Mustang bowlers win thriller at Sigourney

Davis County head bowling coach Jason Rook instructs the Mustang boys between baker games on Wednesday at Keokuk County Bowl in Sigourney.

SIGOURNEY — All that was missing at times on Wednesday afternoon for Jason Rook was a clipboard and marker.

Both of which, by the way, the head coach of the Davis County bowling team had with him. Rook didn't need to draw up plays or design intricate game plans for the Mustang boys to execute during a thrilling dual with Washington at Keokuk County Bowl in Sigourney.

The message was pretty clear. Close frames and close out another battle to the finish.

Five strikes in the fifth and final baker game and clutch spare picked up by Wyatt McClure lifted Davis County to what proved to be a 32-pin win over the Demons, one of two wins for the Mustangs along with a 269-pin victory over meet host Sigourney-Keota. The thrilling battle with Washington was dead even with nine frames left as the teams were dead even through a dozen individual games, four baker games and one frame of the fifth baker round with identical team scores of 2,285.

From there, Washington actually built up a 32-pin lead of their own in the final baker game with consecutive strikes in the second and third frames. Wyatt Hull, Noah Hamm and Connor Hanna responded with three straight strikes for Davis County cutting the Demon lead to three pins with five frames left.

"I think the boys put me to the test today," Rook said. "The guys were leaving pins up during individual play. They were having slide issues, so it got to be a mental thing. They weren't able to execute quality shots. There were a lot of gutterballs in the individual games. The guys came together to execute and finish in bakers."

Ultimately, Davis County's second dramatic win in the past two weeks against a Southeast Conference opponent was secured by Noah Hamm who was able to finally collect a clutch strike to open the 10th and final frame. By that point, three straight open frames had left Washington too far back to challenge the Mustangs.

"It was really a team effort for sure," Hamm said. "It just came down to executing one shot at a time. I knew exactly what was going on this time. It was a tight match."

Hamm was no stranger to coming through in the clutch, having rolled a 27 in the final frame of a two-pin win over Burlington just nine days earlier at Champion Bowl. In that situation, Hamm admitted he wasn't sure exactly how close the dual was going into that final frame.

On Wednesday, Hamm was fully aware of the score as he approached the lane for the final time. While admitting nine days ago that being unaware of the score helped him execute, the performance of his teammates helped take the pressure off Hamm going into the final frame.

"As long as everyone does well leading up to that final frame, I'm good with it," Hamm said. "I knew that it helped give us a working margin seeing (Washington) struggle late with open frames."

While strikes were part of Davis County's winning total of 2,454 on Wednesday, finishing off spares proved to be the biggest difference in coming out on top against Washington. Never was that more evident than the fourth baker game, which started with four straight strikes by the Mustangs (10-2) opening a 65-pin lead over the Demons.

Those four strikes, however, were negated by three straight frames to close the game with the Mustangs leaving pins standing. Washington was able to rally back, turning the 65-pin deficit into an 11-pin lead thanks to those openings left by the Davis County bowlers.

"We can't have that," Rook said. "If you can't cover spares, the strikes don't mean anything. That was our lowest set of the year in what I thought should have been a higher-scoring day for us."

Ethan Zieglowsky gave Washington (4-7) a 45-pin lead going into the baker rounds, rolling a meet-leading 437 series for the Demons. Hamm led the Mustangs during individual play with a 357 series while Tristan Thomas averaged 167 in two games to help Davis County overcome their struggles to stay within striking distance of Washington.

The Davis County girls (7-3) were able to complete a sweep of the dual, beating Sigourney-Keota by 307 pins with a final team score of 1,954. Kelsey Rook averaged 152 to lead the Mustangs while Hope Brammer added a 138 average.

Sam Bombei led the S-K girls (1-6) with a 122 average at Keokuk County Bowl. Landyn Greiner posted a 327 series score for the Cobra boys (3-4) while Ty Krueger posted a 305 series, including a 200 second game.

Both Davis County and S-K are next scheduled to bowl at Pella. The Cobras will make the trip, weather permitting, on Saturday afternoon while Davis County will travel to Dutch Bowl on Tuesday.

— Scott Jackson can be reached at sjackson@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.

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