Alex Martinez of St. John the Baptist holds her trophy at the...

Alex Martinez of St. John the Baptist holds her trophy at the CHSAA boys and girls state bowling championship on Saturday at AMF Babylon Lanes. Credit: Neil Miller

Alex Martinez is still pinching herself.

The St. John the Baptist junior won the inaugural CHSAA state girls bowling championship on Saturday at AMF Babylon Lanes. She had to win a total of nine matches to secure the title, and defeated Kellenberg’s Kerri Callahan in the championship match, 186-172.

“I still can’t believe it, it’s surreal,” she said. “I knew I could bowl six games rapid fire, but I didn’t think I had nine in me. And too much adrenaline can be the bane of my existence. I had to keep that under lock and key and stay calm to keep me in it to win it.”

Martinez did it the hard way. She was one of 24 qualifiers that needed to finish in the top five to advance to the finals. Each qualifier bowled five games with the top five averages advancing to the elimination rounds. Martinez averaged 179 to grab the fifth seed and was forced to climb the playoff ladder through the fourth, third and second seeds to reach the championship.

“I had one bad game and it cost me the two seed,” she said. “So, I had to win four playoff matchups to win the title.”

The steep climb did not seem to bother the state champion, who has only bowled for a little more than two years.

“It hasn’t sunken in fully,” she said. “I’m the first girls state champion and it’s pretty amazing.”

Martinez was awarded a plaque and a new bowling ball. In fact, all five playoff qualifiers received a new ball.

“We’re all so proud of her,” said her father Tony Martinez. “She did a great job.”

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