Local trio bowls 898 series, second-best in the world

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
The scores of Nick Cooper, John Tovar and Matt Coleman at Century Bowl in Waterford Tuesday. They bowled an 898 series, the second highest in the world.

History was made at Century Bowl in Waterford on Tuesday night.

So much history, in fact, the three bowlers in the middle of it all forgot to even take pictures.

"We actually didn't," said Nick Cooper, laughing. "It was crazy. I thought I was dreaming."

Cooper, John Tovar and Matt Coleman combined to bowl an 898 series in their three-man league, which is the highest ever in Metro Detroit by 30 pins — and the second-highest ever in the world, a pin behind an 899 set by three bowlers from Bridgeport, Michigan, in Saginaw County in 2015.

Coleman led off with a 299 — meaning 11 strikes in a row, followed by a nine to end it — and John Tovar then had a 299. They both left the pesky 10 pin. Cooper then finished things off with a 300.

"Absolutely ridiculous," said Jennifer Franz, general manager at Century Bowl. "I watched it. I was shaking like a leaf."

The three men have known each other for awhile, but this is the first year they've bowled together on a three-man league, which are popular in the summer months.

Typically at any bowling league, when one player is going for a 300 in the 10th frame, fellow league members, staff, waitresses, anybody really, gathers around to see if the feat can be accomplished.

But when all three are going for 300?

Well, then it's mayhem.

"Everybody was watching," said Tovar, 27, of Waterford. "I wanted to be a part of history.

"Man, it's huge. I can't even describe it."

Cooper had to sit and wait his turn while Coleman and Tovar rolled first in the 10th frame.

All the while, the crowd was swelling. He tried to ignore it, but he couldn't.

"I tried not to look back, but you can't resist," said Cooper, 23, of Clarkston. "All of us were sweaty, everything was going through my mind. I must've taken 30 deep breaths.

"I never really thought something like that would happen."

The league is made up of high-rollers, so good scores aren't that uncommon.

Coleman, 30, of Waterford, averages 231; Tovar averages 225; and Cooper averages 222. All three have had 300 games before, but not in a setting like this. This was different. This was historic.

For their three-game series, Coleman had an 802, Tovar had a 785 and Cooper had a 773. The 898 series came in the first of the three games.

"It was unbelievably crazy," Cooper said. "I haven't been that nervous in a long time."

The world-record holders with the 899 — as sanctioned by the United States Bowling Congress — are Bobby Sanch, Steve Novak and Brian McMahon. They bowled that series in December at Candelite Lanes in Bridgeport, in Saginaw County.