Hafner, Lee have big nights on lanes

Anything Ed could do, Greg could do better.

At least, that's how it played out between bowlers Greg Hafner and Ed Lee during a memorable performance Jan. 21 in the Brunswick Scratch League at Roxy Ann Lanes.

Bowling on adjacent lanes, Ed Lee rolled a 300 game to start the evening, and Hafner did the trick in his second game. Before the night was over, they each had another milestone as well, eclipsing the coveted 800 mark for a series.

"Ed bowled great," said Hafner. "I was surprised I was able to do as well as he did. He just bowled phenomenally, and it's a shame he's kind of on the back burner. It's not fair. He deserves a little more glory."

But Lee picked a bad night to be very good because Hafner was a tad better.

Lee bowled games of 300, 246 and 280 for an 826. A right-handed bowler for three decades, he switched to his left hand three years ago because of back problems. He now has averaged 200 for a season and has bowled 300 games and 800 series with each hand.

Hafner countered with a 258, 300 and 290 for an 848, finishing the last half of his third game after Lee had left. Lee's team bowled unopposed and got done early.

The series by Hafner, 44, is the best in the history of Roxy Ann. He recorded the previous mark of 836 in 1985, and it was matched by Tony Bristow several years ago. Now Hafner again has sole ownership.

Hafner has bowled for 33 years and has 22 perfect games and 12 series of 800 or better. His career-best series is an 865 he bowled in the Southern Oregon All-Stars in the mid-1990s.

Hafner didn't read too much into his 258 opening game.

"I generally start off pretty hot, then go downhill from there," he said.

Then came the 300.

"Eight (800 series) is in the back of your mind anytime you make the turn with a 500," he said.

He was at 558 after two games, and following a spare in the first frame of Game 3, he reeled off six straight strikes to ensure the 800.

For the night, the left-hander with a 232 average had only three spares. He left two 7 pins and the 2-7.

Hafner bowls once a week in league and enters tournaments on weekends. He will compete in March in the national championships in Albuquerque, N.M. Hafner was on a national-title winning team in 2000 when it was last held there.

Lee, 58, considered the effort his best ever, and it eclipsed his previous high series by one pin. He has about 10 career perfect games and a like number of 800s, he said.

Mostly a right-hander, Lee competed one summer in an opposite-hand league at the old Medford Lanes. He had back surgery in 2001, and it held up for three or four years. But his back eventually flared up again, and he switched to left-handed bowling.

"If that didn't work," he said, "I was just going to quit bowling. I didn't want to jeopardize my back."

On that big Monday last week, most people in the league bowled well, said Lee.

"I didn't think the shot was any better than normal," he said. "You normally get a good shot at Roxy Ann. It's a consistent shot each week."

Lee had a 209 average going in. He bowled a 201 the first year he went left-handed, and as a righty, he usually was between 220 and 230.

The only time he looked ahead last week, said Lee, was prior to the 10th frame in Game 3, when he knew if he struck out, he would better his previous high.

"I made a good shot with my first ball, but one pin rolled around a little," he said. "I said, if that pin hits that pin just right, and that pin hits that pin, I could get a strike. It happened, then I got two more."

And gave Hafner a pretty good number to chase.

"Watching him bowl, that was pretty impressive," Lee said of Hafner. "He's solid. In that house, he's just a real top-notch bowler. He's better than I was right-handed, so left-handed, there's just no comparison. I just had a dream night."

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 776-4479, or e-mail ttrower@mailtribune.com

Share This Story