RULING ALL-CATHOLICS — St. Francis’ All-Catholics’ championship bowling team included, from left, coach Jason Cretacci, Kyle Wells, Christian Prechtl, David Kroll, Steven Wong, Manny Williams and Sam Petkovsky. Photo by Johnathan Snyder
Saint Francis learned to love the lanes this past Thursday, Feb. 6, and rolled their way to the 2013 – 2014 All-Catholic Championship with a dominating performance at Thruway Lanes.
The unique tournament format, which makes teams throw one game of individual bowling and then six games of Baker style, proved to work to the Red Raiders’ advantage from the beginning. They threw an individual total of 1054 and followed that with a six-game Baker total of 1375, 84 pins more than the next closest competitor, St. Joe’s.
“I’m really happy for these guys,” said head coach Jason Cretacci. “They earned this one. They bowled really, really well today.”
Baker style is set up with five bowlers from each team alternating in frames one through five, and then repeating for the remaining five frames. Their first three Baker games of 247, 245, and 247 gave them a sizable lead with just three games to go and they never let their foot off the gas pedal. The six-man team combined to average 229 in the Baker style and run away from the rest of the Monsignor Martin division.
“It means a lot to us,” said junior bowler Manny Williams. “Even though we didn’t win the [regular season] championship, we won All-Catholics, which is just great, and we’re just ecstatic to win this.”
After a slow first half to the season, St. Francis finished with a regular season record of 30 – 12, two games behind first-place St. Joe’s, which made a run down the stretch in the final Baker games. A final game 234 from St. Francis put an end to any chance the Marauders had to take the trophy.
“We did, I thought, quite well,” said St. Joe’s head coach Al Simmons.
“[St. Francis] was just absolutely on fire. It was unbelievable. We gave them a battle and that’s all I could ask for.”
The Red Raiders are a team consisting of all four classes, with two seniors, a junior, a sophomore and two freshman. David Kroll and Christian Prechtl were named Second team All-Catholic with averages of 197 and 195, respectively. Both Kroll and Steve Wong will leave the team, and school, as All-Catholic champions, an honor of which they’re proud. Kroll was also named All-Catholics Most Valuable Player.
“It’s good to bring [a championship] back to the school,” said Kroll. “It was a team effort. Definitely, Baker is super hard usually. To average 230, is incredible for us.”
Cretacci also got big contributions from his two freshmen, Kyle Wells and Sam Petkovsky, who stepped into big roles in big times throughout the season. Wells and Petkovsky were handed the task of filling the fifth spot on the varsity team this season, and as a collective effort, they did just that.
“I was very lucky that I was able to compliment that last spot with two freshman who were able to play off of one another,” Cretacci said. “When one was strong, and he started to get a little weak, I knew I could always depend on the other one to come in.”
Cretacci said he learned from his team’s experience at the Roy Summers Tournament a week prior to All-Catholics, which features a similar format with Baker style bowling. He used some of that knowledge and admitted he “pushed the right buttons.”
St. Joe’s, which won the regular season title with a 32-10 mark, finished second in All-Catholics with a 1,291 Baker tally Cardinal O’Hara and Timon also rolled 1,000 Baker games with 1,125 and 1,092, respectively. Canisius finished the regular season just one game behind St. Joe’s, with two first-team All-Catholics, Aaron Fiust-Klink and Nick Rallo who’s averages are just above 197.