ROCHELLE — Head coach Doug Koch saw a mixture of positives and negatives when the Rochelle varsity boys bowling team hosted Sycamore at T-Byrd Lanes on Tuesday for its first match of the 2018 season.
The Spartans won all three games to take the overall series and shut out the Hubs by a final series score of 3,542-2,993. Behind Christian Lanan’s 663 series, Sycamore claimed all 10 conference points with the victory. Senior Tyler Johnson led Rochelle with a team-high series score of 563.
“I thought the boys were excited coming into the match and I think they bowled rather well,” Koch said. “It was a learning experience for our new varsity players and our returning players. The lanes are going to change throughout the match and we can’t simply rely on strikes every single game.”
Sycamore began the match by taking the first game over Rochelle 1,149-966 behind Lanan’s 236. Four other Spartans threw games over 180 in the opener, and senior Brady Shank rolled 203 in the opening game to lead the Hubs. Shank finished with a series total of 540 on Tuesday.
“I think Brady’s going to be a strong player throughout the season,” Koch said. “I want to see him really progress this season, and I don’t want to see him get as frustrated as he does when he doesn’t get the strike. I want him to come back, refocus and go from there.”
With a sizable lead over Rochelle, the Spartans padded their total by beating the Hubs 1,247-988 in the second game. Three Sycamore players bowled games over 200 including Lanan (235), Riley Runowiecki (235) and Jeffery Gasso (213). Senior Dallas Driver rolled 222 to propel Rochelle in the middle game, and Driver finished with a series score of 518.
“I’d like to see Dallas keep his speed up a little bit,” Koch said. “We talked during the second game about picking up the tempo and moving a few more boards to the left. When he makes that move and keeps his speed up, he can throw a nice game.”
Sycamore capped off its series sweep of Rochelle with a 1,146-1,039 win in the third game, with Runowiecki tossing 208 and Matthew Cusumano adding 206. Johnson finished the evening strong with a team-best score of 245 during his last effort on Tuesday.
Junior Logan Ortega totaled a series score of 484 while sophomore Keith Holland added 465 and senior Nick Stevens chipped in 423. Rochelle (0-1) will pick up action against LaSalle-Peru on Thursday at 4 p.m.
“Tyler can really hit his mark and he can make the slight adjustments like he did in the third game,” Koch said. “He can get on a roll where he’s throwing strike after strike. I like seeing how he’s come back this year and I don’t see him slowing down one bit.”