ESCANABA - The Escanaba boys A team came on strong Saturday after absorbing its first loss this season, topping Gladstone 36-4 in its own bowling invitational.
Esky opened with a 24-16 loss to undefeated Ishpeming prior to its conquest of the Braves at Bowl-A-Rama Lanes.
"Ishpeming has a solid team and we struggled," said Esky coach Rick Neumann. "We just missed a lot of easy spares. This was a good eye-opener for the guys. Now, they know they need to bowl better if they want to take the U.P. title."
The Eskymos started slowly against Gladstone, but appeared to pick up their game as the match progressed.
Desmond Meintz rolled a 527 series, including a 221 game while helping the Eskymos improve to 6-1 in the Upper Peninsula Bowling League. Tim Lueneburg hit a 223 game and Jack Pouliot added a 203.
John Hammer hit a 505 series and 206 game for Gladstone, which at times held its own against the more experienced Eskymos.
"Some of our kids are bowling for the first time this year," said Braves' coach Jeff Lueneburg. "This is bit of a learning curve. We have only three who bowled before high school bowling. We also have only 10 kids on our team. If somebody gets sick, we have nobody to fill in."
Gladstone, which bowled as a club team last season, beat L'Anse 28-12 in Saturday's opener.
"Everything is still the same, except kids can now earn a letter and compete in the state tournament," said Lueneburg. "The boys are winning a little more this year, although they were missing some spares today."
Gladstone's Tyler Corwin recorded a 506 series and Hammer added a 460 against the Purple Hornets.
The Esky A girls improved to 6-1 by topping Iron Mountain B (37-3) and Menominee (35-5).
Esky's Taylor Cordy hit a 543 series and Trisha Neumann rolled a 215 game against Menominee. Neumann recorded a 474 series and Cathy Pomeroy had 465 against the Mountaineers.
"Our A girls have been pretty consistent as a team," said Neumann. "Yet, all four of our teams missed a lot of easy spares. There's always pressure to bowl good at home. Everybody wants to do well in front of their friends and families."
The Esky B girls (2-4) dropped a 22-18 decision to Marquette, but bounced back with a 24-16 triumph over L'Anse.
Esky's Hannah Kareckas bowled a personal-best 490 series and 198 games against Marquette and added a 334 series against L'Anse. Marissa LaPointe had a 339 series in the nightcap.
The Gladstone girls bowed to Menominee 37-3 and Iron Mountain White 23-14. Audrey Strom hit a 379 and Haley Lucier rolled 352 against the Mountaineers. Strom also led in the opener with 353, followed by Lucier at 329.
The Esky B boys (1-4-1) tied with Westwood 20-20 and fell to Marquette B 27-13. Peter Hart had a 479 series against Marquette and 428 against Westwood. Todd Rose had 474 against Marquette.
Bowlers seemed to enjoy the outing, often socializing and exchanging high fives and thumbs-up signals with teammates and opponents after recording strikes and cleaning up splits and spares.
"This is so much different from many other sports," said Neumann. "In some of the other sports you're on opposite sides of the field or court. Here, you're right next to your opponents and you're friends all day long."
Both area schools resume Saturday, with Esky visiting Marquette and Gladstone traveling to L'Anse.