Article published Nov 13, 2008 - South Bend Tribune
PERFECT NIGHT FOR CLAY SENIOR ELLAM
It wasn't until his opponent faltered that Ben Ellam realized he could be perfect. Ellam, a senior and captain of the Clay High School bowling team, made history for his bowling team by throwing a 300 in a sanctioned match against Penn at Chippewa Bowl last week. Bowling since the age of four, the beginning of the match was just like another day at the alley for Ellam. He and his opponent squared off and went pin for pin, dropping strikes one after another until the eighth frame. With only two frames left to finish, Ellam watched as his foe left an open frame. He wanted to take advantage of the mistake and grab the lead in the competition. As easy as his first seven strikes, Ellam delivered yet another perfect ball. However, it was when Ellam returned to wait to pitch his next ball, reality finally sank in on him. "I just wanted to beat him," said Ellam. "He missed in the eighth and I really started to think about it. "What Ellam realized was that he was a few more rolls away from a perfect game. "I knew I had a great shot -- I wasn't too worried," said Ellam. "Everyone else seemed more nervous than me. "Unlike a baseball team that shies away from pitcher with the no-hitter, Ellam's teammates kept things as usual. And it was this sort of strategy that helped him through the first seven frames, so Ellam stuck with it. He was focused more on keeping up with his opponent, so that he really did not think about how good he was doing in the overall match. So now with things getting more tense, a little chatter from the team helped him keep his mind off the situation. As the final frame arrived, and a soft alley, Ellam approached his lane and blew up the pocket. Two quick strikes with one remaining. On his final ball, Ellam found himself with a moment of doubt as he threw his last shot. "There was one pin that wobbled and I didn't think it was going to fall. It was like it was in slow motion," recalled Ellam. "I started walking away, I thought it was going to stay up. I watched out of the corner of my eye as I turned. "The pin did finally fall and Ellam was perfect. "I was relieved, glad it was over with," said Ellam. "This was my second 300, but it was sanctioned, so this one was better. It counted for something. "With a perfect game under his belt during sanctioned play, Ellam has it in the back of his mind about rolling another each time he steps to the hardwood and looks down the lane. "I think about it all the time. It's all I think about until I miss one," joked Ellam. "Then I just relax and bowl. I am good for this year. I got it out of the way. "His real goal for the remainder of the year is to help his team to a fourth consecutive conference title.