After struggling through a couple of subpar games in the Saturday Night Mixed League at Mount Morris Lanes last week, Piffard resident Venitha "V.J." Frew knew she had to do something to change the pace.
So, with her sister on hand to watch her bowl, the 46-year-old right-hander decided that they would get on their cell phones and conduct the family’s traditional Christmas present draw.
Little did Frew -- formerly V.J. Ellis prior to her marriage to George Frew in September -- know that Christmas would come early for her in the form of a 300 game.
By rolling 12 consecutive strikes in that third game, Frew became just the second woman to reach perfection at the eight-lane establishment.
Frew, who is employed as the meat and produce team leader at the Geneseo Walmart, opened the session with games of 156 and 113, much lower than her 169 average. A bowler for many years in Hornell, she said she had averaged around 190 in the past and had a 288 high game to her credit.
These days, she’s bowling twice a week at Mount Morris Lanes – on Saturdays on a team with her husband, and Sam and Ashley Repass (George’s daughter) and on Tuesdays on a team with George; her daughter, Courtney McDaniel, and friend, David Lohmer.
Ironically, this past Saturday she was bowling against a team of McDaniel, Lohmer, daughter Mackenzie Towner and son-in-law Corey Towner.
After the 113 game that saw her leave seven splits, Frew said she just "needed to regroup."
"The only changes I made is I just relaxed," she said. "And the funny thing is (which helped her during the third game) I was distracted. My sister, who lives an hour away, had come over that night to the bowling alley. Since we all always do a family Christmas draw, we got my phone and her phone and another phone and kind of like video-chatted all of our children. And we sat there drawing names out for the Christmas draw."
She said she just got up to bowl, set her feet, looked at her mark and let the ball go.
"I didn’t even pay attention. I actually thought I had had a spare in the first or second frame. So, I didn't even know how many strikes I had in a row. After I threw the first strike in the 10th frame, I heard my husband in the background cheering. I said, 'Oh, cool' and looked up at the screen and thought, 'Oh my goodness.'"
That's when the nerves set in, she said.
"I started trembling very badly. And I got up there and I apparently rushed myself, although I didn't feel that I did," she said.
It was then that another bowler, Jamie Watson, got up and made his delivery in attempt to slow Frew down a bit.
Following the 11th strike, she said all she thought about was keeping the ball out of the channel.
"All I kept saying is do not pitch it in the gutter, do not pitch it in the gutter," she said. "So, I let it go and it was a good ball. And I knew even if I only got nine or eight pins, I was going to be more than satisfied because my high game before that was 288."
Frew said she was fortunate in that three of her deliveries crossed over to the Brooklyn side but her 15-pound Roto Grip UFO knocked down all the pins each time.
The previous 300 game by a woman at Mount Morris Lanes was rolled by Amanda Coniglio of Mount Morris on Feb. 23, 2015.
Frew said she is opting for the ring from the USBC, personalized with her initials and Mount Morris Lanes, New York on it. She also will receive a plaque from the Genesee Region USBC.
Submitted photo: VJ Frew reacts after rolling a 300 game last Saturday at Mount Morris Lanes.