JACKSON, Mich. (AP) -- By the last frame, everyone at Airport Lanes was watching Robby Portalatin.
It's not often something like this comes along -- the chance at a 900 series.
Portalatin had rolled two straight perfect games and was now on the verge of a third.
"I was nervous but everybody just kept talking to me," he told the Detroit Free Press. "And I kept taking it slow and easy."
He took it easy, all right, and the 28-year-old worker for an auto parts company delivered his 36th strike in a row Thursday night. He is only the fourth bowler to accomplish the feat, according to the American Bowling Congress.
The crowd at the 60-lane alley began screaming, patting his back and shaking his hand.
"It really hasn't sunk in yet," Portalatin told The Jackson Citizen Patriot. "It's kind of like Mark McGwire hitting his 62nd home run."
Portalatin, who lives in Jackson, averages 230 in six leagues. Before this week, he had eight career 300 games. The left-hander rolled an 805 series the night before, almost matching his previous high of 814.
Portalatin felt fortunate to get the second perfect game. He thought he didn't stand a chance with his final shot.
"I just threw a terrible ball," he said. "I went wide with it, and it just hooked back."
On his 11th ball in the third game, his shot was a little wide but it carried lightly into the pocket. He closed with a solid ball in the pocket on Lane 34.
"I was so happy," he said. "The pressure was gone."
The others to reach the magic 900 number were Jeremy Sonnenfeld (1997) in Lincoln, Neb., Tony Roventini (1998) in Milwaukee and Vince Wood (1999) in Moreno Valley, Calif. Roventini, like Portalatin, is a left-hander.
"Sometimes it takes a particular incident to make a player realize how good he is to produce a breakthrough in tournament play," said Mel Wolf, a regular on the Senior Professional Bowlers Association Tour. "Obviously, this could be it for Robby."
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