Bowler Surpasses Brother’s Record to Take Top Spot
Marshfield’s long-standing bowling record has been broken.
Eric Gabel, 29, scored a 879 series Thursday at Rose Bowl Lanes, beating his older brother Jed’s previous 6-year record of 868.
Eric scored a 300, 279, and another 300, completing 35 out of 36 possible strikes. The two perfect games, then two strikes and a 9 spare in the second game, were enough to propel Eric to the top spot during the men’s league, played alongside his brother and friends.
“Honestly it’s kind of a thrill. It hasn’t really set in yet,” he said. “In the moment you don’t realize what’s going on. I was focused on one thing and wasn’t paying attention.”
“I always said if anyone broke it, it would probably be Eric because he’s one of the most consistent and good bowlers in Marshfield,” said Jed, 37, who broke the last record in January 2013.
As Eric landed strike after strike that night, other bowlers began to speculate if the city record might finally get beaten.
“In bowling, it’s kind of like when there’s a no hitter being pitched in baseball – the unwritten rule is you don’t really talk about it. But last night I could hear people discussing the city record as the night went on further and further, which wasn’t a big deal for me because I obviously knew the record was and what I need to throw to be able to beat it,” said Eric. “It was interesting to hear the rumblings as it got closer and closer.”
“I was just as nervous and my heart was racing just as much as his was, I think,” Jed said. “I was talking to one of my buddies and he goes, is your heart beating as fast as mine is? And I said, it sure is.”
The chatter became louder and nerves were stretched taut as it came down to the final ball. It was a strike.
“It was a mix of emotions, I know records are meant to be broken,” said Jed. “He’s one of the best bowlers I’ve ever watched. I’m definitely proud of him.”
Prior to Thursday, Eric had eleven 300 series and seven 800 series. His previous high score was 835.
“I’ve been bowling since kindergarten, and growing up I’d go to Rose Bowl and watch Jed and a lot of the other good bowlers,” he said. “I just stayed with it.”
A dedicated bowler in high school, he went on to participate in 3 or 4 adult leagues a week and today is a member of the Thursday league.
Jed remembers well his own record-breaking night, which also happened on a Thursday. He was filling in a spot on the team for a good friend, Bob Lenz, who held the city record at 859. That night in January, he bowled a 299, a 290, and a 279 for a 868 series.
Now the top record-holder, Eric will retain bragging rights for the foreseeable future.
“Hopefully it lasts forever!” he said.
Since there’s still a 900 series to earn, Jed holds out hope that he could reclaim his title.
“That’s all I can do, is go out every weekend and try to beat him!” he said.