East Islip boys bowling team member Bobby Martin during the...

East Islip boys bowling team member Bobby Martin during the Suffolk High School boys and girls bowling championships. (Feb. 5, 2011) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

With annual expectations of success, East Islip likens itself to the Yankees of high school boys bowling.

"That carries a big burden because when you don't win, the first question is 'What happened?' " East Islip coach Rick Papandrea said. "But when you win it's, 'All right, you won. Great, but you were supposed to.' But I love this feeling. I love winning. I don't know if I hate losing more, but it's really close."

East Islip's success is purely homegrown, developed as early as fifth or sixth grade. The team's skill level was on display Saturday in the boys Suffolk championship at Sayville Lanes as the Redmen took first with a total pinfall of 6,580.

"It's a great feeling," East Islip senior Bobby Martin said. "It hasn't completely absorbed yet but it's going to settle in soon and it's going to be great going to states again."

Martin rolled a 270 in Game 2 and had a six-game average of 224.2. Jacob Klein had a 220 average, Joe Griffin 217.8, Eddy Tuskan 217.3 and Joey Fischer 210.2. Kevin Bouza bowled the final two games, 249 and 214.

"We practice a lot but I really think it's our depth," Tuskan said when asked what makes East Islip so dominant. "Kevin Bouza, I'm going to call him the team MVP today. He came off the bench and cleaned up all our messes. He was great today."

East Islip held off a late run by Smithtown (6,390) and Gregg Reed, who took a perfect game into the 10th frame in the final game. Longwood (6,196) took third behind Michael Karolewski, who tied with Smithtown's James Masone for a tournament-best average of 238.

After an undefeated season, 47 straight matches won, a league championship, a division championship, and now a county championship, East Islip says its mission isn't accomplished until it ends with a state title. How do they plan on getting it?

"Bowl well, make some spares, which I plan on doing, and I'll go right on the record and say we're bringing home a championship," Papandrea said. "That's it, we're bringing it home to Long Island."

Spoken like a true Steinbrenner.

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