By MATT SCHUCKMAN
Herald-Whig Sports Editor
With his night complete and most of the people who had been congratulating him moving on, Earl Griffin started putting on his shoes and packing up his belongings.
That's when he heard over the loudspeaker inside the Tangerine Bowl someone had matched his score.
So Griffin had to check it out.
Four lanes or so away from the spot where Griffin had just rolled the second 300 game of his career, Scott Michaels had just completed his third perfect game. Michaels sweated for a moment as the 7 pin teetered but didn't fall in the 10th frame.
"It was just sitting there," Michaels said.
Not for long.
"It just kind of fell forward," Michaels said.
That got everyone, including Griffin, excited again.
"I ran down and called him a darn copycat," Griffin said with a hearty laugh. "He took the spotlight from me."
Actually, they were happy to share it.
Their feat is quite unique. Bowling in the Thursday night men's league on Jan. 10, Griffin and Michaels each waited until the third game of their series to roll their masterpiece. Jerry Ulrich, manager of the Tangerine Bowl, said it is rare for two bowlers to roll 300 games on the same night during league play.
It's been done before, Ulrich said, although no names immediately came to mind.
That simply adds to the mystique of the moment.
Michaels, who is from Hannibal, Mo., admitted to watching Griffin draw close to his perfect game and would have been one of the bowlers to hurry up in congratulating him. He had his own perfect game and a growing crowd to worry about.
"They get pretty loud when you throw that 10th ball," Michaels said. "You leave the 10 pin or something and it's just, ‘Awww...' throughout the place."
Griffin, who is 57 years old and has been bowling since he was eight, noticed how those on the lanes nearest someone on the verge of a 300 tend to gawk a little more.
"It used to be everyone around you would just stop," Griffin said. "Now, they keep moving. They just slow down."
After several near misses -- Griffin estimates he's bowled seven or eight games of 290 -- he finally rolled his first perfect game in the city tournament last February. It didn't take long get a second one.
"Once I got to the 10th frame, I was like, ‘OK, I got it. Just stay with it,'" Griffin said. "And you know, it worked out."
That was much different scenario from his first 300 game.
"My legs were like spaghetti," Griffin said.
This time, the pins seemed that way, especially in the 10th frame.
"When I threw it, I thought I had it," Griffin said. "But the 10 pin was wobbling, and I wasn't sure anything would knock it down. Then here came that pin around and took it out. It was slow motion. I didn't think it was ever going to fall over."
That's just how Michaels felt about his 7 pin.
It was just another odd coincidence on a rather unique night.
That's a fact neither bowler will soon forget.
"Pretty awesome," Griffin said. "Pretty awesome."