Joseph Zagari views bowling through a different lens.
It’s what led him to become a five-time county champion.
"It isn’t just a little high school sport. This is my life right here. This is what I want my profession to be," Zagari said. "I love being on these approaches, love being on these lanes. Throwing the ball puts me in a whole different world."
Zagari rolled a 279 in Game 6 of a 1,462 series to propel East Islip to its fifth consecutive Suffolk boys bowling team championship Sunday at Bowlero Sayville.
East Islip finished first with 6,231 total pins, Smithtown was second (6,142) and Comsewogue placed third (5,974). EI’s Shawn Watts had a 246 in Game 1, Sebastian Gebhard added a 245 in Game 5 and seventh-grader Matthew Sundberg rolled 239 in Game 5.
"I always wanted to go out on top, especially for the people who came before me," said Zagari, a senior who led Long Island with a 231.43 average. "They helped get me championships, so now I had to return the favor."
"We wanted to keep the streak going," said Dylan Sgueglia, who bowled a 234 in Game 1 and a 225 in the final game of his high school career. "We FaceTimed with some of the former bowlers right after, and they were pumped up for us. It’s truly an honor."
East Islip sat in third place after Game 3, trailing Smithtown by 92 pins. The Bulls’ lead dwindled to just 12 after Game 4. By the start of Game 6, East Islip owned a 42-pin, first-place advantage.
"Mentally, I have a lot of knowledge in this sport, I’ve been around it since I was 2 or 3 years old," Zagari said. "My dad has been around it for a long time and taught me everything I know. I try to spread my knowledge to my teammates, so when it comes their time, they know what to do."
So now the question: What’s next for Zagari?
"I would like to get into the college bowling atmosphere. Individual bowling is fun, but team bowling is just a different type of atmosphere," Zagari said. "It’s not just about you, it’s about the four other guys behind you. When you start building a bond with them, you can really do some great things."