ROCHELLE — The Hubs may only be a few weeks into the season, but first-year head coach Jim Lyles has already seen several promising signs from the Rochelle boys bowling team.
That potential was witnessed Thursday evening, when the Hubs hosted Sterling at T-Byrd Lanes for the team’s first home match of the season. The Golden Warriors pulled ahead during the nonconference battle, but Rochelle fought back by claiming the second game by 21 pins and drawing Sterling in the third and final game.
The early hole was too deep for the Hubs to escape, however, as the Golden Warriors rolled past the Hubs 2,837-2,798 and dropped Rochelle to 0-2 overall. Senior Logan Ortega led all varsity bowlers in the match, finishing with a 574 series and a high game of 200. Carter Schlegel recorded 531 with a high game of 205 for the Golden Warriors.
“I’m very pleased with how the boys have started the season,” Lyles said. “Most of the boys didn’t have any equipment, but we have their hands measured and we have some donated bowling balls that we’re plugging and drilling for them.”
Sterling and Rochelle had previously met as Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference rivals, but the two foes were nonconference competitors Thursday evening. The Golden Warriors took the lead with a 931-871 win in the first game behind Schlegel’s 205 and Jordan Glazier’s 182. Ortega paced the Hubs with 179 in the opening round before his 200 helped Rochelle down Sterling 928-907 in the second game.
“Logan’s going to be a very good player,” Lyles said. “He needs a little more ball speed but as far as everything else goes, he’s easily one of the top bowlers in the conference. There aren’t going to be many bowlers better than him.”
Junior Keith Holland stepped up in the final frame for Rochelle, throwing two strikes and recording nine on his last shot to score 188 and help the Hubs tie the third game 999-999. Rochelle trailed by 39 pins, though, meaning the draw resulted in a match victory for the Golden Warriors. Holland finished with Rochelle’s second-highest series of 473.
“A lot of the players have a few bad habits that we’re working on in practice,” Lyles said. “As the meets go on, we’ll be a lot better by midseason when they have equipment that fits and they can get lined up the right way. It’s hard for them right now, and I tell them they’re going to get worse before they get better.”
Rochelle placed 10th out of 14 schools in the 2019 Rockford Christian Lion Open at The Cherry Bowl on Saturday. The Hubs totaled 4,621 pins over six baker games with a high baker score of 862. Junior Keith Holland led Rochelle in the position round with a 571 three-game series while senior Logan Ortega added 564.