FAIRFIELD — The Davis County boys bowling team is starting to receive high praise.
"That's about the most solid line-up we've seen or probably will see this season," Fairfield head coach Chad LaRue said.
Mustang head coach Jason Rook appreciates the praise, but feels his team has yet to reach its maximum potential. Davis County narrowly missed out on cracking 2,800 for the third time this season, winning by 527 pins at Fairfield on Monday afternoon posting a team score of 2,790 in the team's first meet at Flamingo Lanes in nearly two years.
"I'm glad to be back in this house," Rook said. "It is a tough scoring atmosphere. You have to play the lanes the correct way. The boys responded well by playing the angles up front to kill it down lane. That's what I kept trying to tell them. When they caught on, the strikes started coming."
Five in a row to open the second game came to Tristan Thomas, who produced both his best individual game and series on Monday against the Trojans. After getting halfway to his first perfect game, Thomas finished a 226 to reach a personal goal by posting a 400 series score, leading all bowlers with a 406 total.
"It felt good to reach that goal before the end of the season. I didn't even realize it until the second game was over," Thomas said. "My next-highest series score was a 362. I bowled that in Oskaloosa. That's also where I had my highest game. I started getting a little nervous after I rolled my fourth strike. I think I got too nervous and kind of messed up after I left my first pin standing in the sixth. I think that carried over to the next frame. I was a little bit frustrated."
Wyatt McClure added a 198 average for the Davis County boys, rolling the best opening individual game with eight strikes leading to a 224 total. Dalton Drish, who had four straight strikes in the opening game and seven strikes total for Fairfield, finished with a 203 edged out by a single pin for the team's top individual game by Ian Aplara before coming back to lead the Trojans with a 350 series score.
"That was Dalton's best series. Ian Aplara also came up with another 200 game, but struggled a little bit as the shot went away," LaRue said. "Those are things we have to adjust. That's where youth comes into it. It's learning how to adjust to the oil and what happens when the oil starts moving on you."
While the Davis County boys (7-2) were pulling away from the Trojans (2-2), the Fairfield girls (3-1) were clinching a win over the Mustangs (6-3) in the baker rounds after leading by 23 pins through the individual games. Clutch spares throughout the five games, and early strikes in the third baker, allowed Fairfield to open up the lead ultimately winning by 113 pins with a season-best team score of 1,921.
"That was a really big surprise for us," LaRue said. "Elizabeth Hootman is really coming on. I think that was the best she's bowled all year (posting a 269 series). Karen Ehret is our rock. I think she's going to take it to another level."
Ehret would edge Davis County senior Kelsey Rook for the top series in the girls dual, cleaning up a spare on the next-to-last ball in the 10th frame to tie Rook before rolling a tiebreaking strike to wrap up individual play with a 339 total. Ehret not only tried to spark the Trojans with strikes and spares, but encouragement when each Fairfield teammate approached the lane.
"It's important to get that encouragement when you're up there trying to do your best," Ehret said. "I wish our team cheered a little more than we do. I definitely think we've got girls that are gaining confidence and starting to bowl better."
Jaden Burke edged Fairfield teammate Nicole Robb by a single pin during individual play (217-216) while Abigail Ford posted a 97 average for the Trojans. Kodi Pearson rolled a 265 series for the Mustang girls, 12 pins ahead of teammates Hallie Pearson and Hope Brammer, while Skye Miller added a 106.
Noah Hamm posted a 183 average for the Davis County boys while Connor Hanna (164 average), Max McCoy (155) and Wyatt Hull (151) rounded out the scoring for the Mustangs. Chase Johnston (301 series), Colton Adkison (255) and Bihn Thomas (232) rounded out the scoring for the short-handed Fairfield boys, who went into the dual without senior Gannon Scott due to illness.
Both teams will be back in action this week. Davis County makes up a triangular at Keokuk County Bowl in Sigourney on Wednesday afternoon against Washington and Sigourney-Keota while Fairfield hosts Southeast Conference rival Burlington on Thursday.
Both meets start at 2 p.m.