For Eric Auffenberg, the math was easy. You can’t get to 12, let alone 300, without one.
Already an accomplished athlete for the Wadsworth boys bowling team, the junior’s quest for perfection sometimes left him thinking.
If he rolled a strike, good things usually left him looking ahead to the next 11 opportunities to do it again. If he wobbled even a bit, things might head south.
“The biggest thing I had to focus on was just slowing down,” Auffenberg said. “I had to focus on each individual shot and not try to get ahead of myself. I was worrying myself with what the score was and what the max I could shoot was.
“I started focusing on the individual shot. You can’t go out there and shoot four strikes if you don’t shoot the first one. I knew I could do it. I just had to believe in myself. I knew I could go out on the lanes and do it consistently. If I can do it once, I could do it 10 times. I think that was the most important thing.”
That idea has worked to near perfection for Auffenberg this season as the Grizzlies ready themselves for the Northeast Division I District after winning a sectional title for the second year in a row.
“The outlook for next year for these guys is as good as it is this year,” Wadsworth coach George Steele said. “Eric’s toughest part isn’t the physical game. He can throw it. He can bowl with anybody.”
An All-Gazette honorable mention selection last season, Auffenberg averaged 188.0. This season, he’s led Wadsworth four times in scoring thanks to incredible consistency.
Last weekend, his 715 three-game series (246-192-277) led the Grizzlies to a Suburban League Tournament title. Saturday, his 592 (162-192-238) was the second-best score for Wadsworth behind Cooper Wrobel (704).
“He bowls to his potential,” Steele said. “You know bowling is a huge mental game and when kids have struggles, you don’t get their full potential.
“Last year, we had the talent and Eric had the talent, but if he had a bad game, you could see he could take himself out of the match. Now, if he has a couple bad frames, I know he can get himself out of a bad spot.”
Auffenberg’s incredible attitude has roots on a team that is used to playing together.
The unit might be as cohesive as they come as Auffenberg, Chris Steele (217.7), Cooper Wrobel (207.2), Austin Wrobel (189.0) and Randall Clark (179.4) all have the capability of leading their team in scoring at any time.
In a crazy one-week period, Chris Steele rolled a 522 two-game series to break Auffenberg’s school record by one, only to see Auffenberg take it back seven days later with a 526 against Kent Roosevelt.
Auffenberg averages 198.8 and his high game (298) is a Medina County best.
“When it comes down to it as a team, we know we have five solid bowlers that at any day can go out there and shoot a crazy score,” Auffenberg said. “You look at Cooper at sectional and he shot 704 to beat everyone by 69 pins. The week before, I went out there and shot 715. We know that we’re always going to have somebody that is really going to go off.
“If somebody is going to go down on the day, we have somebody that is going to pick them up. That’s the important part. We push each other, but we know there is always somebody there if we need it.”
Contact Brad Bournival at email@example.com.
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