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Mar 15, 2022

Middletown North Boys’ Bowling Team Clinches Division Title

By Tim Morris

Joe Trezza was not surprised that the Middletown High School North boys’ bowling team captured the division title this winter. With the team’s top bowler, Anthony Vales, back along with two other experienced returners, the Lions’ head coach expected his team to be in the hunt, if not the team to beat. What Trezza didn’t expect was the way Lions dominated en route to capturing the Shore Conference B North Division championship.

The Lions won the division title with a near-perfect 51-3 record (after starting off 6-3) that beat distanced runner-up Red Bank Regional (34-20) by 17 games. Middletown North’s team game average of 752 was 70 pints better that RBR’s 682.

While Trezza didn’t see his team running away with the title, he pointed out that everything fell in place for his bowlers.

“Anytime you have the best bowler in the league, that’s good,” he said. “Anthony is our only senior and a four-year starter. He has a tremendous upside. He’s a very powerful bowler. He was so consistent the entire season which really helped. He has been our anchor the last two years. He thrives on pressure.”

While Vales delivered with his consistency and clutch play, it was the improvement of juniors Dan Pitzer and Eddy Beza that solidified the lineup.

“Both really progressed,” noted Trezza. “I knew they would be in the rotation. Dan was our glue in the middle.”

Beza went second in the five-bowler lineup while Pitzer was right in the middle in the third spot.

What separated the Lions from the rest and led to their domination were two freshmen: Shamar Ellis, who bowled lead-off, and Anthony Cerbo, who was fourth in the lineup.

“They filled the holes in the lineup,” Trezza said. “They were very important to the team. They really stepped up.”

Vales, who followed in the footsteps of his brother, Mike (they were teammates when Anthony was a freshman and Mike a senior) provided leadership as well as consistency to the Lions’ championship effort.

“Anthony is very competitive,” Trezza pointed out. “That rubbed off on the kids. He wants to be the high scorer, wants the pressure. The others watched him and responded.”

Vales bowled all 54 games for Middletown North with a 192 average. His high three-game series of 645 was the best in B North for the season. He had a single game high of 255 that ranked third in the division. He finished 13th at the Monmouth County Tournament and 17th at the Shore Conference. In his four years at North, the Lions won 140 games.

Cerbo had a high game of 238 and averaged 154 for the season. Pitzer averaged 147 with a 227 high, and Ellis averaged 138 with a high game of 232. Pitzer placed 25th at the county championship. Beza averaged 131.

Junior Ryder Davis and sophomore Owen Kaoen also gained experience this season, which will help next year when the team has four returning starters.

North’s bowlers have one thing in common, which Trezza said explains why the program has maintained a winning tradition over the years.

“A lot of our bowlers are very connected with their parents. They bowl in leagues with them,” said Trezza. “They come here with experience.”

That experience translates to success on the high school bowling alleys.