Nine Days Later, Josh Blanchard Wins Second PBA Tour Title in Maine Shootout

by Bill Vint March 31, 2015 12:55

PORTLAND, Maine  – Nine days after winning his first Professional Bowlers Association Tour title in Germany, Josh Blanchard of Gilbert, Ariz., made it back-to-back titles, winning the PBA’s Xtra Frame Maine Shootout at Bayside Bowl Tuesday with a 2-1 victory over Australia’s Jason Belmonte in the best-of-three-game title match.

The Maine Shootout, the first PBA Tour event held in Maine, was a best-of-three-game, single-elimination match play tournament that was covered live on PBA’s exclusive online bowling channel, Xtra Frame.

Blanchard, fresh off his first career win in the Brunswick Euro Challenge, won five consecutive best-of-three-game matches, including a stunning Round of 64 decision over Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, on his way to the title. In his first match, Malott won the first game, 270-202, but the 2011-12 PBA Rookie of the Year then rallied for consecutive 258-256 victories to begin his march to the title. He then eliminated Greg Ostrander, Freehold, N.J., 2-0; Jason Sterner of Covington, Ga., 2-0; Bryon Smith of Roseburg, Ore., 2-0, and Osku Palermaa of Finland, 2-0, to reach the title match against the two-time reigning PBA Player of the Year where he won the first game, 243-180, lost the second, 204-234, and started with six strikes en route to a 249-211 in the deciding game..

“I just decided to stop trying to hook the ball,” Blanchard said of his career-changing strategy. “I decided I just don’t have the ball rotation to hook the ball with these guys, so I went back to playing it straight, and I think I’ll keep doing it for awhile.”

For his victory, Blanchard earned $10,000 and he denied Belmonte a third 2015 title.

The PBA Tour will resume competition May 9-17 in Shawnee, Okla., with Oklahoma’s Grand Casino Hotel and Resort PBA Summer Swing at Firelake Bowling Center and the Grand Casino Event Center. The Wolf, Bear, Badger and Oklahoma Open titles will be decided, along with a King of the Swing special event. Preliminary rounds will be covered line on Xtra Frame and the finals of all five events will air on CBS Sports Network on dates to be announced.

PBA XTRA FRAME MAINE SHOOTOUT
Bayside Bowl, Portland, Maine, March 31

Championship
Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz. ($10,000) def. Jason Belmonte, Australia ($6,000), 2-1 (243-180, 204-234, 249-211).

Semifinal Round (best of three games, losers earned $4,000)
Blanchard def. Osku Palermaa, Finland, 2-0 (255-247, 245-204).
Belmonte def. Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 2-1 (191-214, 226-198, 220-168).

Round of 8 (best of three games, losers earned $2,500)
Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., def. Dan MacLelland, Canada, 2-0 (214-209, 234-219).
Osku Palermaa, Finland, def. Dave Wodka, Beavercreek, Ohio, 2-1 (226-235, 242-225, 200-138).
Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz., def. Bryon Smith, Roseburg, Ore., 2-0 (257-201, 257-192).
Jason Belmonte, Australia, def. Tom Daugherty, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 2-0 (214-193, 257-201).

Round of 16 (best of three games, losers earned $1,500)
Smallwood def. Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., 2-0 (279-247, 207-191).
MacLelland def. Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 2-1 (237-258, 258-247, 195-177).
Palermaa def. Scott Moore, Lewiston, Maine, 2-0 (226-224, 212-191).
Wodka def. Joe Paluszek, Bensalem, Pa., 2-0 (259-222, 235-231).
Blanchard def. Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga., 2-0 (211-183, 217-183).
Smith def. E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 2-0 (221-181, 232-208).
Belmonte def. Eric Malone, Brewster, N.Y., 2-0 (191-171, 237-211).
Daugherty def. Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 2-0 (245-190, 249-218).

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16 Survivors Advance to Tuesday’s PBA Xtra Frame Maine Shootout Final Rounds

by Bill Vint March 30, 2015 14:05

PORTLAND, Maine – Sixteen players survived the opening two rounds of the Professional Bowlers Association’s Xtra Frame Maine Shootout at Bayside Bowl Monday, but four PBA Hall of Famers and four former PBA Players of the Year were sidelined in the first best-of-three-game, single-elimination matches.

The Maine Shootout, the first-ever PBA Tour event held in Maine, ends Tuesday when the 16 players who advanced from Monday’s competition will continue to bowl best-of-three matches until a winner is decided. All of the competition will be covered live on PBA’s exclusive online bowling channel, Xtra Frame.

In Monday’s opening round, four PBA Hall of Famers were eliminated in 2-0 matches: Jason Sterner of Covington, Ga., toppled Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo.; Rick Graham of Lancaster, Pa., ousted Parker Bohn of Jackson, N.J., 2-0; amateur Terrence Robinson of Gray, Maine, knocked out 47-time PBA Tour titlist Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Oxford, Fla., and Scott Norton of Mission Viejo, Calif., swept Venezuela’s Amleto Monacelli.

Former PBA Players of the Year also were eliminated, including Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, who was stunned by Josh Blanchard of Gilbert, Ariz. After beating Blanchard in game one, 270-202, Blanchard won back-to-back 258-256 decisions over Malott. EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., threw the day’s only 300 game on his way to a 2-1 verdict over Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C.; Tim Mack of Indianapolis stepped in for PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke, who withdrew due to a back injury, and dispatched Mika Koivuniemi of Hartland, Mich., 2-0, and Patrick Allen of Wesley Chapel, Fla., swept Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, 2-0.

Local favorite Scott Moore, an amateur from Gray, Maine, eliminated another former PBA Player of the Year, Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., 2-1, in the Round of 32. The final two PBA Players of the Year – two-time reigning POY Jason Belmonte of Australia and former POY Patrick Allen of Wesley Chapel, Fla. – each won their first two matches and advanced to Tuesday’s Round of 16.

PBA XTRA FRAME MAINE SHOOTOUT
Bayside Bowl, Portland, Maine, March 30 (all times Eastern)

Round of 32 (best of three games, single-elimination match play; winners advance to Round of 16, losers each earned $1,000)
Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., def. Craig Nidiffer, Trenton, Mich., 2-0 (216-190, 235-218).
Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., def. Rick Graham, Lancaster, Pa., 2-0 (201-189, 262-247).
Shawn Maldonado, Houston, def. John Szczerbinski, N. Tonawanda, N.Y., 2-1 (256-182, 185-199, 227-179).
Dan MacLelland, Canada, def. Terrence Robinson, Gray, Maine, 2-1 (228-181, 213-224, 232-187).
Osku Palermaa, Finland, def. Rhino Page, Orlando, Fla., 2-1 (212-247, 268-225, 185-182).
Scott Moore, Lewiston, Maine, def. Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 2-1 (236-213, 224-232, 208-195).
Joe Paluszek, Bensalem, Pa., def. Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., 2-0 (191-157, 236-168).
Dave Wodka, Beavercreek, Ohio, def. Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 2-1 (234-279, 288-213, 243-235).
Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga., def. Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 2-1 (268-223, 225-259, 204-169).
Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz., def. Greg Ostrander, Freehold, N.J., 2-0 (248-178, 196-139).
E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., def. Tim Mack, Indianapolis, 2-0 (232-164, 224-202).
Bryon Smith, Roseburg, Ore., def. Gary Faulkner Jr., Memphis, Tenn., 2-0 (205-197, 233-192).
Eric Malone, Brewster, N.Y., def. Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif., 2-0 (243-207, 227-208).
Jason Belmonte, Australia, def. Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 2-0 (181-140, 265-255).
Tom Daugherty, Wesley Chapel, Fla., def. Gary Haines, West Babylon, N.Y., 2-1 (226-226, 221-175, 232-220).
Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., def. Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 2-0 (214-203, 216-205).

Round of 64 (best of three games, losers eliminated)
Russell def. Martin Larsen, Sweden, 2-1 (217-218, 264-203, 233-187).
Sterner def. Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 2-0 (212-196, 222-208).
Blanchard def. Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 2-1 (202-270, 258-256, 258-256).
Ostrander def. Stuart Williams, England, 2-0 (257-178, 221-182).
Tackett def. Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 2-1 (213-244, 300-224, 246-236).
Mack def. Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 2-0 (236-206, 242-161).
Smith def. Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 2-1 (205-254, 215-201, 233-222).
Faulkner def. Jeremy Allen, Augusta, Maine, 2-0 (214-206, 210-149).
Nidiffer def. Dan Buchman, Maple Shade, N.J., 2-1 (195-188, 200-217, 234-184).
Pepe def. Jimmy Clark, Topsham, Maine, 2-0 (259-258, 229-223).
Graham def. Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 2-0 (207-191, 227-200).
Smallwood def. Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 2-1 (208-204, 209-212, 237-213).
Szczerbinski def. Charlie Mitchell, Portland, Maine, 2-0 (207-165, 235-133).
Maldonado def. Tim Gillick, Milford, Conn., 2-0 (217-213, 227-188).
MacLelland def. Richard Campbell, Phippsburg, Maine, 2-0 (219-166, 203-188).
Robinson def. Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 2-0 (219-203, 234-194).
Malone def. Dom Barrett, England, 1-1 (225-191, 190-199).
Norton def. Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 2-0 (191-146, 251-181).
Belmonte def. Tony Fernandez, Gorham, Maine, 2-0 (226-155, 213-199).
Shafer def. William Vidulich, Parsippany, NJ, 2-0 (224-135, 241-181).
Haines def. Jon VanHees, Charlestown, R.I., 2-1 (277-231, 194-221, 258-227).
Daugherty def. Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, 2-0 (197-162, 222-222).
Ciminelli def. Paul Bajorski, West Babylon, N.Y., 2-0 (204-198, 280-173).
P. Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., def. Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 2-0 (247-191, 179-177).
Page def. Stephen Babb, Augusta, Maine, 2-0 (245-144, 211-199).
Palermaa def. Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 2-0 (214-175, 220-185).
Rash def. Aaron Thiboutot, Brunswick, Maine, 2-1 (169-196, 235-149, 236-227).
Moore def. Sav Telesco, Stamford, Conn., 2-0 (186-179, 203-190).
Paluszek def. Justin Rollins, Sidney, Maine, 2-0 (191-150, 203-172).
Edwards def. Alex Aguiar, N. Dartmouth, Mass., 2-0 (224-158, 229-169).
Hess def. Mike DeVaney, Winchester, Calif., 2-1 (233-247, 238-205, 236-221).
Wodka def. Nicholas Wells, Newburgh, N.Y., 2-0 (221-158, 198-174).
  x-Mack replaced Norm Duke who withdrew due to injury.

TUESDAY, MARCH 31
10 a.m. – Round of 16 Squad A pairings (best-of-three-games; winners advance to Round of 8, losers earn $1,500 each)
Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., vs. Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich.
Shawn Maldonado, Houston, vs. Dan MacLelland, Canada.
Osku Palermaa, Finland, vs. Scott Moore, Lewiston, Maine.
Joe Paluszek, Bensalem, Pa., vs. Dave Wodka, Beavercreek, Ohio.

11:30 a.m. – Round of 16 Squad B pairings (best-of-three-games; winners advance to Round of 8, losers earn $1,500 each)
Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga., vs. Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz.
E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., vs. Bryon Smith, Roseburg, Ore.
Eric Malone, Brewster, N.Y., vs. Jason Belmonte, Australia.
Tom Daugherty, Wesley Chapel, Fla., vs. Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla.

2 p.m. – Round of 8 (four best-of-three-game matches; winners advance to Semifinal Round)
6 p.m. – Semifinal Round (two best-of-three-game matches; winners advance to Championship Match)
7:30 p.m. – Championship Match (best-of-three-games)

300 Game: EJ Tackett.

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Final Day Results: PBA Xtra Frame Maine Shootout

by Bill Vint March 30, 2015 05:29

Here are the Round of 16 results and Round of 8 pairings from the PBA Xtra Frame Shootout at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine, as the tournament heads toward the championship match at 7:30 p.m. ET today. The best-of-three-game single-elimination match play tournament is being covered live, from start to finish, on PBA’s Xtra Frame online video streaming service. For details, click on the Xtra Frame link on pba.com.

PBA XTRA FRAME MAINE SHOOTOUT
Bayside Bowl, Portland, Maine, March 31

7:30 p.m. – Championship (winner earns $10,000), second place $6,000), .

6 p.m. - Semifinal Round (best of three games, losers earned $4,000)

2 p.m. - Round of 8 (best of three games, losers earned $2,500)
Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., vs. Dan MacLelland, Canada.
Osku Palermaa, Finland, vs. Dave Wodka, Beavercreek, Ohio.
Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz., vs. Bryon Smith, Roseburg, Ore.
Jason Belmonte, Australia, vs. Tom Daugherty, Wesley Chapel, Fla.

Round of 16 (best of three games, losers earned $1,500)
Smallwood def. Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., 2-0 (279-247, 207-191).
MacLelland def. Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 2-1 (237-258, 258-247, 195-177).
Palermaa def. Scott Moore, Lewiston, Maine, 2-0 (226-224, 212-191).
Wodka def. Joe Paluszek, Bensalem, Pa., 2-0 (259-222, 235-231).
Blanchard def. Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga., 2-0 (211-183, 217-183).
Smith def. E.J. Tackett ($100), Huntington, Ind., 2-0 (221-181, 232-208).
Belmonte def. Eric Malone, Brewster, N.Y., 2-0 (191-171, 237-211).
Daugherty def. Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 2-0 (245-190, 249-218).

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BROOKLYN STyLES, Silver Lake Atom Splitters Advance to PBA League Semifinal Round

by Bill Vint March 29, 2015 11:00

PORTLAND, Maine – With a sold-out crowd cheering loudly throughout the competition, the Concrete Software BROOKLYN STyLES and Bass Pro Shops Silver Lake Atom Splitters each won a one-ball sudden-death roll-off at Bayside Bowl to advance to the semifinal round of the PBA League Elias Cup playoffs.

The opening round of PBA League competition aired Sunday on ESPN.

Bowling in the state of Maine for the first time in PBA history, and in a 12-lane bowling center converted into a two-lane arena for the PBA League team competition, a raucous, fun-loving crowd of bowling fans cheered non-stop throughout two best-of-two-game team matches, both of which were decided by one pin in one-ball roll-offs.

In the first match, the 2013 Elias Cup champion GEICO New York City WTT KingPins, anchored by PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber, struggled to a 182-171 victory over the STyLES in a game marred by four missed single-pin spare conversion attempts between the two teams.

“That was a display of spare shooting like you’ve never seen before,” STyLES anchor bowler Parker Bohn III said sarcastically. But the STyLES found the pocket in game two, putting together strings of three strikes three times to win, 247-148, and send the match into sudden-death where Bohn’s strike beat Weber’s nine-count.

“That shot was for the entire team,” Bohn said of his winning strike. “My teammates put their trust in me and I was able to come through.”

“I thought that shot would be flush in the pocket,” Weber said of the 7 pin he left in the roll-off, “but it just kept going.”

In the second match, the Bass Pro Shops Silver Lake Atom Splitters couldn’t put two strikes back-to-back, but they bowled an otherwise flawless game to win the first game, 192-179. The key to the win was Mika Koivuniemi’s rare 2-8-10 split conversion which energized his team, and proved especially important when the High 5 Gear Philadelphia Hitmen caught fire, running away to a 265-205 win in game two to force the roll-off.

The defending Elias Cup champion Atom Splitters moved on to the semifinal round when Hitmen anchor Rhino Page left the 4-7 on his first shot, and Atom Splitters’ anchor Dick Allen left only a 10 pin for the 9-8 win.

“I make the 2-8-10 a few times a year,” Koivuniemi said of his pivotal shot, “but I’ve never made it on TV. I was trying to make it by throwing the 2 pin into the 10 and hoping it would bounce across. That’s what happened, but it’s always lucky to make it. It kind of took (the Hitmen’s) hopes away.”

The atmosphere in Maine was unique, with fans cheered loudly and music blaring in the background throughout the competition, and the players loved the high level of enthusiasm.

“It was electrifying to the max,” Bohn said. “We used to bowl in an arena in Erie, Pennsylvania with 4,000 noisy fans, but that was nothing compared to this. I think the people in Erie could hear the fans in Maine.”

“It was really fun,” Weber added. “I’ve never seen anything like it. Never.”

The third and fourth quarterfinal matches in the PBA League series will air next Sunday on ESPN at 3:30 p.m. ET when the HotelPlanner.com Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits, led by former PBA Player of the Year Wes Malott, meet the Shipyard Brewery Dallas Strikers, led by player-manager and PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke. The fourth quarterfinal match is between Detroit’s Barbasol Motown Muscle, led by 2013 PBA Rookie of the Year EJ Tackett, vs. Wheaties L.A. X, led by two-time reigning PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte.

The four quarterfinal round winners will advance to the semifinal round on ESPN on Sunday, April 12, at 2 p.m. ET. The semifinal round winners will bowl for the Elias Cup in a single, doubles, trios and Baker team finale on Sunday, April 19, at 1 p.m. ET.

PBA LEAGUE ELIAS CUP PLAYOFFS
Bayside Bowl, Portland, Maine, March 28

Quarterfinal Match One (best-of-two-game Baker team format)
Game One: GEICO New York City WTT KingPins (Amleto Monacelli, DJ Archer, Scott Norton, Mike Fagan, Pete Weber) def. Concrete Software BROOKLYN STyLES (Walter Ray Williams Jr., Jason Sterner, Tom Smallwood, Sean Rash, Parker Bohn III), 182-171.

Game Two: STyLES def. KingPins, 247-148.

One-Ball Sudden-Death Roll-Off: STyLES (Parker Bohn III) def. KingPins (Pete Weber), 10-9.

Quarterfinal Match Two (best-of-two-game Baker team format)
Game One: Bass Pro Shops Silver Lake Atom Splitters (Mika Koivuniemi, Chris Barnes, Craig Nidiffer, Tom Daugherty, Dick Allen) def. High 5 Gear Philadelphia Hitmen (Ryan Shafer, Chris Loschetter, Dave Wodka, Dom Barrett, Rhino Page), 192-179.

Game Two: Hitmen def. Atom Splitters, 265-205.

One-Ball Sudden-Death Roll-Off: Atom Splitters (Dick Allen) def. Hitmen (Rhino Page), 9-8.

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PBA League Sunday on ESPN

by Bill Vint March 28, 2015 03:25

PORTLAND, Maine – The Professional Bowlers Association makes it first visit to Maine when PBA League quarterfinal round action airs Sunday at 5 p.m..ET on ESPN…and it promises to be unlike anything professional bowling fans have seen in decades!

Bayside Bowl, a 12-lane bowling center reduced to a two-lane “arena” for PBA League competition, will be filled with raucous, fun-loving, wildly-cheering fans for Sunday’s matches pitting the GEICO New York City WTT KingPins against the Concrete Software BROOKLYN STyLES in match one, followed by the High  5 Gear Philadelphia Hitmen vs. the defending Elias Cup champion Bass Pro Shops Silver Lake Atom Splitters.

PBA League action continues on ESPN over the following three consecutive Sundays, concluding with the Elias Cup championship match on Sunday, April 19, at 1 p.m. ET.

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