Pearl City Sophomore Standout Just Bowled A Perfect Game

Chelsi Morishige

Chelsi Morishige

A relaxed air usually surrounds Chelsi Morishige as she goes about her day. When the Pearl City sophomore steps on to the bowling alley, however, her assertive side takes over.

“When it comes to bowling, I guess you could say I’m aggressive – I hear that from others most of the time,” said Morishige. “I’m kind of shy (normally). I stay focused on my bowling. That’s basically how I bowl every day. I really enjoy it. Bowling is the first sport I actually started, and I like bowling with my friends.”

Morishige has emerged as something of a natural in the sport. Last November, she helped Pearl City High win a third consecutive state bowling tournament “team” title. She also claimed the individual state title with a total pin fall of 1,747. On March 8, Morishige had another day to remember when she bowled a perfect game at a Leeward Junior Bowling Club match.

Although she’s been bowling at a high level for years, that accomplishment at Leeward Bowl took Morishige by surprise. “No, not at all,” Morishige said when asked if she had anticipated a perfect game. “Around the seventh frame, I realized I had a chance to actually shoot it. I became nervous around the ninth or 10th frame. My coach (Dave Kajihiro) wasn’t there in the beginning. He came by in the seventh frame and was calming me down and telling me to stay aggressive. If he wasn’t there, I would have been even more nervous than I was. I want to thank him, my family and all of the people who supported me.”

Pearl City head coach Millie Gomes wasn’t surprised to hear about Morishige’s perfect game. “She’s just awesome – a really good athlete,” Gomes said. “When she’s on the lane, she has different demeanor. She’s focused, and she has a game face.”

Morishige currently bowls three days a week. During the prep season, she bowls four days a week. With two years of high school eligibility remaining and a state title already to her credit, competing at the next level could be a possibility. “When I first started, I wasn’t as dedicated as I am now,” she said. “I just did it for fun. I was a decent bowler then. When I first joined a traveling team in 2011, I became more serious. If I could get a full ride (college scholarship), I’d think about continuing, but I’m not sure yet.”

She began bowling after watching older brothers Chase and Blaise compete. Her father, Greg, was the first to bowl in the family. “My mom (Sandi) and I would always be on the side watching my brothers, and I wanted to bowl like them. It went on from there.”

Morishige attributes her success over the past year in part to her commitment to mastering her mental approach to the game. At the end of her freshman season, she was disappointed with her finish at states. “I didn’t do too good – I think I finished 19th or 20th. The mental game got to me. Over the years, I’ve gotten way better (in mental preparation), and that’s how I’ve done pretty good (since).”

Topping a perfect game is no small feat, but Morishige said she will set her sights on throwing another one.

“That, and I’ll try to go for a 750 series,” she declared.