Miami Christian’s Igar Rodriguez bowled four games in qualifying rounds, followed by 3 1/2 hours of team play in the Baker bracket and finally individual matches for a total of 13 hours of bowling at state on Wednesday.
He still had enough left in the tank when Miami Christian needed him to bowl a strike on the final frame in a loser’s bracket match with Merritt Island Edgewood to stave off elimination and advance to compete on Thursday.
The Miami Christian boys and Coral Springs Charter girls are still competing in the Baker after their efforts at state bowling on Wednesday at Boardwalk Bowl in Orlando.
The Victors had their elimination match with Edgewood come down to the final game, and Rodriguez threw a strike to get them a 188-183 victory in the decisive fifth game to advance to a match with Oviedo Hagerty early Thursday.
“He’s been ready for this. He practices every day, a bunch of games,” Miami Christian coach Amado Yaniz said. “He’s the type of player that any coach would want to have. He gives everything he’s got on every shot.”
Miami Christian reached that point by first qualifying as the No. 15 seed, upsetting second-seeded Martin County and dropping a match with Park Vista to slip into the loser’s bracket.
Coral Springs Charter was not short on drama either.
The Panthers had an elimination match with Jupiter also come down to a final game that they won 212-203. They won the second game with a nine-pin ninth-and-10th frame bowl-off victory when they finished tied after 10 frames. That put them up 2-0 in the match, and then they bounced back after dropping the third and fourth.
“They weren’t ready to go home,” Coral Springs Charter coach Nelson Martin said. “They had something to prove. They wanted everybody to know that we belong there.”
The Panthers, behind Julia Galang who just missed the individual cut by finishing 19th, qualified with a team score of 3,392 — good enough for the No. 8 seed in the Baker. They won their opening match with Sebring before falling to No. 1 seed Winter Park Circle Christian and will face Palm Bay Bayside early Thursday following the win against Jupiter.
The two Dade County boys to qualify in the individual bracket were each eliminated by Ben Hardin, a member of the 20-and-under Team USA who bowls for Tampa Prep.
Hardin took down Rodriguez and Killian’s Carlos Forero in back-to-back matches. The fourth-seeded Rodriguez won his first-round match 2-0 before dropping his second to set up the match with the sixth-seeded Hardin. Forero, the No. 8 seed in individuals, also swept his first-round match, then fell to Apopka’s Panagiotis Vergos before besting Kevin Markowitz of Fort Pierce Central.