow with 132 in the first game, but he exploded for 234 and 220 over the final two games to finish with a season-high 586 series. Ortega’s big games helped Rochelle win the series by a final score of 3,126-3,069 and improve to 2-2 overall on the season. The Hubs scored 8-of-10 conference points in the win.
“Once I went into the second game I was able to figure things out,” Ortega said. “That really helped me… I slowed down and let the ball release on its own. I wasn’t trying to jerk the ball around or anything and that really helped me smoothen up my release.”
Geneseo claimed the first game 1,029-1,009 behind 223 from Kyle Cones. Seniors Nick Stevens and Brady Shank each rolled 196 to pace Rochelle in the opening game. The Hubs took over the series lead with a 1,094-1,019 victory in the second game behind Ortega’s 234 and Shank’s 213.
Shank normally throws the ball with one hand, but an injury to his right thumb allowed him to transition to two-handed bowling. After helping Rochelle top Sterling on Wednesday, Shank was excited to keep the positive momentum rolling on Thursday.
“it’s definitely different but I think I’m having a lot more fun with it,” Shank said. “There isn’t as much pressure on me when I throw a bad ball and I’m learning a lot. I’m definitely seeing better results and I’m having more fun.”
The third game went down to the final shots, with Shank knocking down enough pins on his first ball in the final frame to help Rochelle top Geneseo 1,023-1,021 and claim the series. Shank finished with 193 for a team-high 602 series, with Ortega adding 220 and senior Tyler Johnson rolling 210 for a 556 series.
“It’s definitely a big confidence booster to win and it’s bringing us up a lot,” Ortega said. “It’s making me and my teammates happy.”
The Hubs now have a 20-20 conference point total, and Rochelle will have some time away from the lanes before returning for the Harlem Invitational on Nov. 24.