Lower Burrell teenager rolls 300 game in traveling bowling league
Before his final throw even reached the pins, Matt Bielata became emotional.
“When I threw the last ball, my dad said it was a perfect ball. He knew it was going to be a strike,” Bielata said. “I started to cry happy tears.”
In this case, tears of perfection.
On Sunday, Bielata rolled a perfect game at the Brunswick Playmor Bowl in West Mifflin during traveling league play.
“When he turned around, he was bawling,” coach Walt Livingstone said. “His dad was crying. His mom was crying.”
Even at 13, the Lower Burrell native knows how special rolling a 300 game can be.
“That's a goal for all the kids. (At that age) we tell the parents when its time to move up to a more aggressive ball and style,” Livingstone said. “(A 300 game is) just a matter of time for a lot of these kids.”
The closest Bielata had previously come was a 241 last year, but he knew something big was potentially on the horizon when the atmosphere late in his game was different.
“I was just really nervous. The most strikes I've had in a row was six,” Bielata said. “When I got seven, I started to get nervous.”
Initially, the only people interested in lanes 23 and 24 were competitors and parents.
It wasn't long before a crowd of more than 100 began to gather.
“When he threw it, you would have thought you were at a football game,” Livingstone said. “We pack a lot of people in to watch.”
All of the spectators, and competitors were there for a match in the Greater Pittsburgh Youth Travel League. It is comprised of teams from various leagues across the Pittsburgh area. It is just the second year that Wildlife Lanes in Lower Burrell has fielded a team. This year, the rink has two teams.
Bielata originally took up the game around age 4.
“My dad used to bowl in Natrona Heights. I just wanted to follow him,” Bielata said. “I started there on bumpers.”
It was only a few years ago when Bielata began taking bowling seriously enough to give up on Little League baseball to concentrate on bowling.
His aspirations already go well beyond his youth endeavors.
“I want to keep going with it. There's a bowling team at (Burrell),” Bielata said. “I'd love to go to Robert Morris for bowling.”
Dave Yohe is a freelance writer.