Bowling for Success

It was the 5th inning against a tough team in Lodi as Glen Rock was on a winning streak at 8-0 in April of 2017. Lodi was one of the better teams in the division and it was one of the first tough games on the slate for Glen Rock as their varsity baseball team has had a winning pedigree the past few years. With Lodi up 5-3; Matt Carbone, Glen Rock Varsity pitcher and 3rd baseman, had some doubts about getting a win as the game was back and forth from the start. But with his triple, as he was first at-bat in the 5th, he was a big contributor to Glen Rock’s win against Lodi as GR kept their winning streak alive, going 8-0 to start their season. Matt Carbone stated after his big hit in the 5th that started the comeback, “I was just trying to get on base but that hit was what we needed at the point and it was satisfying to get that win” he stated as, after his hit, they were up 8-5 in the 6th inning as they held their lead against Lodi (Carbone). This game was one of his most memorable in his long baseball career, as he played ever since he was 4 years old and went up the ranks through junior varsity as he bumped up to varsity as a senior in high school. Throughout middle school, he was more into playing baseball because if he chose hockey, another sport he was into; it would be riskier financially and health-wise due to injuries.
Matt was also involved in club baseball, recognized as a designated hitter for the NJIC Colonial first team in 2017 (NJIC). His dad, was the biggest influence in his interest in baseball as he grew up as big New York Yankees fan as his favorite player was 3rd baseman Alex Rodriguez growing up. As an automotive major in college, he relates playing baseball or bowling to driving a car on a highway as one has to know how to keep the composure while getting to the final destination (goal) and winning is a process and takes patience (like driving to a destination). Having a short memory in a game is also something Matt takes away from bowling/ playing baseball as one cannot let a bad throw or hit stall the progression in the game and one has to move on as quickly as possible to do what is best for the team to win.
Early in his baseball career, Matt’s most reliable pitch was a cut fastball but after his first game in club baseball pitching as a junior, he recognized that he relied on it too much that cost his team a loss or two. After these bad losses early in the season, Matt had to change it up and work on the other aspects of his pitching with his coach and strengthened his other pitches. As the season went on, this paid dividends as Matt pitched a game where he was a big part of why they beat one of the better baseball teams in northern New Jersey. He never was down on himself and even though the coach was close to benching him the 2nd loss, he decided against it and knew the competition with the other team pitchers would make Matt refine his game. After his junior year, he was the definite starting pitcher as he stepped up to the challenge and was one of the reasons he was named the captain for his club team. He used that teaching moment and applied it to his Glen Rock junior varsity and varsity baseball teams. This applied to bowl as well as he switched from a one hand bowler to two hands and excelled at both by watching YouTube on both techniques. His senior year before the bowling season, he even tried to improve his lefty bowling skills as he was mainly a righty and even though it was rough from the start, his versatility as a bowler helped him out as he did this a few times in certain situations.
Now at Penn College of Technology, Matt is graduating this year, getting his Associates degree in Applied Sciences for automotive (Honda PACT). He knew he would not try to pursue baseball in college as the three-year program at Penn College would be easier than the baseball route, despite the talent. If he did get the chance the play baseball though, he would take that opportunity. Even though Matt did like playing 2nd base with the responsibility it headlines, 3rd base suited him more with his strengths as someone with a strong arm as the “hot corner”. With baseball season in the spring and summer, he needed another sport to condition his arm as a pitcher for Glen Rock.
When someone brought up that Glen Rock had a junior varsity and varsity bowling team when Matt was a junior, it was no surprise when it piqued his interest as he never bowled in his life before that point. Before that, he had been using pickup games of football as the main outlet to condition his arm but that led to some injuries so he needed another sport in the offseason. Starting at junior varsity, Matt picked up bowling well as it helped his pitching overall with accuracy and strength. With the overall progression of getting better, Matt was good enough to be one of the captains as he started watching pro bowlers (that were similar to his 2 handed style of bowling) like Jason Belmonte, Osku Palermaa, Jesper Svensson, Anthony Simonson. As for someone who joined the bowling team to meet new people and have fun, bowling over 200 most games is certainly a feat.
One of his most memorable moments as a bowler was when he led Glen Rock in an All-Bergen County bowling tournament in January of 2017. Although Glen Rock did not win the tournament, Matt had a personal best bowling game so far, bowling 280 and had 10 straight strikes to end the day as the top afternoon bowler and led Glen Rock with the best game on the team. He was part of the Panthers bowling team that had their best finish as runner ups for Groups 1-2 since 2013. One reporter asked Matt, captain of the bowling team, what he thought of his performance during the tournament: “We shot for 800 each game, and we got two 1,000s, so we were all very shocked and all very proud of that score (Tartaglia)". He was an honorable mention for All-Bergen County Boys Bowling team his senior year. As he grew as a bowler between his junior and senior, he grew as a baseball player and stepped up to varsity as a key part for their winning season in 2017.
Even though bowling and baseball are pretty different sports, the similarities they both have was one of the reasons why Matt wanted to do both in high school and with his special arm talent, he knew he would excel and show growth his senior year on varsity after spending his junior year on junior varsity. Whether it was a varsity or club baseball game that had big implications or a bowling tournament that had high stakes, his pre-game routine stayed the same and his goal always did the best he can. Even though it started off as a Glen Rock baseball tradition, Matt brought it over to bowling as they usually blasted “I'm shipping up to Boston” by Drop Kick Murphy. “It gets up pumped up and got us ready to compete,” Matt said as the bowling team usually did not play music before a tournament. This song is also used when he trains in the spring for baseball with his friends and in the locker room before every game. When Matt made bowling his own, the rest of the bowlers revolved around in and the energy and competitiveness he brought before tournaments and even when they all bowl for fun. In terms of bowling and baseball, the drive never stops for Matt all season.
Even though Matt is not part of the Penn College baseball team, he still conditions his arm when he comes home. When he is on break or does work study from home, which is every other month as he works at the local Honda for his major/ job, Matt bowls at Bowlero (local bowling alley next to Glen Rock in Fair Lawn, NJ) almost every Wednesday the months he can and meets up with old bowling friends as they occasional go head to head in friendly games. As for baseball, he uses bowling as a winter sport to regularly strengthen his arm while in the fall/ spring, just throwing a football is enough to use for his arm as he usually practices his footwork and his windup (which is key for pitching). The leadership in him did not go away after high school sports and he still coordinates most of the get together for bowling in the winter and baseball in the summer. For him, not much in terms of sports training has changed years later.