In only its second year with a bowling team, St. Martin won the Class II state championship Thursday.
Led by sophomore Ryan Fiorentino, the Yellow Jackets swept Neshoba Central 3-0 in the Baker roll off.
D'Iberville girls nearly made it a sweep for the Coast, but were edged by Neshoba Central 3-2 in the roll off in Class II, which is for 5A and 6A schools.
“Today was our best day of the year,” said St. Martin coach Brad Talley. He attributed the success to team chemistry. “They really get along with each other and they have a lot of fun doing it.”
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St, Martin qualified for the tournament as a wild card after finishing third in the South Regional behind D'Iberville and Harrison Central. The Yellow Jackets were second behind Neshoba in preliminary bowling with a team score of 3,859 for four games.
In the roll off, with five bowlers alternating frames, St. Martin defeated Neshoba 202-183 in the first game, thanks to three strikes in the tenth frame by Fiorentino, then won the next two games easily, 200-148 and 224-161.
Fiorentino was the top individual bowler in the preliminary games, with games of 264, 258, 233 and 201 for a 956 total. “I am a pretty good bowler overall,” said Fiorentino, who will compete in the national junior tournament in Cleveland in July. “I've been bowling ever since I was three and a I put a lot of time and work into my bowling.”
His average score of 239 exceeded his season average of “about 220.”
Other bowlers for St. Martin in the roll off were Jayden Nguyen, Chad Callegari, Chris Trieu and Patrick Nguyen.
Harrison Central finished sixth among the eight teams that qualified with a team score of 3,463 and D'Iberville was seventh (3,392).
D’Iberville girls finish runner-up
The D'Iberville girls led the roll off 2-1 before losing each of the last two games in the final frame. After dropping the opening game to Neshoba178-127, D'Iberville won the second game 190-158 and the third game 214-181.
D'Iberville had a chance to win the championship in the fourth game. Samantha Stanfill had a spare in the tenth frame and needed a strike on her final ball. But she left the 6 and 10 pins standing, resulting in a 182-181 Neshoba victory. A split in the final frame of the fifth game resulted in a 183-178 loss.
This is also the second year for D'Iberville.
“We came here as a first-year team last year and finished seventh,” said D’Iberville coach Rich Wesche. “This year, the girls just did an outstanding job playing like a team. They bowled great all year to come in second place. Next year, first is ours.”
Alexa Landenberger, the only senior among D'Iberville's five bowlers, had a team high 751 in preliminary competition, good enough for third overall. Other bowlers were Franchesca Nguyen with a 700 total, Stanfill 650, Angelica Nguyen 646 and Caitlin Heige 600.