ESM’s Piston leads state girls bowling field

Spartans star shots six 200-plus games

— Of all the individuals gathered last Sunday at Strike-N-Spare Lanes for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association girls bowling tournament, East Syracuse-Minoa’s Beth Piston fared the best.

It was Piston, with a steady, high-quality effort through six games of competition, emerging as the champion, and she nearly led her Section III All-Star team to the top spot, too.

All of it started in the morning with Piston, joined by Fayetteville-Manlius star Tricia Miller, plus an All-Star team that included Danielle Feocco (Auburn), Emily Porter (Whitesboro), Annie Peterson (Baldwinsville) and Mandi LaClair (Sherburne-Earlville).

Strong at the start, Piston began with a 221 game, and then turned it up more in the second game with a 256, her best total of the entire day. A third game of 205 left her with a morning series of 683.

Just as importantly, it helped Section III to a pinfall of 3,351 in the morning, which was good for a 101-pin lead over Section VI (Western New York) midway through the tournament. Section V, with 3,176, stood in third place.

But as Piston put together a 248 in her fourth game, the rest of the Section III side tailed off, managing just 991, while Section V got 1,143 and roared into a 51-pin lead.

And there it would generally stay for the rest of the tournament. Section III had scores of 1,074 and 1,092 in the last two games, but Section VI, with games of 1,072 and 1,097, matched it, so with a total of 6,508, Section III finished 54 pins out of the top spot.

Now the only question was whether Piston would hang on to the top spot. She would, ignoring possible fatigue and stringing together more strikes in games of 245 and 237.

All told, Piston had a pinfall of 1,412, an average of 235.33. That put her ahead of a field where Feocco, fueled by early games of 265 and 269, finished sixth (1,316) and Porter (1,271) was 10th.

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