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Niagara Falls bowler Vince Capaldi becomes oldest to roll 800 series

A 300 game in bowling used to be extra special. There was a time when the author of a perfect game was the subject of a newspaper interview and headlines in the sports pages.

The 300 game has become commonplace, and is not as rare the 800 series, which has become the more meaningful benchmark of bowling success.

Vince Capaldi of Niagara Falls became the oldest person to bowl an 800 series when, on Oct. 5 at the Rapids Bowling Center in Niagara Falls, Capaldi bowled games of 278, 258 and 268 for an 804 series. Capaldi is 86 years old. The United States Bowling Congress certified and researched his feat.

Capaldi was a month and 11 days after his 86th birthday when he bowled his 804 in the Friday Senior Men's League. The previous record was held by William Lautenschlager of Stockton, Calif, who was 85 years and 9 days old when he bowled an 805 in 2016.

Capaldi had been striving for an 800 series ever since he bowled his first two 300 games five years ago at Rapids. He also has rolled four 299 games.

Capaldi returned to bowling after giving it up 50 years ago after getting married.

"It wasn't any fun any more," he said.

Although he didn't bowl, he played bocce and golf. About 10 years ago, he went back to the lanes and his game gradually, and naturally, improved the more he bowled.

"I engineered my own game," Capaldi said. He bases his success on his ability to adjust his game to lane conditions, rather than any speed or revolution rate in the ball he throws.

"It's a matter of moving a little left or right and controlling my speed depending on the conditions," Capaldi said. "It's the same with bocce. You've got to be able to adjust the speed of the ball to conditions."

Capaldi's team, the Good Spirits, is in second place in the Friday Senior League, which takes over most of the house at noon each Friday at the Niagara Falls Boulevard facility. His league average was 207.94 before Friday's matches.

Capaldi bowls in leagues four times each week at Rapids -- a Senior League on Monday, in a Mixed League with his wife of 63 years, Gail, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the Friday Seniors.

The Friday league is comprised of 26 four-bowler teams and includes some of the most achieved bowlers in Western New York.

The league leader is Kelly Utnik, who averages 221. Utnik is a veteran of the old BPA Black Velvet Traveling League. Jim Wolf, another veteran of the now defunct travel league, also bowls with the Friday Seniors. Another is Terry Bennetti, who bowled a Lockport USBC Association-record 887 series in 2007, breaking the record held by Allie Brandt.

Capaldi was born in Prezza, Italy, in the Abruzzo region. He emigrated to Canada at age 13 and then to Niagara Falls.

He worked at Union Carbide, as a greenskeeper for the City of Niagara Falls, and in construction until suffering a serious knee injury on a job site and went on disability.

Cesare Svitzzero, who turns 98 on Monday, bowls with Vince Capaldi weekly and carries a 164 average. Both are natives of Prezza, Italy. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Ironically, Cesare Svizzero, another native of Prezza, bowls in the same league as Capaldi, who calls Svizzero "My paisano." They also golf together.

On Monday, Svizzero will celebrate his 98th birthday. His bowling average is 164.

Doyle named PBA Rookie of Year

It seems just a few years ago that we were writing about Kamron Doyle, a teen bowling phenom from the Nashville, Tenn., suburb of Brentwood.

Doyle, now 20, last week won the Harry Golden PBA Rookie of the Year Award. When Doyle was 12, he was the youngest bowler to cash in a PBA Regional Tournament and as a 5-foot-5, 105-pounder at age 14, was the youngest to cash in the U.S. Open.

Second-year PBA member Andrew Anderson of Holly, Mich., was named 2018 Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year. Anderson outdistanced E.J. Tackett of Bluffton, Ind., and Dom Barrett of England in the voting.

Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Mich., is the winner of the 2018 Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award. Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, was the winner of the PBA Tony Reyes Memorial Community Service Award.#

 

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