After waiting an extra month to start the season, Christian Finnegan had only one thought as he strode toward the lane in the 10th frame on Wednesday.
"Don’t mess up."
He most certainly did not, finishing off the frame with his fourth consecutive strike to lead St. Dominic over St. John the Baptist, 6-3, in CHSAA boys bowling at Syosset Lanes.
"We’ve gone up against them in the playoffs before but we haven’t been able to beat them," Finnegan said. "It feels really good to get an early season win."
Finnegan’s 236 in the final game was a part of a 596 series. He also rolled a 201 in game two.
"That 236 and final frames won the third game for us, the wood for those lanes and the total wood," St. Dominic coach Mike Gordek said. "Those final shots won us three points - that’s how big it was."
The match had a little bit of a different feel with plexiglass partitions between lanes and masks among coaches and bowlers. But there was no understating the importance of the match for St. Dominic, which had lost to St. John the Baptist in the CHSAA semifinals the last two years.
"On our first day out we came out and showed them that we’ll be back again this year," Gordek said. It was huge."
Nick DiScala had a high game of 204 as part of a 582 series to lead St. John the Baptist.
"It feels good just to be able to be out here again, nonetheless win," Finnegan added. "At the beginning of the fall when sports were getting postponed I didn’t think we’d get the chance."
The girls team also picked up a big win over St. John the Baptist by a score of 7-2.
"It was really important for us to get this win early so our playoff seeding is better," Sabrina Colon said. "In the playoffs those matchups are so important."
Colon had a 153 in the third game to lead St. Dominic. She was also a key member of last season’s team that reached the Nassau semifinals.
"I’m just really excited to be back out here because we’re one of the few winter sports that are happening," Colon said.
Rhiannon Dugre led St. John the Baptist with a 236 in the first game of a 527 series.
Ralph Dalton, the St. John the Baptist athletic director and president of the boys Rockville Centre Diocese, was also glad to see student-athletes getting back to a bit of normalcy.
"It was a great match and it was fun to see the kids back out here," Dalton said. "We’re going to do the best we can to keep the kids safe and keep them active."