“It’s three strikes and you’re out in baseball, and several do it almost every game. But in bowling, it takes 12 strikes to be out, and only a handful ever do it.
In fact, when Dan Waline knocked over 120 pins with 12 straight balls in the Knights’ Classic League at Regal Lanes yesterday morning, it was the first time anyone had ever rolled a perfect 300 game in East Moline. It was the first perfect game in three years in the Quad-Cities, where only four others have been rolled in the last decade.
His gem came as the second game of a four-game roll, and didn’t end with just the dozen in a row. The lanky, Moline right-hander marked four more “X’s” on the score sheet at the start of the third game to give him 16 in a row before he was stopped with only a spare. He finished that game at 220, and surrounded both with tallies of 194 and 161 for an 875 series on Regal alleys 15 and 16.
His only reaction to [the] whole ordeal was “I can’t believe it!”
He said he was thinking about the 300 right from the start, but not seriously until the tenth frame. “My knees were knocking then, but I didn’t try to do anything different,” he said. He didn’t, despite the fact that everyone in the bowling alley had stopped to watch him roll his last three balls. “That didn’t put any extra pressure on me,” he admitted. “The pressure was already there.”
“I carried on the Brooklyn side on the first ball, and then was a little heavy again on the last one,” he relived. “But it kicked the four-pin, and I just couldn’t believe it!” The only other hit not in the pocket for his medium hook came in the seventh frame on a ball he described as “very heavy Brooklyn.”
The 300, of course, was his highest game ever, 278 being his plateau he had reached four times without breaking. The 16 straight strikes doubled his former high of eight.
Just how rare the feat was is exemplified by the fact that there hasn’t been a perfect score in the ten-year history of Regal – or all the way back two decades when Rocket Lanes became East Moline’s first facility. The last perfect score in the area was John Schuldt’s gem at Sixth Avenue Recreation three years ago. Bob Neff has the only 300 ever rolled at Highland Park, that coming eight seasons ago.
But Waline has had plenty of practice. “I’ve been bowling since I was 12 (he’s 25 now), but only seriously for the last five years,” he said. “Right now I bowl in four different leagues, and try to practice every day. I’d say I bowl a minimum of 50 games a week.”
Through it all, he carries just over a 185 average – one that should be helped considerably by a 300 game.”
-The Daily Dispatch
November 20, 1970