By Maurice Patton
Spring Hill and Lawrence County’s bowling teams ended Monday the same way they started – facing each other at Tenn Pin Alley.
But after losing a one-game rolloff to establish seeding in the District 8 Tournament, the Raiders won the matchup that counted – claiming the first boys/co-ed team title in the program’s history by a 15.5-11.5 margin.
“Everybody woke up,” said Spring Hill senior Nick Erdman, who rolled a team-high 711 series in the finals. “We were tired, sore (for the morning match). We weren’t loosey-goosey. We weren’t loud. There wasn’t a lot of support for each other. We weren’t as involved as we were in the finals.
“We were yelling, encouraging each other. That definitely helped us out. We wanted it, really bad.”
Both teams went undefeated in district play, but their contest was canceled because of COVID and the schedule did not allow for a makeup match. Lawrence County took the top seed with the rolloff victory, then defeated No. 8 seed Summit (16-11) and No. 4 Columbia Central (17-10) to advance to the finals.
“I can’t complain,” Central coach Randy Cook said regarding his team, which defeated fifth-seeded Marshall County in the quarterfinals. “They hung in there. They were over 3,000 (pins) in both matches.
“It’s been a learning experience. I can’t complain. It’s just a matter of getting them more consistent, which means practice.”
Spring Hill downed No. 7 seed Santa Fe 22.5-4.5 in the opening round and No. 6 seed Franklin County – an upset winner over Tullahoma in the quarterfinals – to set up the rematch.
“We really didn’t care (about the rolloff),” Raiders coach Don McKinnon said. “We knew we’d make it through and meet them again, and we made it count.”
Behind Erdman, an individual state qualifier a year ago, Spring Hill got a 648 series from junior Jeremy Gearlds, a 631 from junior Tyler Williams and a 630 from junior David Yauger.
“We were up 131 points after the second game; we only needed four points at that point to win the match,” McKinnon said. “We only needed to win one game, and we won two.”
Both Spring Hill and Lawrence County will advance to the Region 4 semifinals, which are currently scheduled to be held in January, ahead of the Division I state tournament, set for Jan. 21-23 in Smyrna.
Erdman expressed appreciation for McKinnon and assistant Derrick Reynolds following the championship victory.
“We wouldn’t have been able to do it without them,” he said.
In girls competition, top seed Tullahoma defeated Lawrence County 22-5 for the title.