Seaford’s Matthew Mele had a total pinfall of 1,346 at...

Seaford’s Matthew Mele had a total pinfall of 1,346 at state boys bowling championships on Friday, March 8, 2024. Credit: /Kayla Bartkowski

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Seaford’s Matthew Mele isn’t the biggest talker. He may not be the first to tell you that, but frankly, he doesn’t need to since his bowling can leave people speechless.

Mele finished with the second-most pin total through six games of the state Division II boys bowling championship with 1,346 at Strike 'N Spare Lanes, only behind West Seneca East’s Jacob Racsumberger. Seaford finished sixth out of nine teams with a total of 5,841.

“I tune out all the screaming and stuff, so it doesn’t really get to me,” Mele said. “I think that’s probably what made me do better, because it can get to others.”

After starting strong with a high game of 236 in Game 1, the junior saved some of his best for last. He scored a 230 in Game 5 before bowling a remarkable 10 strikes in Game 6 — three in the final frame — to finish with a 257 high game, tying teammate Andrew Ceraulo’s high game of 257 in Game 3 for Seaford.

“Those are two young kids, (Mele is) a junior and (Ceraulo is) a 10th grader,” coach Scott Nastazio said. “They’re getting better.”

Ceraulo finished 10th among the 57 participants who bowled at least one frame, and also bowled a 254 in Game 1.

“At that point, we were doing so well,” Ceraulo said. “I wasn’t even thinking of my bowling.”

Seaford had sat in second place after the first three games before being paired in the lanes with a West Seneca East squad that won the state championship the year before and did so again in 2024. Coach Scott Nastazio attributed the weaker second half of games to the dominance a lane over — West Seneca East bowled an 1,129 and Seaford bowled an 814 in Game 4 after the break.

“When you bowl against a team that’s (almost broke) a state record, being next to them is overpowering,” Nastazio said. “To try and compete with them makes us a little off their mark . . . We just need to bowl six games, not five.”

Seaford finished in seventh place last year and stayed competitive throughout Friday afternoon. Both Ceraulo and Nastazio described Game 4 as a back-breaker, which certainly stood as an outlier amid an otherwise solid performance.

There are no senior Seaford bowlers, which means this team will get the chance to return next year. That’s something Mele said he knows this group is capable of, and he now has 2024 to use as a game plan to get to the next level.

“Just practice, honestly,” Mele said. “Obviously everyone comes here to win. So more practice (will help) us be more consistent.”

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