Although it was a longshot, the Eastport/South Manor Sharks had everything to play for in their final regular-season match of the season, with the Suffolk County League V boys bowling championship on the line. The Southold First Settlers, meanwhile, didn’t have a league title to bowl for or playoffs to look forward to. For them, though, closing out the regular season on a winning note was motivation enough.
Playing the role of spoilers, the First Settlers doused the Sharks’ hopes of finishing in first place on Tuesday by beating them at Wildwood Lanes in Riverhead. A career-high 622 series by Chris Manfredi, a 608 series by Patrick Smith and a 594 series by Zach Depaulis helped Southold to a 25-8 upset of Eastport/South Manor, a second-place team that entered the match with the highest team average in the league. Southold swept the three games, 994-957, 953-935, 904-830.
Eastport/South Manor secured second place with 240.5 points. Southold, which started the day in fifth place, finished with 194.5 points.
Manfredi, a senior, strung together game scores of 212, 221 and 189. He threw 17 strikes to go with 10 spares.
“I just wanted to end strong,” he said. “I just had a good day. We all came together at the end and did really good. I wasn’t the only one who had a good day.”
Smith, a junior, was a model of consistency, bowling a 212, a 200 and a 196.
Depaulis, a junior, opened with a 232 in the first game. He had never scored higher than a 199 before.
Southold also received a 534 series from Patrick Sinclair and a 513 series from Brayan Palencia.
“I felt really, really happy about how they performed tonight,” said Southold’s rookie coach, Sal Campo, who called it the team’s most impressive win of the season. “They were in a little bit of a slump the last two games, so we’ve been practicing, practicing. They’ve been staying focused, and that’s the thing, they had to stay focused, but you still want them to have fun. I still want them to enjoy themselves, and they did.”
Steven O’Braitis registered a 593 series with a 232 in the first game for Eastport/South Manor. The other series scores for the Sharks were a 578 by Sam Cestaro, a 559 by Zach Abel, a 520 by Doug Pinelli and a 472 by Andrew Karkota.
Eastport/South Manor Coach Charles Ferro said his team needed to win big and also have the East Hampton/Bridgehampton/Pierson Bonackers beat the first-place Mount Sinai Mustangs by a considerable margin in order to snatch the league title. “It would have been difficult to do,” he acknowledged.
A league crown for Eastport/South Manor wasn’t in the cards.
“I knew we had to bowl amazing and needed some help from other teams,” O’Braitis said. “It didn’t happen today.”
Ferro, however, could feel good about his team’s second-place standing. “This has been a successful season for us,” he said. “Mount Sinai, basically, did a great job. … The fact that we were able to push them this far and come in second is a great accomplishment for us at ESM.”
Campo said the victory is good preparation for the division tournament that will be held next Tuesday at Coram Lanes.
“They always say it’s not whether you win or lose, but you know what?” Campo said. “When you win, it works on your mind. It helps you out.”
The high school bowling careers of Southold’s three seniors — Manfredi, Sinclair and Chris Kirincic — are nearing an end. One final happy memory of Wildwood Lanes was most appreciated.
“Last match, senior year, you just got to go out and do the best that you can,” Manfredi said. “I did Southold bowling for six years, four on varsity, and I’ve loved every minute of it.”