Oak Mountain falls in Final Four of state bowling tourney

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

PELHAM – A special 2019-20 bowling season for the Oak Mountain Eagles came to an end on Friday, Jan. 24, at Oak Mountain Lanes when the Eagles’ magical run ended in Final Four of the state tournament.

Oak Mountain, who entered elimination day as the seven seed in the boys’ bracket, came out and beat Mary G. Montgomery High School and East Limestone High School in the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight, respectively.

That led into a matchup against Sparkman in the semifinals, who entered the day as the four-seed with wins over Southside and Sparkman to advance.

In the Final-Four matchup, Oak Mountain got off to a strong start through the first few frames of the traditional game and led throughout, but a late surge from the Senators in the final two frames helped them grab a slim 845-805 lead heading into the three baker games.

The first baker game is where the match took a major shift in momentum toward Sparkman. The Senators came out and racked up a score of 233 with strike-after-strike, while the Eagles couldn’t find the same rhythm as they had in the traditional game.

During every bowler’s turn for Oak Mountain, the ball was just a few inches off, which prevented a streak of strikes like the Senators had found. That led to Sparkman winning the first baker game 233-157 to take a 1,078-962 advantage.

Oak Mountain had a strong answer in the second bakers game thanks to a score of 194, but Sparkman was feeling it. While the Eagles outscored the Senators, they only did so by seven pins, which still kept Sparkman in front by 109 pins at 1,265-1,156 heading to the final game.

In the final game, Sparkman took advantage of its big lead and was more relaxed, while Oak Mountain couldn’t find the sense of confidence it had the previous matches.

That led to the Senators closing out a 1,422-1,280 victory after a final score of 157-124 in the final baker game.

In the first round of the state tournament, Oak Mountain took down Mary G. Montgomery 1,504-1,446 behind a strong three baker games that featured scores of 214-200, 226-173 and 193-197.

Then, in the second round, the Eagles beat East Limestone 1,462-1,366 thanks to a strong final two baker games where they outscored Limestone 190-136 and 202-173.

Photos available at Shelbycountyphotos.com.