PBA Spare Shots: U.S. Open Champ Ryan Ciminelli Paces DHC PBA Japan Invitational Qualifiers

by Bill Vint November 12, 2015 08:31

In addition to winning back-to-back PBA titles in the Xtra Frame PBA Las Vegas Open at South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas on Oct. 22 and the Bowlmor AMF U.S. Open at AMF Garland Lanes in Texas on Sunday, Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y., led the combined pinfall totals for 40 qualifying games between those two events to earn an automatic invitation to compete in the DHC PBA Japan Invitational at Tokyo Bowl in Tokyo Jan. 12-17.

Also earning invitations for the DHC event, which will be covered live, exclusively by PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel, are Aaron Lorincz, Saginaw, Mich.; John Szczerbinski, N. Tonawanda, N.Y.; Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla.; Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind.; Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla.; Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa.; Dom Barrett, England, and Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill.

Australia’s Jason Belmonte also earned an automatic berth, but has declined his invitation to remain home to await the arrival of his third child. His spot will be assumed by the next player in line, Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y.

Earning an invitation as the leading women’s points qualifier is Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y., and players who have been invited by DHC as the event sponsor are 2015 PWBA Player of the Year and Bowlmor AMF Women’s U.S. Open winner Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y. (who finished fourth in the 2015 DHC PBA Japan Invitational); defending champion Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas; Amleto Monacelli of Venezuela, and Parker Bohn III of Jackson, N.J.

The DHC PBA Japan Invitational will feature a field of 16 international players along with an elite field of 16 Japanese players competing for shares of a $152,000 prize fund and a PBA Tour title. The tournament will involve 32 games of round-robin match play – covered live, exclusively on Xtra Frame – leading up to a five-player stepladder final that will air on ESPN2 on Sunday, Jan. 31, at 1 p.m. ET.


Xtra Frame will have all hands on deck for extensive coverage of the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling VII presented by Silver Legacy, Dec. 7-17, from the National Bowling Stadium in Reno. The XF crew of Jef Goodger, Phil Brylow, Tim Burg and Ron Hickland will provide exclusive live coverage of the PBA50 and PBA Regional Challenge match play qualifying events presented by the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame to kick off coverage on Dec. 7, followed by coverage of qualifying for the Cheetah Championship presented by PBA Challenge Mobile Game by Concrete Software; the Viper Championship presented by Xtra Frame; the Chameleon Championship presented by HotelPlanner.com, and the Scorpion Championship presented by Reno Tahoe USA Dec. 8-11.

Xtra Frame and ESPN lead announcer Mike (Mike J. Laneside) Jakubowski and PBA Hall of Famer Marshall Holman will occupy the Xtra Frame booth Dec. 12-16 for the match play rounds of the Rolltech PBA World Championship and match play elimination rounds of the animal pattern events.

Prior to the live ESPN finals of the Rolltech PBA World Championship Thursday night, Dec. 17, Xtra Frame will cover the 2016 PBA League Draft at 2 p.m. ET.

Xtra Frame’s WSOB coverage also will feature a variety of special guests (competitors in the field who will provide their perspectives about what’s taking place, industry leaders and others), and Xtra Frame will debut its newest enhancements, including replays, slow motion, and a new feature where PBA will show the oil pattern on the lane during live coverage (click here for an example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5RKwdRJn-k)

Bowling fans who want to sample Xtra Frame can subscribe on a three-day (72-hour) basis for only $3.99. Fans can lock in the entire World Series package with a 30-day Xtra Frame subscription for only $7.99. PBA’s best package (and a great Christmas gift idea…) is the 12-month XF Season Ticket for $64.99, or $5.41 per month. To sign up, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame link.


The PBA’s made-for-television “King of Bowling” series, held in 2009 at the Kegel Training Center in Lake Wales, Fla., is making an encore appearance among the PBA’s Modern Classics on YouTube. Watch for a new episode every Friday through Nov. 27. This week you can watch Bill O’Neill take on Walter Ray Williams Jr. for the right to try to de-throne Wes (The King) Malott.

To access the free programming, visit YouTube and search for “PBA Modern Classics” or click here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwuUW8zaol88yWoNbytvj286cU8TajCgg


Dale Coleman of High Springs, Fla., threw six consecutive strikes to win an extended one-ball, sudden-death roll-off against 17-year-old amateur James Matthews of Prattville, Ala., to conclude the best-of-three-game title match in the PBA Reality Check South Classic at Sawgrass Lanes in Tamarac, Fla., Sunday.

After losing the first game, 255-203, Coleman won the second, 258-247 to even the match. The two finalists then tied, 279-279, in game three to force the roll-off where both players threw five strikes in a row before Matthews left a ringing 10 pin and lost to Coleman’s sixth straight strike.

The title was Coleman’s second in PBA South Region competition. He also earned $2,500. Matthews earned $1,300 for his SMART scholarship account.

Ron Mohr of Henderson, Nev., defeated Parker Bohn III of Jackson, N.J., 190-177, to win the PBA50 Dick’s Pro Shop Northwest/West Open at Linn Lanes in Lebanon, Ore., Sunday, for his 15th PBA50 regional title and the $2,500 first prize.

Mohr defeated Scott Hansel of Stockton, Calif., 191-149, and Bohn defeated Joe Cannon of Puyallup, Wash., 244-143, in the semifinal round to set up the championship match.

Eugene McCune of Munster, Ind. defeated Larry Verble of Mason, Mich., 227-180, to win the PBA Pro Bowl West Central/Midwest Cheetah Classic at Pro Bowl West in Ft. Wayne, Ind., Sunday, for his 22nd PBA Regional title and the $2,000 top prize.

McCune downed Dave Wodka of Beavercreek, Ohio, 2-1, and Verble topped J.R. Raymond of Bay City, Mich., 2-0, in the best-of-three-game semifinal round.

● Amateur Tyler Albracht from Amarillo, Texas, saved his best for the final position round match to win the PBA Lubbock Sports Southwest Challenge, presented by Ebonite, Sunday in Lubbock, Texas.

Albracht, a senior at West Texas A&M, trailed Beau Peterson of Newton, Kan., going into the final game when he shot the tournament’s only 300 game to win his match, 300-248, and overtake Peterson by 36 pins to clinch the $2,000 first-place check. PBA Challenge events are open to amateurs who have not won a PBA event and to PBA members not credited with a PBA title. Because he is a non-member, Albracht does not receive credit for a PBA title.

Albracht, who qualified 10th for the modified round robin match play finals, won his last seven matches to finish with 5,039 total pins, including match play bonus pins. Peterson held on to second place with a 5,003 total and earned $1,200.

● The PBA Regional schedule for the Nov. 13-15 weekend includes the Colorado Springs Harmony Bowl Southwest Open presented by Budweiser; the PBA50 Liberty Lanes South Open presented by Brunswick in Gastonia, N.C., and the PBA Japan Shark Open at Fuji Bowl in suburban Tokyo. The Teen Masters Ocala Open, presented by the Ocala/Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau is scheduled for Nov. 14-15 at AMF Galaxy West in Ocala, Fla.

● Two events on the Nov. 20-22 PBA Regional calendar include the La-Z-Boy Central Challenge at Monroe Sport Center in Monroe, Mich., and the Decker Appraisal Services Waynesboro Baker Trios presented by Hammer at Wayne Lanes in Waynesboro, Va.

● The only PBA Regional activity over Thanksgiving weekend will be the Beaumont Southwest Open at Crossroads Bowling Center in Beaumont, Texas, Nov. 27-29.

For complete PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, visit pba.com, open the “schedules” tab and click on Regional Tours to find the event(s) in your area.


● Reminder to PBA players: Friday is the deadline for PBA members to declare themselves eligible for the 2016 PBA League draft. Players not protected by team managers must declare their intentions to participate in the 2016 draft by contacting PBA Director of Events Janay Haggerty (janay.haggerty@pba.com) by Nov. 13. The 2016 PBA League draft will be held on Dec. 17 in Las Vegas. The draft will be covered live on Xtra Frame at 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT).

A first for bowling trivia buffs: Bowlmor AMF U.S. Women’s Open champ Liz Johnson and U.S. Open winner Ryan Ciminelli are both residents of Cheektowaga, N.Y. It’s the first time both U.S. Open champions have come from the same city in the same year.

● With the addition of eight players from China, the GEICO PBA WSOB VII now has entries from a record 22 countries, beating the previous record of 21 set in two previous WSOBs.

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Red Sox’s Star Mookie Betts Gearing Up for Debut in GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling VII

by Bill Vint November 11, 2015 04:49

Mookie Betts returned to his home in Nashville, Tenn., on Monday, Oct. 5 – the day after his highly-successful season with the Boston Red Sox ended – and Tuesday afternoon, he was at Donelson Strike & Spare, practicing as he began preparing for his debut in the GEICO Professional Bowlers Association World Series of Bowling VII, presented by Silver Legacy and the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Bureau, in Reno, Nev., Dec. 7-19.

For the past month, the 23-year-old Red Sox outfielder has been preparing himself for his next athletic challenge: competing for the first time against a field of more than 200 of the world’s best bowlers and hoping to make a “cut” in the sport’s most complex environment.

“I’ve been bowling for a long time and the opportunity to bowl against the guys I’ve watched on TV on Sundays for all these years is going to be an amazing experience,” Betts said.

Betts will get his chance to bowl with and against professional bowling’s best because he mentioned during the baseball season that he wanted to bowl in the annual PBA Chris Paul Celebrity Invitational (which he will do in January). That expression of interest led the PBA to invite him to bowl in the World Series as well. He eagerly accepted.

Now, he said, it’s a matter of getting into bowling shape and learning as much as he can about PBA-level competition before making his debut.

“I’m been practicing every other day,” he said, “and I’m subbing in a couple of leagues (at Donelson Strike & Spare, and Oak Valley Lanes). I’m going to try to make a cut.”

He’s getting help, from a couple of childhood friends – Aaron Martin and Kamron Doyle – along with technical advice from former collegiate star Rob Gotchall, who lives in the Nashville area. Doyle has been especially helpful by inviting Betts to practice privately at the so-called “Kamron Doyle Training Center” – a modern two-lane installation in Doyle’s home, complete with modern lane conditioning technology and ball drilling equipment.

“I’ve known Mookie since I was 7 or 8,” said Doyle, an accomplished international competitor even though he’s only a 17-year-old high school senior. Doyle set a record when he cashed in a PBA Regional at age 12 and another when he cashed in the 2012 U.S. Open as a 5-foot-5, 105-pound 14-year-old (he’s now 6-3, going on 6-foot-4).

“We bowled in the same youth league,” Doyle said. “I didn’t know him well, but we talked here and there. I lost touch when he got into baseball, but when I found out he was bowling to bowl in the PBA World Series, I called and asked if he wanted to train together. That’s what we’re doing.”

“I bowl at Kamron’s place whenever I get a chance, but I’m also subbing in a couple of leagues,” Betts said. “It’s house conditions, but I’m just trying to hit the same line, hit my mark, be consistent, that stuff. I’m working on throwing the ball straighter at spares.

“I don’t know about the (PBA) patterns, but I’m going to learn. I’ve got a couple of other buddies who are going to Reno, and I’ll listen to what they’re telling me. Right now, I’m just getting into bowling shape. Every other day helps, but I plan to bowl 7, 8 games every day when we get closer.”

Doyle, who has global experience as a Junior and Adult Team USA member, also has plans to help Betts get into game shape. He also has entered WSOB VII and will offer Betts advice on-site in Reno.

“Right now we’re just trying to get him sharp,” Doyle said. “We’re not doing anything exotic. We helped fix his footwork, which helped his accuracy. He’s used to bowling on house conditions, where he wanted to throw the ball 100 miles per hour with a lot of revs. So we’re working on some of the nuances, and helping him understand there isn’t much room for error on PBA conditions.

“Despite not bowling much for the past couple of years because of baseball, he’s still a pretty good spare shooter,” Doyle continued. “His misses are maybe a couple of boards. He’s not all over the place, and I think we can improve on that.

“I’ve kind of explained the differences between the animal patterns he’ll see in Reno. We haven’t put them out yet, but we will. I want to get him used to the patterns and how to adjust, and what the environment will be like in Reno,” he added. “Mookie’s a fast learner. “I’m not worried.”

Nor is Betts.

“I don’t know anything about the animal patterns,” Betts said, “but I’m going to learn.”

Betts has never patterned his bowling style after anyone in particular. “I really don’t have a favorite bowler,” he said. “I just watched to see how guys rolled the ball, how they changed things going along. I just watched and learned.

“I have no earthly idea what my strengths as a bowler might be,” he chuckled. “I haven’t bowled on Sport conditions. I have no feel for how good I am, but very soon, I’ll be able to answer that question.”

As he works to improve his techniques and broaden his knowledge about lane conditions, he’s also learning about difference in bowling balls.

“I think he has potential,” Gotchall said. “He’s a young athlete in his physical prime. He’s very humble. He’s working very hard to learn. The big thing is to get his fundamentals fine-tuned. The key to the World Series is versatility. (Former major league all-star pitcher) John Burkett is a perfect example. He was a good bowler, but he’s worked very hard to learn and now he’s competitive on the PBA50 Tour. Mookie will learn, too. He’ll learn to play different parts of the lane. He’s taking it seriously. He doesn’t want to be embarrassed.”

Doyle agrees. “Mookie loves to bowl. He’s competitive. He can’t stand to lose,” Doyle said. “I’m anxious to see how he does.”

Maybe the most important thing about Betts as he prepares to enter a world he’s never experienced before is that he’s realistic about it. While he divides his time in off-season training for the 2016 major league baseball season, he knows he has a lot to learn about competing at the highest level of bowling. That was a lesson he learned from his mother, Diana Benedict, are a very young age.

“I have no idea, going back to when I was 3 or 4 years old, who my first coach was,” Betts said, “but I do remember I’d go bowling when my mom was bowling league. She’d come down to watch me, and if I bowled two or three gutter balls, she’d make me stop. I got out of that habit in a hurry.”

Betts and the entire World Series field will bowl nine-game qualifying rounds in the Cheetah, Viper, Chameleon and Scorpion Champions on Dec. 8, 9, 10 and 11, respectively. The top 24 in each animal pattern event will advance to single-elimination match play Dec. 14-15, and the top 25 percent of the WSOB VII field after a combined 36 games in the four animal pattern events will advance to the Rolltech PBA World Championship cashers’ round on Dec. 12. The World Series continues through Saturday, Dec. 19, and also will feature the live ESPN finals of the Rolltech PBA World Championship on Thursday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m. ET.

Bowling fans will be able to follow Mookie Betts’ progress, along with all other competitors, by watching live comprehensive coverage of all preliminary rounds on PBA’s online bowling channel, Xtra Frame. For subscription information, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame link.

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Ryan Ciminelli Wins U.S. Open for First Major Title

by Jerry Schneider November 8, 2015 09:11

By Terry Bigham, USBC Communications

Top qualifier Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, New York, captured his first major title by winning the final match at the Bowlmor AMF U.S. Open on Sunday.

Ciminelli, who led the field by 461 pins to earn the top spot in the stepladder finals, held off Dom Barrett of Colchester, England, 236-223, in the title match at AMF Garland Lanes.

“I thought I would get a major eventually in my career, but never in a million years did I think it would be the U.S. Open, especially the first one,” said Ciminelli, who was making his fifth TV show appearance in a major. “I said it before and I’ll say it again, I just don’t believe it.”

Holding a four-pin lead heading into the final frame, Ciminelli, who notched his fourth career PBA Tour title, knew he needed the first two strikes to close out Barrett, the No. 4 seed who had won three matches to reach the final.

“I was just focused on one shot at a time, not looking at the eagle, not looking at the jacket, and just bowling the best game I could bowl,” said Ciminelli, the only left-hander in the field to reach the 24-player cut to match play. “When I needed those two in the 10th to lock him out, I knew I couldn’t give him a chance. Both of our looks were good and then I would have had to rely on a bad break or something. I wasn’t OK with that. I wanted to win on the approach and not sitting down.”

It was Ciminelli’s second consecutive Tour win having won the Xtra Frame South Point Las Vegas Open two weeks ago.

Barrett had taken out the defending champion and two hall of famers to reach the title match.

“I bowled really well this week and almost made the most of it,” Barrett said. “Ryan is a very deserving champion. He ran away with the lead and he did deserve to win.”

In the semifinal match, Barrett slipped past five-time U.S. Open champion Pete Weber of St. Ann, Missouri, 218-200. After failing to convert a 3-4 split in the sixth, Weber struck in the seventh and eighth to have a chance but then left back-to-back 10 pins.

Barrett topped defending champion Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, in the opening match, 221-217, and was on the ropes against two-time U.S. Open winner Norm Duke of Clermont, Florida, in the second match.

Duke, needing two strikes to close out Barrett in the 10th, struck on his first shot but then left the 10 pin on his second. Barrett stepped up and fired three strikes in the final frame for a 259-255 victory.

“I was just trying to figure out the lanes and make good shots,” Barrett said. “That setup in the 10th against Norm to strike out was one of my better frames. I bowled solid, had a good idea what I was doing. It was one of my better TV shows.”

The starting field of 275 bowlers at the 2015 U.S. Open completed 24 qualifying games over three days before the field was cut to the top 92. The 32-game pinfall totals determined the 24 players for the 24 games of match play. After 24 games of match play, the top five advanced to the finals.


At AMF Garland Lanes, Garland, Texas

Sunday’s results

Final standings

1, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y. (one game), $50,000

2, Dominic Barrett, Colchester, England (four games), $25,000

3, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo. (one game), $15,000

4, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla. (one game), $10,000

5, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas (one game), $8,000

Stepladder results

Match One – Barrett def. Malott, 221-217

Match Two – Barrett def. Duke, 259-255

Semifinal – Barrett def. Weber, 218-200

Championship – Ciminelli def. Barrett, 236-223

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Ciminelli, Weber, Duke, Barrett, Malott Advance to U.S. Open Finals

by Jerry Schneider November 7, 2015 17:11

By Terry Bigham, USBC Communications

Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, New York, continued his strong run at the 2015 Bowlmor AMF U.S. Open on Saturday, leading the field by 461 pins to earn his fifth TV appearance in a major tournament.

Ciminelli earned the top qualifying spot for Sunday’s TV finals with a 13,445 pinfall total for 56 games, including bonus pins, to outdistance USBC and PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber of St. Ann, Missouri.

Sunday’s stepladder finals will be televised live on CBS Sports Network starting a 1 p.m. (Eastern). The winner will take home the top prize of $50,000.

“If you would have told me that I would ever in my life lead the U.S. Open into the show, I would have told you that you were crazy,” Ciminelli said. “It’s just not that tournament for me, it hasn’t been for the nine years I’ve been out here. But everything went right, things fell into place.

“What I’ve accomplished might sink in over the next week or so, but for right now I’m just going to put that aside and focus on one match.”

Dom Barrett of Colchester, England, qualified third followed by two-time U.S. Open winner Norm Duke of Clermont, Florida. Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, who won the U.S. Open the last time it was held in 2013, will have the opportunity to defend his title on the TV show.

“As far as defending the title, obviously that’s one of the things we all want to be able to do and not only that but to do it close to home,” said Malott, who rolled a perfect game Saturday. “I have a feeling a lot of family and friends will make the trip to come and see it.”

Weber, who already has the record for most U.S. Open titles with five, would pass Earl Anthony for most major titles if he wins Sunday. Weber and Anthony each have 10 major titles.

“When I am out here just bowling I try not to think about that because I don’t need to put any more pressure on myself,” Weber said. “It would be great to go around Earl in major titles. It’s Earl Anthony … come on.”

The starting field of 275 bowlers at the 2015 U.S. Open completed 24 qualifying games over three days, before the field was cut to the top 92. The 32-game pinfall totals determined the 24 players for the 24 games of match play.

For complete match play results visit http://scores.bowl.com/2015-US-Open/MatchPlay3.pdf

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Ciminelli Averages 250, Posts 7-1 Record in First Match Play Round to Regain U.S. Open Lead

by Jerry Schneider November 6, 2015 17:07

By Aaron Smith, USBC Communications

Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, New York, dominated the opening round of match play to recapture the lead at the 2015 Bowlmor AMF U.S. Open on Friday night.

The 29-year-old left-hander averaged more than 250 on his way to a 7-1 match-play record and 9,348 total, including bonus pins, to put himself nearly 300 pins ahead of two-time U.S. Open champion Norm Duke of Clermont, Florida, who is second with 9,053.

Five-time U.S. Open champion Pete Weber of St. Ann, Missouri, is third with 8,978, two-hander Anthony Simonsen of Princeton, Texas, is fourth at 8,917 and defending champion Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, rounds out the top five with 8,916.

Ciminelli, who led after the second round of qualifying, quickly ascended back to the top of the standings after starting the block in third place.

The three-time PBA Tour titlist has found continued success on the low end of the 58-lane AMF Garland Lanes this week, and he took advantage of his comfort level as the event transitioned to match play.

"I've liked the low end of the house and bowled on a lot of pairs that I felt comfortable on tonight," said Ciminelli, the lone left-hander to advance into match play. "I was just able to get into that zone where you go blank and start repeating shots. Every decision I made was with confidence. A lot has to go right to bowl a block like that, especially at the (U.S.) Open."

Ciminelli now has 16 more games of match play standing between him and his first championship round appearance at the U.S. Open. Competition resumes Saturday at 11 a.m. Eastern. The top five will advance to Sunday's stepladder finals based on their 56-game totals, including bonus pins.

The finals of the 2015 U.S. Open will be televised live on the CBS Sports Network on Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern. The winner will take home a top prize of $50,000.

"I'm trying my best not to look at the leaderboard, but I'm a leaderboard watcher," said Ciminelli, who finished 24th at the 2013 U.S. Open. "I'm doing everything I can not to peek over at it and see what's going on. There are still a lot of games left, so I have to be focused at all times. I'm taking nothing for granted and hoping to get every pin I can. At the end, hopefully when I look at the leaderboard, I'm still in the show. Leading would be a bonus, but making the show would be a huge accomplishment for me."

The final round of qualifying took place earlier Friday, as the 92 players who advanced after Thursday's third round bowled an additional eight games to determine the top 24 players who would continue to match play.

Team USA's John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda, New York, paced the field through 32 games, while Marshall Kent of Yakima, Washington, earned the finals spot with a 215.13 average.

All qualifying and match-play rounds are being broadcast live on the PBA's online bowling channel, Xtra Frame.

For complete results click on http://scores.bowl.com/2015-US-Open/MatchPlay1.pdf

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