NORTH BRUNSWICK — For the Sayreville High School boys bowling team, the 37th Annual Joe Romer Memorial Baker Shootout was a breeze. The Bombers qualified first for the eight-team final round and then rolled through Monroe, J.F. Kennedy and Colonia to capture the title in what head coach Michael Weinert called their best performance of the season.
“This was our best showing of the year,” Weinert said. “We talked when we came in today how we are what we are right now; other than fine-tuning there aren’t going to be a lot of things to change between now and the postseason, so we just have to take what we’ve got and go out and assert ourselves as the best team in the state. I believe we are the best team in the state. I think we showed a little bit of that today.”
The Bombers knocked off Colonia 446-390 in the final round, using a 256-191 victory in the first of the two games to create a bit of breathing room. The quintet of AJ Angotti Mike Bernstein, Jay Ciszewski, Michael Danchisko and Kevin Nettler made it look easy in the Baker-style tournament, where the bowlers go in a batting order format, and thus only get two frames per game instead of a normal 10.
“I don’t really see that there’s any bit of a difference between a regular tournament and the Baker-type of tournament like this was,” Bernstein said. “You just need to buckle down and make spares like it’s a normal tournament. With my teammates having my back, it’s so easy to go out there and make good shots.”
On the girls side, South Brunswick fought through a slow start to emerge victorious, besting Woodbridge 434-395 in the final two games. The Vikings, which qualified fifth, disposed of Edison and Cardinal McCarrick in the two matches leading up to the finals, and found their groove at the right time on the afternoon.
“Throughout the 12 qualifying games, we didn’t get into as much of a rhythm as we usually do, but it really kicked in for us in the final couple of games,” South Brunswick head coach Tara Burniston said. “In the final matchup, we were down by 40-something pins going into the final game, and we have such a young team and it’s kind of hard to get them to pull together, but I told them they had to come out and bowl one great game and we’ll see what happens.”
The Vikings had their work cut out for them heading into the final game, with Woodbridge having won Game 1 220-179 and the champion being awarded by total wood in the two games. South Brunswick responded with their best game of the day, opening with five straight strikes en route to a 255-175 rout. They only missed one spare in the game and finished with nine strikes out of a possible 12.
“The girls knew what they had to do there in the final game to make up the differential,” Burniston said. “They’re so coachable and they make my job easier and they went frame-by-frame and kept supporting each other and it was the best energy we’d had all day.”