Bowling Format Left for Dead

Bowling Format Left for Dead by Ed Cotter


A bowling format that was alive and well in adult bowling, years ago, was the Baker format.  Brunswick sponsored a tour event emphasizing this format.  Now the only levels that use the Baker format are high school and collegiate programs.  The adult version is non-existent.  I did a web search for the Brunswick Baker tournament.  I received thousands of hits.  I searched through a few pages and noted a common theme.  Care to guess how many results didn’t reference high school or college bowling?  The first two guesses don’t count.  Zero.  It would take considerable effort to find the information.


The Baker format emphasizes individual performance as a team, not 5 individuals grouped together as a team.  Each bowler bowls two frames within the game.  The first bowler bowls the 1st and 6th frames.  The second bowler bowls the 2nd and 7th frames.  The third bowler bowls the 3rd and 8th frames.  The fourth bowler bowls the 4th and 9th frames.  The fifth bowler bowls the 5th and 10th frames.  The frames are bowled on the same lane, no cross lane during the game, like there is in league play.


All high school and college programs have the Baker format as part of their competitions.  In Maine, the high school competitions consist of 2 individual games bowled head-to-head with a bowler from a competing school.  The 5 individual games are added together for a team score for each game.  Then each team bowls one Baker format game against the competing school.  College programs have tournaments that are completely Baker format.


3 years ago, I created the brain child of a high school Baker format tournament, varsity and JV, for the Northern region schools; Bangor, Brewer, Carrabec, Central, Hampden Academy, Hermon, Home School Co-op, Madison, Nokomis, and Skowhegan.  The tournament is held the Thursday before Christmas vacation at Family Fun Lanes in Bangor, ME.  Each year we have had 19-20 teams.  I have heard from everyone involved that they enjoy the tournament and look forward to it each year.


This year I added a wrinkle to the tournament.  The varsity tournament champion competed against a team of coaches for one fun game.  I was told by many that this was a great twist and should do it with future tournaments.


The results from this year’s Baker tournament are as follows:


Semi-final round:

Skowhegan def Home School Co-op

Hermon def Nokomis


Championship Round:

Skowhegan def Hermon


The fun game:

Skowhegan defeated the coaches


Junior Varsity

Semi-final round:

Skowhegan JV A def Nokomis JV A

Skowhegan JV B def Carrabec JV A


Championship Round:

Skowhegan JV A def Skowhegan JV B


I have talked with Andy Meucci about hosting a Baker Tournament for adults.  He likes the idea, especially anything that can generate more interest in bowling.  My question to the bowling community is this; would you be interested in bowling in this type of a tournament?  I’d be interested in hearing everyone’s thoughts on this. 


Comments to this blog are always welcome.

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