BOWLING: County Tournament Berth Is Clinched

East Hampton’s bowlers are, from left to right, starting with the bottom row, Sam Baylinson, Kyra Daniels, Cheyenne Mata, Matthew Napolillo, Gabby Green, Victoria Nardo, Andi Dargis, Mike Cahill, Jackson Clark, Andrew Payne, Melina Lopez, Rick Nardo, and Dan Ruggiero. Chris Duran, a Pierson student, is not pictured. Jack Graves

The East Hampton High School bowling team needed at least 12.5 points in its match here with Rocky Point Monday to earn a berth in the county tournament, which is to be contested at the Sayville Lanes on Feb. 4.
    “Our seniors, Andrew Payne and Ricky Nardo, have gone to the counties every year, and they wanted to go this year too,” the team’s coach, Pat Hand, said during a conversation Monday morning.
    Payne, who leads the team and is fourth in the league with a 188.33 average, rolled an uncharacteristic 162 in the middle game at Mount Sinai last Thursday and asked to be taken out, prompting a pep talk from Hand, who told him he was her senior captain and that it was time to reach down and focus. The result was a 215 for Payne in game three, a score that helped East Hampton to a 23.5-9.5 win.
    Hand said she had read the interview on these pages last week with Dr. Paul Weinhold, a sports psychologist, and agreed that in athletic competition, especially in bowling, quieting the ofttimes censorious mind was paramount. “I even have our kids heckle the others in practice so they get used to tuning things out,” she said. “I like them to bowl one frame at a time.”
    Most everyone had had his or her moments thus far this season, the coach said, in reply to a question.
    “Andrew began the season with a 192.33 average, so he’s down a bit, but he’s had a 600 and a 633 series, and Ricky [whose average as of Monday was 177.46, good for 11th place in the league] has had a 653 series. Chris Duran, who’s from Pierson, has bowled 212 and 206 games, and is averaging 173.84. Those are our top three, though Dan Ruggiero, who’s a first-year senior, is averaging 166 and has had 226 and 235 games — he’s been a surprise. Briana Semb was doing well until she hurt her knee. Jackson Clark has had 211 and 192 games. . . .”
    “We’ve bounced around a bit in the standings. We’ve been fourth, we’ve been second, even first, for one day. We’re in third at the moment and hope to stay there. Rocky Point, which is in fourth place, and Mount Sinai bowl Tuesday, but if we win at least 12 and a half points this afternoon, it doesn’t matter what happens with Rocky Point and Mount Sinai.”
    The three seniors, Payne, Nardo, and Ruggiero, start, as does Duran, a junior. Clark, a sophomore, and Gabby Green, a junior, alternate.
    “Actually,” said Hand, “we’re right where we should be. Eastport-South Manor’s bowlers are averaging 185, Westhampton’s 174, and ours are averaging 169.”
    As of Friday, the League V standings showed Eastport-South Manor in first place with 283 points, followed by Westhampton (269.5), East Hampton (212.5), Rocky Point (167.0), Mount Sinai (163.5), Southold (91.5), and Southampton (34.0). As of that day, Payne had won 18 match points and Duran 17.