The preseason outlook for Lancaster-Lebanon League bowling indicated that Section Two would be strong. In the very early going, that seems to be the case, with Elizabethtown the only team unbeaten in two matches.
The Bears opened their season by whitewashing Section One opponent Cedar Crest, and are averaging a league-best 1,038 pins for the two matches.
Warwick and Ephrata are close behind at 12-2 and 13-3, respectively.
The Warriors’ only loss was in Game 3 Friday to Section One contender Hempfield, despite totaling 1,014 pins.
Meanwhile, Ephrata went toe-to-toe with Section One favorite and defending league champion Penn Manor on Monday and won 4-3. The Mountaineers lost the first game by almost 100, but won the next two, totaling 1,067 in Game 3 to win by 16 pins and out-roll the Comets.
Penn Manor coasted past McCaskey on Friday to improve to 10-4 for the Section One lead. The Comets have a one-game advantage on Hempfield and are ahead of Cedar Crest by two.
Two teams are unbeaten in Sections Three-Four, but both had just one match: Garden Spot in Three and Northern Lebanon in Four.
Possibly the most surprising result in the first two matches was Manheim Central’s 5-2 win over Section Three favorite Cocalico on Friday. The Eagles (9-5) have had one of, if not the best overall records in the league in recent years, but now trail the Barons (10-4) by a game in the standings.
Northern Lebanon shouldn’t have much trouble in Section Four, and is 7-0 after topping Section Three’s Elco on Monday.
Some L-L bowlers looked to already be in mid-season form.
Last year’s bowler of the year, Darren Zombro III of Cedar Crest, showed that he was ready to pick up where he left off last year, when he led the league with a 233 average. He rolled a 780 series Monday against Elizabethtown, including a 278 in the third game. He followed that up with a 698 Friday against Manheim Township for a league-best 246 average through six games.
Of course, Zombro’s 780 wasn’t enough to lift the Falcons over the Bears, who had all five of their series between 589 and Ayden Pope’s team-high 693. Pope was consistent in his first two matches, adding a 700 Friday for a 232 average.
Among some other top returnees, Manheim Township’s Nick Tomlinson rolled a 750 Monday and has a 225 average, but couldn’t prevent the Streaks from an 0-14 start.
Also in Section One, Penn Manor is getting major contributions, despite losing three points to the E-town buzzsaw. Eva Brubaker rolled a 690 in that match — she didn’t bowl Friday — and Derek Warfel is leading three other Comets with 200 averages at 216.
Zombro is getting help from fellow senior Connor Firestone (221 average) at Cedar Crest while Hempfield is led by sophomore Derick Keller (213), who was the L-L’s top postseason performer in 2020-21 with a 10th-place finish at states.
An early threat to Northern Lebanon’s Aliza Shirk for this year’s L-L girls title might be Taylor Miller of Warwick. The freshman rolled a league-best 784 series Monday and has a 238 average through six games.
Making key contributions for Ephrata are the Barnica brothers. Nathan has a 712 series and is averaging 231 while older brother Andrew has a 215 average.
Also from Section Two, Conestoga Valley’s Ryan Muckle is averaging 217.
In Sections Three-Four, only two bowlers are averaging over 200: Cocalico’s Chris Quadarella and Garden Spot’s Lacey McCalicher.
Quadarella, a returning Section Three all-star, has a 218 average in six games, which included a 690 series Friday, while McCalicher is at 204 after just one match.
Two bowlers, two-time L-L girls champion Shirk and Hunter Heinsey of Elco, are both at 199.
Three L-L teams got to the bracket finals of the IceBreaker Classic on Dec. 11 at Dutch Lanes.
The league’s lone girls entrants, Elizabethtown and Penn Manor, qualified 3-4. The Bears lost in the bracket quarters while Penn Manor lost in the semifinals. Neshaminy won the girls event.
Among the eight L-L boys teams, E-town qualified second to earn a spot straight into the semifinals. Daniel Eberle was the top qualifier for the Bears with a 632 series. Aliza Shirk, bowling with Northern Lebanon’s boys team, had the top series of 703 in qualifying.
In the boys semifinals, Elizabethtown lost to Wilson, which fell to Pennsbury in the final.
• Philip Glatfelter covers scholastic bowling for LNP. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.