With five bowlers already solidified in the starting lineup for the Sachem boys bowling team, Hunter Levine hadn’t received much of an opportunity to compete so far this season. His chances of earning a spot on the Suffolk All-Star state tournament team looked slim.
If he wanted to be an All-Star, there was only one way to do it, and that was to win Wednesday's Suffolk Singles/Doubles Tournament at Bowlero in Sayville. The winner of the singles event received an automatic spot on the state tournament team.
The Sachem East junior competed against over 100 bowlers and threw a total of five games to win the event, defeating Connetquot’s Joe Esposito, 234-224, in the final round.
“I was a little nervous, but I just tried to keep as calm as possible and keep my shot straight,” Levine said. “It means a lot to me to win, especially since there were so many strong bowlers there.”
“Every bowler in that tournament wants to win, because they know it earns them a spot on the All-Star team,” Sachem boys bowling coach Brian Weinstein said. “To go out and beat out every top bowler in Suffolk was remarkable.”
Before Wednesday, Levine had thrown just five games all season and averaged a 174.6. He rolled a 226 in the semifinals, besting his teammate Justin DiMaggio, who bowled a 202.
“I hope I can continue to get better in practice and perform well on the All-Star team,” Levine said. “I really didn’t expect I would have done this well in the tournament, but even if I didn’t win, I still would have felt good about myself.”
In the doubles competition, Timothy Smith and Ryan Murphy of West Islip beat Dan Chiello and Michael Capece of Sachem, 422-414, in the finals.
“I went there thinking we would put up a decent fight, but I didn’t really think we were going to win,” Murphy said. “The way we performed exceeded my expectations.”
Murphy only began bowling competitively after the end of last season, while Smith has been bowling for the last three years. Despite only being a freshman, Smith doesn’t hesitate to help his teammate improve his skills.
“[Ryan] always asks me to watch his shot and where to move on the lanes,” Smith said. “I try and give him pointers anyway that I can.”