TOWN OF AMSTERDAM -- Brendan McGillin knew what was at stake when he grabbed his bowling ball for his final frame of Wednesday's match against the Broadalbin-Perth Patriots.
The Amsterdam High School senior had been flawless in his final game of the day. Nine frames, nine strikes. Three more, and he'd grasp perfection, the elusive 300 game. And he knew exactly what was at stake.
"I knew what was going on the whole time," McGillin said. "I was shaking, man. Just a crazy feeling. It really was."
If the nerves ever struck, it came in the first ball of the 10th frame. Once all 10 pins tumbled down, he knew he was on the right path.
"The first shot I threw in the 10th, it was probably the hardest one I threw," McGillin said. "Once I had that, I knew I was lined up enough where I could just throw it out there and have it come back and slam into the pocket."
Two strikes later, and McGillin had his slice of perfection.
"I'm glad I got No. 1 over and done with. Now all the rest can be easier," he said.
The 300 came in McGillin's third game of the afternoon. He finished his second game with five straight strikes, which meant he ended the day with 17 strikes in a row.
When a bowler's going that well, Amsterdam coach Joe Scott said, overcoaching and micromanaging become unnecessary.
"When they're striking five, six in a row, I walk the other way," Scott said. "I don't have to say anything to them. I just kept my space, let him do what he had to do. The way it was releasing out of his hand, I knew he was gonna go pretty far."
McGillin's teammates tried to keep his mind off things, but with 300 on the line, McGillin said it was hard to avoid staring at the scoreboard on the screen above lanes 11 and 12.
"They left me alone -- kind of, sort of," he said. "They tried getting my mind of it a little bit, but there was no getting my mind off of it. It was just there. I couldn't stop looking up at the scoreboard."
McGillin's perfect game highlighted Amsterdam's 4-0 sweep of B-P and capped off his 701 series. The senior wasn't the only Amsterdam bowler to approach perfection Wednesday, as Jon Schultz posted his second 290 game this season -- with a spare in the first frame before firing 11 consecutive strikes -- as part of a 673 series. Mike Hughes added a 246-671 and Nate Grant had a 233-597 for the Rams, who finished with a 3,654-3,402 edge in total pins. Griffin Goodemote's 216-625 and Brian Jordan's 237-603 led the way for B-P.
It was the first perfect game for an Amsterdam bowler in Scott's four-year tenure, but with the talent on this year's team, he had a feeling that 300 would be coming sooner rather than later.
"I told these guys at the beginning of the year, 'You've got a lot of talent, and someone's gonna get a 300 this year,'" Scott said. "I'm a high achiever, but I knew they could do it and (McGillin) proved me right."
While the feat didn't technically come at home -- B-P was the host for Wednesday's match -- it did come at McGillin's home lanes. In fact, when the match ended, he had to change out of his AHS bowling shirt and get ready for his evening work shift -- at Imperial Lanes.
He did so with a smile a mile wide.
"I'll remember it forever. I'll never forget," he said. "Lanes 11 and 12 at Imperial Lanes."
Contact ADAM SHINDER at firstname.lastname@example.org