BOLINGBROOK — To say that the Plainfield North Boys Bowling Sectional at AMF Lanes in Bolingbrook was stacked is an understatement. With six of the top teams in the state vying for only two spots, the importance of being spot on became bigger than ever.
This was one of the many challenges the Minooka Indians faced on Saturday. Through it all, though, the Indians finished in second place, holding off Plainfield Central to grab the final spot for state, with Lockport winning the sectional by 49 pins over Minooka.
This is the third time under head coach Derrick Rapsky that the Indians will be making the trip down to O'Fallon to compete for a state title.
"This is probably the most talented team I've ever had," Rapsky said. "And to be honest, if this team didn't get down to state it basically would have been a disappointment."
Junior Zach Segatto was big for the Indians all day Saturday, as he bowled a combined 1411 over the six game stretch. In the final game, he struck out the 10th frame, clinching the state berth for his team.
"He's done that for us all year long," Rapsky said. "He did that in a tournament at Oswego earlier in the year. He's a great pressure bowler."
The big 10th frame also gave Segatto the individual sectional championship, edging Plainfield Central's Bryan Blair by 17 pins.
"It's a great feeling," Segatto said. "I came into the tournament planning on at least finishing in the top five to not only help me but my team get down to state."
This will be the second time Segatto heads down to state. As a sophomore last year, he went down as an individual, placing 30th overall. Although Segatto now knows what to expect down there, he also thinks it'll be more fun with his fellow teammates.
"I'm going to expect what I expected last year, and that's a lot of good teams and a lot of good individuals," he said. "I know it's going to be a lot more fun this year because although last year was fun, it wasn't as fun without my teammates."
Not all was good for Minooka on Saturday, though. After a strong first game of 1066 to put the Indians in second place, the Indians had a tough second game of 981, dropping them four spots to sixth. This resulted in Rapsky changing bowlers, as he threw in the southpaw sophomore Chris Dombrowski to replace junior Ryan Duggins, who had struggled in the previous game.
"We're around these guys all the time so we know what they can do. And in that third slot for us we just look at the lane conditions and say 'who has the best opportunity to score high for us today,'" Rapsky said. "After Duggins had a great first game, he couldn't pick up spares in the second, so we knew we had to switch to Chris."
This move ultimately would pay off for Minooka. Halfway through the sixth game, Dombrowski was struggling a little, which caused concern as the Indians were trying to fend off the Wildcats. Facing the pressure, the sophomore responded with a turkey, getting much needed pins for Minooka.
"It felt really good," Dombrowski said. "People have had some high expectations for me this year being left-handed, and I'm glad I showed my team and coaches what I can do."
"Chris did a phenomenal job finishing up for us today," Rapsky added. "If you were to put an MVP, sure Segatto shot what he shot, but Chris Dombrowski coming in and keeping it together was huge for us. If I could give anyone an MVP I'd sure give it to Chris Dombrowski."
Now that the Indians have clinched their spot, they feel poised and ready to go as they head down to O'Fallon Friday to compete for state glory.
"I feel like these guys have to have that experience of going down to state," Rapsky said. "At the beginning of the year we expected to be competing to go down to state. As the season went on, though, we felt that we had to go to state."