From a 298 game to a 660 series, Freeport bowlers put up big numbers to start season

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Friday, December 13, 2019 | 6:12 PM


Mark Livingston came close to perfection in his first game of the high school bowling season.

The Freeport junior had thrown 11 straight strikes to begin the game Dec. 4 and needed just one more for a 300.

But on his last attempt, he left two pins standing, and had to settle for a 298.

“I just had to take it for what it was and move on,” said Livingston, who has helped the Freeport boys squad to a 3-0 record on the season. “As soon as I threw (the final ball), I knew it wasn’t going to be a strike. I could feel it. But those things happen. It still was a good game and a good series, and we won the match.”

Livingston added a 191 and a 242 for a 731 series in the victory over Apollo-Ridge at Wildlife Lanes in Lower Burrell. Both Freeport and Apollo-Ridge, as well as St. Joseph, call Wildlife home in the Northeast Division.

Livingston owns a 222.4 average through nine games, the top average in the Northeast Division and a top-10 average in the entire WPIBL.

“I am feeling really comfortable with my game right now and how I am rolling the ball, especially here at Wildlife,” he said. “But you never know on those away matches. They can be a challenge.”

Livingston is concentrating on his personal average and team goals — he hopes he can help lead the Yellowjackets to the WPIBL team playoffs for the first time in the third year of the program — and he also has his eyes set on February and the potential for a return trip to the WPIBL singles tournament and beyond.

He admitted that he didn’t perform the way he had hoped at last year’s WPIBL finals — he took 23rd overall at Wildlife — or at the Western Regional a week later.

“I really used that as motivation for this season,” said Livingston, who placed seventh at the WPIBL singles tournament as a freshman.

Livingston rolled games of 209, 191 and 191 for a 591 series Wednesday in a 5-2 win against two-time defending WPIBL team champion and new section foe Franklin Regional, a squad anchored by 2019 WPIBL singles semifinalist Alex Smith.

Senior Seth Change fronted the Freeport effort with a 622 series, including a high game of 234, while Issaic Spencer added a 586 with games of 209 and 206.

“That was a great team win,” Livingston said. “We’re off to a good start, but we’ll see what happens over the next couple of weeks. We expect a lot of competitive matches.”

The Yellowjackets will meet Kiski Area on Wednesday at Deer Lakes Bowl, and the Freeport girls hope to stay undefeated after Wednesday’s 5-2 win over Franklin Regional also lifted their record to 3-0.

The match was close as Freeport and FR were separated by just 26 pins after the three team games.

Yellowjackets freshman Julia Cummings leads the way in the Northeast Division with an average of 201.9 through nine games bowled.

She rolled a 243 in the third game of the season-opening victory against Apollo-Ridge and completed a 660 series with games of 204 and 212.

“I am happy with the way I am bowling right now and how I am able to help my team,” Cummings said. “There’s a little pressure being a freshman, but I try not to think about it and just go out and bowl the best I can. I started (the season) feeling confident.”

Cummings had a 513 series against Franklin Regional, and junior Amber Cepec was right there with a 503 series.

“I think we can keep this going and be right there for a playoff spot,” Cummings said.

The Freeport girls also are in their third season of competition and are hoping to make the WPIBL team playoffs for the first time. The top two teams from each boys and girls section qualify.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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