It was one of those moments in life.

It was one of those moments in life.

After months spent working toward a dream, the Springfield boys bowling team was on the verge of seeing that dream slip away. After getting through the first round of the Northeast Division I district bowling tournament in second place, the Spartans were struggling.

They had dropped from second place during baker games, putting themselves in danger of missing out on the top-six finish needed to reach their goal of qualifying for the state tournament.

Knowing the team had reached a decisive moment, head coach Bill Burket made a decision.

“When we went into baker games, we didn't bowl to expectations and we weren’t doing as well as we wanted,” Burket said. “So we got the kids together and told them, ‘You’re wasting your chance to go to states, what you've been working for all year.’”

The message resonated with the team and with renewed motivation, the Spartans returned to the lanes and turned in their best baker game of the day, rolling a score of 204 in the fifth baker contest. Led by tournament silver medalist Colton Riddle, they held off the teams trying to edge them out of the top six and finished fifth, 30 pins against North Ridgeville.

Riddle’s 670 series was good for second place and teammate Mason Pastorius was close behind at 627 to give Springfield a solid 1-2 punch at the top of its lineup.

Not only did the result fulfill a season-long goal, it also made history for the program.

“It’s really exciting because it’s the first time we’ve not only made it to states, but the first time we’ve made it out of the first (sectional) round,” Burket said.

The aftermath of the tournament was a mixture of relief and excitement, according to Burket. After worrying its state trip was slipping away, the team was grateful to hold on and earn a spot in Columbus. The excitement came largely on the ride home from Lorain as the reality of their accomplishment sunk in.

When the team returned to Springfield High School, they found a couple of supporters had already created a banner congratulating them on their success.

“Larry and Paula Murphy had put up a sign in front of school. Larry called me on our way back to congratulate us and they put up a sign that said, 'SHS bowling, state bound,'” Burket said.

Murphy teaches at the school and his wife works there as well, so both wanted to show their support for the team. That support has extended to players’ social media accounts and the halls of the schools in the days since.

The next step will have to wait for a few days, as Division I teams have two weeks between the district tournament and states. Burket doesn’t mind the extra time off, especially after seeing the way the schedule unfolded for the school’s girls team when it qualified for the state tournament two years ago.

“We're kind of happy because Bill White’s Lanes are trying to lay down the state (tournament) oil pattern for us and get a couple days of practice for the kids on it,” Burket said. “Our girls two years ago qualified on a Sunday and had to leave on a Thursday and I remember how scattered it was, trying to get hotel rooms and everything.”

The extra week will provide time to work out the logistics, including team parents getting t-shirts to commemorate the occasion. When the Spartans finally set foot on the lanes at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl on March 14, they’ll be hoping for another big moment to come their way.

Reach Andy at 330-580-8396 or andy.harris@thesuburbanite.com.
On Twitter: @aharrisBURB