Companion team members roll 300s at OC

RENO, Nev. -
Perfect games have come in bunches a few times during the 2013 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, but Miguel Lopez of Wichita, Kan., and Ben Laughlin of Chandler, Ariz., gave that new meaning Friday night as they shot 300 on the same pair of lanes at the National Bowling Stadium.

Lopez, a 23-year-old right-hander, was the first to accomplish the feat as he rolled 12 consecutive strikes in the second game of the late team event. Laughlin, a 42-year-old right-hander, followed suit a game later, giving them the 32nd and 33rd perfect games of the 2013 event, respectively.

Lopez added games of 212 and 220 for a 732 series and helped Phoenix Phantoms 2 of Phoenix into 10th place in Regular Team with a 3,440 total, the record 19th team score above 3,400 this year. Laughlin started with games of 183 and 222 before making his run at perfection for a 705 set, and he helped Phoenix Phantoms 1 to a 3,306 effort. Lodge Lanes Too of Orlando, Fla., leads Regular Team with a record score of 3,538.

Friday's excitement marks the seventh time during the 2013 USBC Open Championships that multiple 300s were thrown on the same day, but the first with the bowlers competing on the same pair of lanes. The two teams came in with a game plan of staying right and using less surface to create space on the lane.

"Our game plan today was to try and stay right as long as we could, so we wouldn't create an over-under reaction, which we've done in the past," said Laughlin, who made his 18th Open Championships appearance. "A little bit less surface seemed to work pretty well, and our 10 guys really executed well to get a 3,400, while we climbed back to get a 3,300. I'm pretty happy with our team results today."

LopezMiguel2013LARGELopez, who recently graduated from Wichita State University, relied on the experience he gained during his four years in the Shocker bowler program.

"It has helped me out tremendously," said Lopez, who made his fourth Open Championships appearance. "I've learned a lot about team play, lane play and mental focus, so I can be ready for anything. Walking in today, I didn't think I had a chance to shoot 300, but I was ready for the moment, and that helped out. I can't really describe how it feels. The whole time, I just kept telling myself to make a great shot. It's a pretty cool feeling."

LaughlinBen2013LARGEFor Laughlin, who previously was an exempt player on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour, the chance to add his name to the record books at the NBS made for a special moment after past struggles at the 78-lane venue.

"I was relieved that it fell," said Laughlin, who owns 12 PBA regional titles. "I've bowled a lot here due to being a member of the PBA West Region, and I haven't had a lot of success. So, this one game has relieved me of a lot of heartbreak over the years. It feels good."

With both games in the books, it was most important for both Lopez and Laughlin to be able to share the moment with their teammates.

PhoenixPhantoms22013LARGE"It's awesome because it's not just 10 guys that are players," Lopez said. "We're also 10 good friends. It's nice that we can share something so special together."

Lopez was joined on Phoenix Phantoms 2 by Mathew Jones (733), Matthew Villegas (679), Kevin Bochenski (649) and Dominic Corirossi III (647).

Craig Spencer of Tempe, Ariz., led the way for Phoenix Phantoms 1 by striking on 22 of his last 24 deliveries for a 743 set and was joined by Laughlin, Carey Hofmann (648), Steve Roberts (613) and David Archer (597).

The pins also were falling in record numbers at the Storm Bowlers Journal Championships presented by USBC and 900 Global Two-Game Challenge, both being held inside the National Bowling Stadium.

Former Team USA member Vernon Peterson of Winter Haven, Fla., rolled games of 236, 300 and 227 for a 763 set while bowling doubles Thursday night at the Bowlers Journal Championships, which is being held on lanes 69-78 at the NBS. Peterson also is a member of team-leading Lodge Lanes Too.

Allan Rice II of Phenix City, Ala., rolled games of 279 and 300 for a 579 series Friday at the Two-Game Challenge to take the lead in the yearlong standings for the Eagle Division (for bowlers with averages of 200 and above). The Two-Game Challenge, as well as the Who's Got the Look Baker Bonanza presented by 900 Global, is being contested on the new 900 Global Showcase Lanes on the ground floor of the Stadium.

Presenting sponsors for the 2013 USBC Open Championships include Circus Circus Reno, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno.