From an eighth grade manager to a senior singles champion and part of four state championship teams, it’s been a pretty nice five-year run for Brother Martin’s Cody Schaffer.
Schaffer, the No. 2 seed with a 224 average, bowled a four-game series of 211-257-213-245 for a 926 total to capture the boys’ singles event of the recently concluded LHSAA State Bowling Championship held in Baton Rouge.
He also helped lead Brother Martin to another state championship.
“The was awesome,” Schaffer said of winning the singles title. “The format is crazy – four games. Anything can happen in four games. All the scores are really tight at first. After two games, I was in 20th place. Then I shot 213 and 245 and I managed to get into first.”
After that, it was just a matter of doing what needed to be done to win it all.
“The whole time, I knew I had a shot,” said Schaffer. “On my look at the lanes, I had a lead of about 10 pins and stuff like that. I made a few minor adjustments. I took a half-step back on the approach and moved half-a-board right. I finally had a really nice look at the pocket the last game, unfortunately, I did throw a bad shot
“Everybody else was finished, so I knew what needed. I need to basically strike out to have a chance at winning. I got to the 10th frame, so it was either strike or lose. My first shot my 10th frame, I threw a perfect strike. It might have been a little high because I had a 7-9 up for a second and one pin came and took them both and that’s when I knew I could win this thing.”
“Cody was one of my managers in his eighth grade year. After his eighth grade year, he came on the team and was high average on the team for the last four years. Individually, he will give you everything you want. He can be as good as he wants to be,” Brother Martin coach Bruce Himbert said.
Led by Schaffer and Brennan Brouilette, who bowled 258-206-142-277 for an 883 total and a fifth-place finish, Brother Martin captured another state title.
Other members of the state championship team from Brother Martin included Drew Gardner, Hunter Dunn, Will Oertling and Brandon Bonvillion.
Brother Martin went in as the No. 2 seed and defeated Catholic League rival Rummel, the No. 21 seed, 21-6 to capture the team title. Rummel defeated the No. 12, 5 and 4 seeds before knocking off top-seeded Central of Baton Rouge 20-7 in the semifinals.
“Let’s put it this way, it never gets old. We’ve won in four of the last five years, so it’s really been fun. It’s a nice ride,” said Himbert.
Brother’s Martin’s success is certainly no secret.
“We’ve been pretty lucky. We’ve have everybody come to us. Brother Martin, when I bowled there back in the late ’70s and ’80s, we were good back then. We had all the good kids coming to us and it’s the same situation. Evidently, they see we are winning and bowlers want to come. I’ve not had to worry about rebuilding, it’s like reloading,” said Himbert.
As Brother Martin reloads for next year after losing five seniors, Schaffer will continue his career at Spring Hill College in Mobile.
“If he wants to continue after his college years at Springhill, he will be a person out on the tour bowling. He’s that good,” Himbert said of Schaffer.
Further evidence of the Catholic League’s dominance in bowling came with a second-place finish by Jesuit’s Jake Stiegler. Stiegler bowled 245-222-234-200 for a 901 total.
Stiegler, who went in as the No. 33 seed with a 193 average, said he knew what to expect after taking part in the event a year ago as a junior.
“Last year I qualified and I went in with three of my teammates and I was third on my team average-wise,” Stiegler said. “I went in and they kind of showed me the Baton Rouge run lanes and by the end of the four matches, I was 30-something or 40-something of the qualifying participants.
“This year, once I got to Baton Rouge, I was on the practice lanes and I threw a strike shot and I liked the way it felt on the lanes. I went with that the first game. A couple of strikes hit and I just ran with that strike shot and it worked for the majority of the games. I had to adjust a little bit but I was in the zone more than usual and it worked out that day.”
Stiegler said he went in not thinking he would finish in the top five, let alone come away with a runner-up finish.
“I believe my strike shots,” Stiegler said of the key to his success. “I was hitting light so the pin action at Baton Rouge was helping me a lot. My strike shots, instead of getting 10 pins like I normally would or spares that I could possibly miss, pins were falling for me. After I threw strike shots, I guess I found the correct shot and I ran with it.
“I can throw it consistently. It’s just that my shot doesn’t have enough pin action compared to other people but once I find a shot, I can run with it. That one allowed me to stay in about a 220 almost every game.”