First time is the charm for 12-year-old bowling standout

Troy bowler Baylie Massingill is the 2021 Junior Gold girls 12-and-under champion. CONTRIBUTED
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Troy bowler Baylie Massingill is the 2021 Junior Gold girls 12-and-under champion. CONTRIBUTED

Baylie Massingill of Troy wins title at Junior Gold Championships

Bright lights, television cameras, broadcast announcers and spectators – none of it appeared to rattle Baylie Massingill but looks can be deceiving.

“I was trying to stay pretty calm but, in my head, I was freaking out,” Massingill said with a smile.

In her first appearance at the Junior Gold Championships, the 12-year-old Troy bowler handled the pressure and the competition as Massingill edged out Larielle Tharps, of Orlando, Fla, 201-184, to take the girls U12 titlein Indianapolis on July 17. More than 2,900 United States Bowling Congress youth members competed in six different Indianapolis-area centers for their share of the largest scholarship fund in tournament history – $502,100.

Baylie, who had only competed on a sport shot a handful of times, was put to the test from Day 1 as the U12 competitors faced four different challenging shots over the first four days of the tournament. At the end of the 16-game qualifying, she was in fifth place, easily making the cut to the top 14.

“Her motion is so smooth,” her mom Megan said. “She has so much natural ability.”

Her dad Jason, a bowler himself, can attest to his daughter’s skill on the lanes.

“Her form is a lot better than mine,” Jason said, smiling.

The Troy seventh grader won all three of her matches in the double-elimination bracket to earn the No. 1 seed for the BowlTV.com televised stepladder finals on Saturday.

“When I got there, I was shaking, I was so nervous,” Baylie said. “I told myself, ‘just make your spares and you’ll be okay.”

Massingill did just that, staying clean through the first four frames before rolling her first strike of the match in the fifth frame. She was facing a familiar foe in Tharps, who Massingill had beaten in match play on Friday.

Tharps finished first in the championship match with a 184 and Massingill started doing the math.

“I kept track of the score, I had all the math going in my head,” she said. “I knew exactly what I needed.”

What she needed was a mark in the 10th frame. She did one better, throwing a pair of strikes. Massingill, again, kept calm.

“I knew I had won after I threw the first one, but I tried to keep my cool,” she said. “Just walked back and threw the next ball.”

It wasn’t until after the final ball was thrown that the celebration began.

“To win this in my first time is just mind-blowing,” she said.

Junior Gold Top Local Finishers

Girls

Baylie Massingill, Troy – U12 winner

Kayleigh McMullen, Troy – U18 match play first round

Mikayla Blair, Springfield – U18 final advancers round

Hannah Rearick, Lebanon – U18 final advancers round

Boys

Andrew Parker, Miamisburg – U12 final advancers round

Brendan Salo, Dayton – U18 final advancers round

Justin Bartholomew, Dayton – U20 matchplay final round