Jim Rommel and Lisa McKenney captured the boys and girls titles of the fourth annual Baltimore-Washington Youth Duckpin Invitational yesterday in front of a boisterous, noisy crowd at Fair Lanes Prince George's Plaza in Hyattsville.
For Rommel, 18, of Essex, the victory by two pins in the two-game total pinfall final was a surprise after he lost the first game, 150-142, and bowled unspectacularly in the second game. His opponent, Dale Dietsch of Wheaton, suffered every woe that can befall a duckpin bowler in the second game.
Dietsch was happy, however, that his father, Jim Dietsch, seven times the nation's No. 1 duckpin bowler, wasn't present to see his collapse. Dietsch, though launching cannon shots that splattered the plastic pins in all directions, was unable to pick up any marks in the first eight frames in the crucial final game.
"I don't know what was wrong," said Dietsch, who bowls out of White Oak. "I guess I couldn't bring the ball up, I wasn't following through."
Rommel won the second, 119-109, not a spectacular game by his standards. "But I'm satisfied," he said. "I bowled 19 games over 135 to reach the final. Whoever is not satisfied with that is a fool."
McKenney's feat was far more spectacular. She had to rally from 16 pins back in the final game to beat Baltimore's best, 17-year-old Denise Combs of Catonsville.
Rolling what she calls a "medium ball," which is slow-motion campared to Rommel's and Dietsch's bullets, McKenney beat Combs, 150-125, in the second game for the title. "I didn't think I could catch her after the first game," said McKenney, 15. "I was just going to bowl my best and see what happened."
After bowling a 107 in the first game, McKenney, of New Carrollton, hit back-to-back strikes in the second and third frame of the second. Her ball seemed to nudge, almost persuade the pins to fall. McKenney walked away with her first tournament victory.