• 54°

Bowler rolls perfect game

Charles Williams of Redwood shows the form that gave him the sixth 300 game in the 40-year history of Red Carpet Lanes. (The Vicksburg Post/PAT SHANNAHAN)

[01/18/01] As Charles Williams started racking up strikes and getting closer and closer to his first 300 game last week, he was understandably a little nervous.

Luckily, he had some experience in his corner his opponent.

Williams rolled the sixth perfect game in the 40-year history of Red Carpet Lanes the fourth in the last two years during league play on Thursday while playing against the last person to bowl a 300 game in the alley, Jackie Strange. Strange rolled his perfect game in October.

“I told Jackie, The most I ever threw was eight in a row, but playing against a great bowler like you, it might inspire me to bowl better this time,’ ” Williams said with a laugh. “He told me, You better keep it up if you want to beat me out.’ So I felt like I had to bowl a perfect game.”

Williams, a 34-year-old table games dealer at Ameristar casino, has been bowling regularly for about four years, carries a respectable 180 average, and finished eighth in the 2000 state singles tournament. His best previous best game was a 258.

He began to get nervous after five or six strikes. That’s when Strange stepped in and gave Williams a few words of advice.

“When I got in my eighth frame, he said it’s just like starting over again, it’s just like being in the first frame again,” Williams said. “He said just breathe even, take your time, concentrate, and don’t get nervous on me. I did that and it helped me out.”

Although Strange lost the head-to-head match to Williams by a whopping 87 pins despite a solid 213 he said he was glad to help out.

“That first time you’re there, when you’re on that hot seat, it’s tough. The first time I got there, I didn’t have anybody,” said Strange, who rolled a 298 before he notched his 300.

Strange added he could tell after just a few frames that Williams had a chance at perfection.

“When he started striking, you could tell he was in a groove,” he said. “And when he got to the eighth frame, I knew he really could do it.”

With his rhythm and Strange’s help, Williams made it through the middle frames and to the 10th, needing three last strikes to reach 300. He hit the first two, then let the last ball go right down the pocket and in between the 1 and 3 pins, scattering them all.

“The 12th ball was as dead as it could be. You couldn’t have pictured it any better,” Strange said. “Everybody went bananas when he hit it. I left my seat as soon as it hit the floor, because I knew it was a perfect shot.”

Williams, a Redwood native, finished his perfect game just in time he left a split on the first ball of his next game. But his place in Vicksburg bowling lore was already secure, along with other 300 bowlers Strange, Todd Scallions (twice), John Toney and Scott Forrester.

“That was my first opportunity to get to that shot, and I always said if I get there, I’m going to throw my best ball,” Williams said. “And that’s what I did.”