Newcomerstown resident Leman Clark can sizzle a mean steak behind the grill at his Cy Young Lanes but on March 11, Clark sizzled the lanes instead by bowling two perfect games in one evening to step into the ranks of bowling legend.
Clark's first 300 came in his second game while bowling his team in the Strikes and Spares League. He also had games of 223 and 200 for a 723 series. He then participated in a city tournament and began that series with his second perfecta of the night. Games of 182 and 268 gave the 45-year bowling veteran, who's been at it since he was six years old, a 750 series.
Upon nailing his last shot to complete the Double Dip, Clark said, "I was in just total disbelief. I blocked it out of my mind as much as I could and then it just sunk in all at once when the pins went down."
Clark said there was some pressure during the first 300, but noted "I definitely felt more pressure for the second one but not until late in the game, maybe around the eighth or ninth frame. I've been doing this long enough not to get too excited until the very end. I didn't feel too much pressure by telling myself it wasn't for a sanctioned league game. But by the last frame, I got weak in the knees because I knew I was that close to a second one and it's very rare to get."
When asked if he felt any of his throws for either game felt off but was fortunate to have all the pins go down anyway, Clark said, "I have to say every throw felt good. They all hit the pocket perfect, even the last one when the pressure was really on. I knew those bad boys were going down!"
To add some intensity, the crowd level was significant since league play had just wrapped up while the city tournament was getting underway.
"It felt fine as far as the atmosphere. Most bowlers in other lanes know that when a 300 game is in the works near-by to just keep bowling as usual so as to not disrupt the flow. Others in the crowd just watched but I didn't really notice them."
The two games marked the third and fourth perfect marks of Clark's bowling career. The first was September 28, 1998, and the second was November 21, 2005. He currently uses a 16-pound, Lane 1 high performance ball.
The occurrence marked the first time two perfect games were rolled on the same night by the same person in the 46 1/2 year history of Cy Young Lanes, which was founded by Clark's father and two partners as Emerald Lanes in October 1962.