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Norwalk trio bowling over competition

By DON HOHLER • Feb 2, 2017 at 4:30 PM

What’s that old saying? “Birds of a feather flock together.”

That certainly is the case when it comes to three guys who meet on a Tuesday night at Kenilee Lanes and do their best to re-shape bowling pins.

Introducing the team of Bill Pressley, Hogan Hite and Brian Klett, the trio who virtually destroyed the Norwalk Bowling Association three-man, three-game series record recently. When the destruction ended, their pin fall total was 2,170 badly-bruised pieces of maple. The old record was a 2,136 held by the same Pressley, Bill Thornton and Hans Hoffman.

And just how good are these guys? Would you believe a combined 17 perfect games?

Giving the new record the bump that night was one of those 300 games, this one by Pressley, the eighth of his career and the second this season. He started his Tuesday Night League performance that night with a 247 followed it with the 300 and finished with a 211 for a 758 total.

Hite recorded a 719, improving each game. He started with a 208, bumped it up to 233 and then brought it home with a 278.

Klett, who like Hite is a better-than-average golfer as well, started his three-game total of 693 with a 223, then pushing the pin count to 257 followed by a 213.

The 52-year-old Pressley, arguably Norwalk’s finest amateur bowler ever, continues to bowl just twice a week. His average is not quite what it used to be, however.

“Getting older,” he said with a laugh. “It was 221 last year and now it’s 210.”

Asked about his eighth “perfect one” three weeks ago Tuesday, he said a couple of the shots perhaps should not have carried the elusive 10 pin.

Like many bowling families, Pressley, the owner of Bill’s Irrigation Outdoor Lawn Sprinkler Systems, has a 23-year-old son, Kyle, who also is a better-than-average bowler. He has two 300 games to his credit. His other son, Anthony, does not bowl. His wife, Kathy, now watches.

Kyle still has some catching up to do, however. His father also has four 299 games to go with those eight 300s. In regards to those 299s, that 10-pin he was talking about getting lucky with three weeks ago, was the culprit in three of those four 299 games.

Pressley has an unbelievable 14 rings from the American Bowling Association, two of them gold.

The 29-year-old Hite has three 300 games on his papers, one at Kenilee and two in Huron. Oddly enough, he has yet to have a 299 or for that matter a 279. That 278 last Tuesday was the first one at that number.

“My last 300 was in 2013 and came about somewhat strange,” Hite said. “It was the last bowling night before I went to the afternoon shift at Olympus. I guess you could say I finished the season with a bang.”

Married to Haley with a baby on the way, Hite also has members of the immediate family who knows how to level the pins. His father, Dan, also bowls in the Tuesday Night League. His mother, Pam, has a 299 game to her credit. And a brother, Travis, has five 300 games.

Then there is the 32-year-old Klett, who had somewhat of an off night with a 693 when the three set the record.

Like Hite, he started bowling just out of diapers — he thinks when he was about 3 years old.

“It gets in your blood, just like golf does with me,” he said. “I would say I am a better bowler than a golfer although I can have my good nights on the golf course as well.”

Klett bowls two nights a week, once at Kenilee and the other at Huron. His average is right around 208 at both houses.

“Been backing up a bit, well really, quite a bit, as far as average,” he said. “I was as high as 224 last year here in Norwalk and maybe even higher out of town. No reason.”

Klett has six perfect games on his papers along with three 299s, a pair of 298s and one 800 series.

Married to Mindy with two sons, Landan and Andrew, both of them bowlers, Klett also has the Kenilee house record for 3-game series — a sizzling 834 bowled Jan. 13, 2015 which was almost two years to the day he got together with two of his buddies to put together another stellar performance.

For the record, the three-man single game record still stands at 793. The threesome missed it by five pins last week. Dennis Shrader (300), Hans Hoffman (275) and Dick Vogt (218) hung on to that record.

The four-man record for one game is 1,028, that number rolled by Tim Nickoli (279), Tim Scheel (279), Hans Hoffman (243) and Pressley (227).

The four-man Norwalk Association series mark is a lusty 2,779. Hoffman had a 740 series, Pressley a 688, Jeff Scheel a 686 and Kyle Schrader a 665.

Long-time Kenilee Lanes owner Dwight Tkach said it is the improvement in the bowling ball that is the reason for the higher scores.

“The new weight-blocking ball makes it much easier to hook the ball and that means a lot,” the 67-year-old former professional said.

Tkach, who has owned Kenilee since 1971, has 14 300 games. He was a tour bowler for four years, making one TV appearance — that coming in a Columbus event.

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