Pennridge downed by North Penn
All eyes were on Jake Gordon and Steven Gerhart, the top two male bowlers, at least based on average, in the Suburban One League (SOL) American/Continental Conference.
Pennridge’s Gordon, who was averaging 212.33 in nine conference contests, and North Penn’s Gerhart (205.33, also in nine matches) stood toe to toe with each other on Monday afternoon at Earl-Bowl Lanes in Earlington, as the Rams and Knights battled for first place in the SOL American/Continental.
Gordon, a senior, finished with a three-game total of 671, including a 233 in the first game, but Gerhart was a little bit better, walking away with a 268 in the first game en route to a three-game total of 702. The Knights’ Tyler Sharpe wasn’t too shabby, either. Sharpe bowled a 678 total, and North Penn went 3-1 to maintain its grip on the SOL American/Continental with a mark of 15-1. The Rams, meanwhile, fell to 12-4.
Pennridge won the first game, 1,074-1,002, but North Penn took games two (993-954) and three (1,012-865) and accumulated the highest total (3,007-2,893) to take all but one victory. For the Rams, senior Joe Firuta (625) was second behind Gordon. Mike Pine (571), Ben Anderson (527) and Vince Kauders (499) rounded out the Rams’ five.
“He’s really worked on his game,” Pennridge head coach Brian Laiacona said of Firuta, whose 246 in game two Monday was the Rams’ top round of the afternoon. “He’s doing real well and he’s helping us stay in the mix here.”
Pine entered the week in third place with a 202.56 average in conference action.
“I would really like to see Mike and Jake be in the top five of our conference this season,” Laiacona said. “I think they’re very capable of doing it. And one of the others could sneak in, too: Vinny, Joe, I have a couple talented freshmen.”
Laiacona feels his boys’ program is in good hands for the future, as well, with sophomores Brian Yeung and Anderson, among others.
“I have a lot of depth,” he said. “We have a lot of talent.”
The Pennridge girls were swept Monday by North Penn to slip to 6-10 in conference play. The Maidens improved to 11-5.
North Penn ended with a three-game total of 2,375; Pennridge was at 2,103. The Maidens took 701-650, 755-728 and 919-725 game scores. Not unexpectedly, Rams senior Jenn Stevens topped all competitors with a total of 596 (205, 207, 184). North Penn’s Rebecca Murray was close behind with a 569.
“Jenn is trying to become the first three-time Suburban One champion,” Laiacona said. “She’s won it back-to-back years now and she’s probably, by far, the best bowler in our conference. She’s also trying to get to states for the third consecutive year. That’s definitely a big goal of hers.”
Stevens entered the week with a solid 203.78 average in the American/Continental. She was joined in the top 10 by junior teammate Kara Wireman (161.33).
“She definitely has the potential to finish in the top 12 and qualify for regionals,” Laiacona said of Wireman, who contributed a three-game total of 476 against North Penn. “She’s been pretty consistent as of late. She’s starting to pick up her average, so she has a good opportunity ahead of her.”
Emily Kircher (453), Allison Wilms (322) and Devon Woosnam (256) also saw action in the Rams’ 4-0 setback on Jan. 6.
“We have to replace Jenn next year, so we’re trying to find a couple people,” Laiacona said.
That’s easier said than done with all that Stevens has accomplished.
“She’s, by far, one of the best bowlers on this side of the state,” Laiacona said. “She’s actually seeking to bowl in college, too, and she should have that opportunity ahead of her.”
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