Massachusetts bowler rolls 900 series

ARLINGTON, Texas - Hakim Emmanuel of Stoughton, Massachusetts, admitted that his palms were sweaty and his bowling ball felt heavier than ever as he put the finishing touches on the first perfect game of his bowling career Thursday night, but that was nothing compared to the nerves he felt two games later when he found himself on the verge of history with a chance at a third consecutive 300 game and a 900 series.

HakimEmmanuel900at465x262The 38-year-old right-hander coolly delivered his 36th consecutive strike during the Thursday Night Patriots Doubles league at Westgate Lanes in Brockton, Massachusetts, making him the 26th bowler in history, and first in the Bay State, to record a perfect series. The achievement is pending approval from the United States Bowling Congress and would be the 27th USBC-approved 900.

"I've gotten close before, but I've never gotten that elusive 300," said Emmanuel, whose previous high game in USBC-certified competition was 290 on two occasions. "The first one last night was one of those moments I'll never forget. After that, I just told myself to stay in the game and stay focused."

What happened next stopped everything at the 62-lane (50 tenpin and 12 candlepin) center, and all of the 32-team doubles league rallied behind Emmanuel to watch him claim his spot in the Massachusetts and USBC record books.

Not only had perfection eluded Emmanuel, who has been bowling competitively since he was 15, but he also hadn't eclipsed the 800 mark in a three-game series.

"Toward the end of the second 300, in the back of my mind, I was wondering if it was real and if I could do it again," said Emmanuel, who entered the night with a 217 average for 25 weeks in the league. "People stopped bowling as I entered the 10th frame of the last game, and I just reminded myself that I'd made it that far, so throw another good shot and see what happens."

Emmanuel has improved nearly 20 pins in average since last season and attributes that to the help and pro shop guidance of amateur standout Alex Aguiar and the staff at Strike F/X Pro Shops as well as countless hours watching the sport's top bowlers on various live-streaming outlets.

"I've always stayed in the game and always wanted to excel," Emmanuel said. "This is a feeling that's incredible and something I may never feel again. It was so surreal, and I had to pinch myself to believe it was true. I'm still speechless."

The first USBC-approved 900 occurred Feb. 2, 1997 when Jeremy Sonnenfeld rolled three consecutive perfect games in Lincoln, Neb. There never has been a Sport-certified 900 series.

USBC-Approved 900 Series (27)
Jeremy Sonnenfeld (R), Lincoln, Neb., Feb. 2, 1997
Tony Roventini (L), Greenfield, Wis., Nov. 9, 1998
Vince Wood (R), Moreno Valley, Calif., Sept, 29, 1999
Robby Portalatin (L), Jackson, Mich., Dec. 28, 2000
James Hylton (R), Salem, Ore., May 2, 2001
Jeff Campbell II (R), New Castle, Pa., June 12, 2004
Darin Pomije (R), New Prague, Minn., Dec. 9, 2004
Robert Mushtare (R), Fort Drum, N.Y., Dec. 5, 2005 and Feb. 19, 2006
Lonnie Billiter Jr. (R), Fairfield, Ohio, Feb. 13, 2006
Mark Wukoman (R), Greenfield, Wis., April 22, 2006
P.J. Giesfeldt (R), Milwaukee, Dec. 23, 2006
Rich Jerome Jr. (R), Baltimore, Dec. 22, 2008
Chris Aker (L), Winnemucca, Nev., Oct. 30, 2009
Andrew Teall (R), Medford, N.J., Nov. 2, 2009
Andrew Mank (R), Bellevue Ill., March 18, 2010
William Howell III (L), Middletown, N.Y., Oct. 21, 2010
Matt Latarski (R), Medina, Ohio, Nov. 28, 2010
Bob Kammer Jr. (R), Crown Point, Ind., Jan. 8, 2011
John Martorella Sr. (R), Greece, N.Y., April 12, 2012
Jimmy Schmitzer (R), Riverside, Calif., April 20, 2012
James Williams (R), Pawcatuck, Conn., (bowled in Wakefield, R.I.), April 16, 2013
Joe Scarborough (R), Charlotte, N.C., (bowled in The Villages, Fla.), April 21, 2013
Todd James (R), East New Market, Md., (bowled in Laurel, Del.), March 18, 2014
Amos Gordon (R), Colorado Springs, Colo., April 11, 2014
Earon Vollmar (R), Toledo, Ohio, Jan. 19, 2015
Hakim Emmanuel (R), Stoughton, Mass., Feb. 19, 2015**

** Pending formal approval by the United States Bowling Congress.

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