A hurried mistake proved to be just the wake-up call that Chris Vietri needed.
The Holy Trinity senior was afforded a do-over after first throwing the ball down the wrong lane and he made it count with a strike. Then he added five more for a total of seven consecutive strikes on the way to rolling a 247, enough to top St. John the Baptist’s Liam Mahoney for the NYSCHSAA individual championship Saturday at AMF Babylon Lanes. Mahoney bowled a 219 in the finals.
“I’m happy I won it my senior year, it feels great,” said Vietri, who also won the CHSAA individual championship. On his lane mishap, which had left pins standing: “I think that helped me out a lot, actually. I was getting a little fast and I went on the wrong lane. I just calmed myself and went on a run.”
Vietri, who will bowl for St. John’s University next year, was the No. 2 seed after a four-game qualifying round. He won the high game award with a 278 in Game 1 of a 982 series. Mahoney led the field with a 1,006 series and bowled a high game of 269 in the second game.
Kellenberg’s Cole Uganiza (915), Dylan Greenauer (914) of Buffalo Cardinal O’Hara and Chaminade’s Connor Egan (911) rounded out the top five. Egan won two straight games in the ladder-style round before losing to Vietri, who said he never reached the elimination stage in previous years.
Mahoney said he was proud of his performance, save for a few spares against Vietri. He added that he bowled his best ever three-game series of 781. Vietri said the difference between he and Mahoney, a respected opponent, was slim.
“He can throw a lot of strikes, it could be a lot of pressure,” Vietri said. “Both of us struggled the first few frames, but I found my line. I just had to migrate left a little bit.”
Holy Trinity coach Frank Messina said Vietri is the second bowler in program history to win the state individuals. Added Messina: “Being a senior, going out this way, top of the county, top of the state, he couldn’t ask for more.”