Strike King

Rich Kastner Jr. achieved a bowling feat recently never accomplished in Hernando County: two straight perfect games.

By Derek J. LaRiviere, Times Correspondent
Published February 19, 2008

SPRING HILL -- There is a history of stellar bowlers in Hernando County. Many of the county records for high series and average seem almost untouchable, so it's even more impressive when someone achieves a feat on the lanes that no one else had done before.

A little more than two months ago, Rich Kastner Jr., 34, was the latest to blaze a new trail. Competing in the Joni Classic League on Thursday night at Spring Hill Lanes, Kastner tossed consecutive perfect games for the first time in county history.

"The truth is that I threw pretty well in the first game, but I needed some lucky strikes in the second one," Kastner said.

"It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, that's for sure."

Kastner has been bowling for more than half his life, when he began competing in bowling centers at 16.

His father, Rich Sr., introduced him to the sport when they competed in a league together. Kastner still competes on the same team with his father and mother to this day. But that night, teammates, opponents and peers alike stood back in awe of the groove Kastner was in.

Leading off the evening, Kastner was already fine tuning his shot, and it was evident in his results on the lanes. He led the night off with 25 consecutive strikes coming out of practice.

His three perfect games this season put him first in the county in that category. If he was able to wrap up the season that way, it would make him the third different bowler in three seasons to lead the county in USBC-sanctioned 300s, joining Jay Olsen 2006 and Jason Mahr (2007).

"It's pretty cool to do something that no one else has done," Kastner said. "You try not to think along those lines when it's going on, but sometimes it just happens."

Although he stumbled a little in his final game, Kastner was still able to wrap up his second career 800 series with an 808 scratch pin total, a career high. His perfect game career total now is at 11.

With all of the elite feats tackled in county history, including 11 different series totals of 830 or more, Kastner maintains his title now as the first bowler ever to throw 24 consecutive strikes in a series. The effects of such an effort reach the entire bowling community.

Take Mahr, the county record holder for high series, high season average, most career perfect games and most county average titles, for example. Mahr, holder of all those records, was impressed by Kastner's showing.

"That was just an amazing accomplishment," Mahr said. "To shoot so many strikes right out of that gate like that makes it all the more impressive."

Got a local athlete doing well in his recreational sport? Then contact Community Sports Editor Mike Camunas at mcamunas@sptimes.com or call (352) 544-9480.


Rich Kastner

Age: 34

Lanes: Spring Hill

League: Joni Classic

Perfect games: 11

Strike streak: 25

Did you know?: Kastner's strike streak started in practice, but he had 24 straight in regulation, which makes him the first bowler to throw 24 consecutive strikes in a series.